Public comment meeting TONIGHT on potential Theodora redevelopment (LIVE COVERAGE; PHOTOS)

On Thursday, August 14, representatives from the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development will be collecting public comment on the land use application to redevelop the Theodora Apartments (6559 35th Avenue NE). The meeting is being held at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Avenue NE) from 7-8:30 PM.

Prior to the meeting, at 6:40 PM, the Theodora Rescue Committee and their supporters will be marching from the Theodora to the RECC.

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Land Use Application information

The owners of the Theodora, the Volunteers of America (VOA), have agreed to sell the property to Goodman Real Estate, a private real estate developer. The apartment building is one of two buildings that the VOA owns in Western Washington and has been used as housing for low income elderly and disabled people. In redeveloping the Theodora and converting the building from low income senior housing, Goodman intends to:

“alter and change the use of existing two story, 62,937 sq. ft. 113 room congregate residence (The Theodora) to a 64 unit apartment building and to allow a 35,361 sq. ft. addition for new apartments (45 units) for a total of 109 units. Parking for 56 vehicles will be located below grade.”

Additionally, Goodman is seeking landmark status for the building. The Landmarks Preservation Board will be considering the nomination at their meeting on Wednesday, August 20, at 3:30 PM in the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th Avenue, 40th floor, Room 4060).

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Additional information

Tenants With Disabilities Filing Suit Over Sale Of Seattle Apartment Building (KPLU, July 3, 2014)

Ravenna-Bryant Community Center information on Theodora sale and redevelopment (various posts from 2013-current)

Permit and Property Records and Documents for Project #3017233 (includes public comments already submitted)

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We’ll be providing live coverage of the meeting below, starting just prior to 7 PM.

UPDATE (Friday, August 15): First, a few pictures from last night.

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Marchers from the Theodora Apartments arrive at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center around 7 PM. The banner reads “GOODMAN REAL ESTATE BACK OFF OUR HOMES.”

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Peter Metzger, a member of the Theodora Rescue Committee, speaks at the public comment meeting. Metzger held up part of Goodman’s landscape plan, which includes the removal of trees on the present Theodora property. Then he held up the Seattle Times A section from Thursday (same day as the meeting) whose cover story was about Seattle’s dwindling tree canopy.

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Another speaker (this one with Real Change) takes his turn. In the background, Jerry Sudor (with the Department of Planning and Development) writes down parts of of all speaker’s comments. Carly Guillory (seated; also DPD) looks on.

Below are the notes that Sudor took during the public comment period (not in chronological order, however). Click on any of the images to view the larger, readable version. The full phrase on the last on the last sheet (partially blocked by a reporter’s shoulder) is, “Portland/Bellevue better keeping trees.”

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Two deaths at Ravenna retirement home prompt homicide investigation (UPDATES, PHOTOS)

 

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An Ida Culver House Ravenna resident (seated) leaves the facility during the police activity for the calm of a local restaurant across the street.

We became aware around 4 PM of a large police presence around Ida Culver House Ravenna (2315 NE 65th Street). A man and an elderly female resident and been both found dead in a room inside. Police are now investigating the incident as a possible murder-suicide.

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Homicide detectives stand in the inner courtyard of Ida Culver House Ravenna.

From the SPD Blotter:

Police received a report from the man’s family around 2 PM that the man had left his Ballard home after indicating he was contemplating suicide. A short time later, police received a second call from the family indicating the man may have headed for his elderly mother’s assisted living facility in the Ravenna neighborhood, with plans to harm her.

As police headed to the facility—located in the 2300 block of NE 65th Street—nursing home staff went to the elderly woman’s room to check on her, and found the bodies of a man and an elderly woman. The King County Medical Examiner will formally identify the bodies.

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A King County Medical Examiner readies herself for the scene as locals gather outside Ida Culver House Ravenna.

More info when we have it.

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UPDATE (5:36 PM): Added pictures from the scene.

UPDATE (Tuesday evening): Yesterday we talked with Nicole Francois with Ida Culver House Ravenna about the incident. She told us that counselors have been made available to staff and residents onsite, and “every day is a bit better for our community.” Francois also shared with us a statement from the president of Era Living:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our remarkable residents.  Our hearts go out to the family that is affected by this tragic event.

We are working in cooperation with the Seattle Police Department as they investigate the death of a resident from this single and isolated incident.”

- Eli Almo, President and CEO, Era Living

The names of those who died have not yet been released by the medical examiner’s office to us. Francois was unable to release similar information; however, she was able to say that the Ida Culver Ravenna resident was in an independent living unit at the time of the incident. In general, the family and friends of residents are strongly encouraged to visit their loved ones in retirement communities like Ida Culver. Depression due to feelings of isolation is a major concern. And unless staff is informed of issues between residents and potential visitors, there is usually no reason to prevent such meetings.

Francois also told us that there will be a private memorial service for the resident sometime this week, for family and friends. If residents feel moved to pass along condolences, they can be sent along to Ida Culver House Ravenna, 2315 NE 65th Street, Seattle, WA 98115.

UPDATE (Friday, July 25): The names of the deceased were published in today’s Seattle Times: Annie McClure, 83, and William T. McClure, 57. The woman’s death, due to a gunshot wound to the head, was ruled a homicide. Her son took his own life in the same manner.

UPDATE (Sunday, July 27): An obituary for William McClure is now online.

Your Moment of Ravenna Zen: Dark Side of the Top Pot

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At certain angles, the heavy glass doors of the Wedgwood Top Pot make a rainbow connection with the sun.

Road safety improvements coming to NE Blakeley Street / Union Bay Place NE

Some well-known traffic trouble spots near University Village are getting some overdue attention next month.

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is in the process of designing the following safety improvements to the Union Bay Place NE/NE Blakeley Street area (projected to begin construction as early as August 2014):

  • 25th Ave NE & NE Blakeley Street: Modified signal timing and intersection design. New bicycle leaning rails* (allow cyclists to wait for light change without dismounting, placing one foot on the rail).
  • 30th Ave NE & the Burke-Gilman Trail: Raised pedestrian crosswalk and repaired sidewalks approaching this crosswalk along 30th Ave NE between NE 50th Street and Union Bay Place NE.
  • Union Bay Place NE between NE 45th St & 30th Ave NE: New paved and painted pedestrian pathway along both sides.


View Safety Improvements to NE Blakeley St and Union Bay Place NE in a larger map

This work is funded by mitigation from the University Village and the Village QFC as well as Pedestrian Master Plan improvements. You can read more about the mitigation funding of this project on page 17 of this SDOT analysis of QFC’s 2012 land use application (208 KB PDF) to expand the store and build a parking garage.

The pedestrian improvements are part of SDOT’s Sidewalk Development Program and funded by the voter-approved Bridging the Gap levy. The Program’s 2014 projects include these new sidewalk connections:

Questions?  Contact Maribel Cruz with SDOT at 206-684-7963 or maribel.cruz@seattle.gov.

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*We are looking into the bicycle leaning rails to find out more about them (and see if these will be the first ones installed in Seattle).  We will update the post as we learn more!

Outdoor basketball court at the RECC getting a makeover

The outdoor basketball court behind the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center is getting some work done.

Weather and contractor permitting, over the next week or so (starting Tuesday, May 27), apshalt-cracking tree roots will be removed, the playing surface will be repaired and leveled, and new standard-height hoops will be installed.

RECC users and visitors: The small parking lot off Ravenna Avenue NE will be closed during the project for staging equipment.

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Workers began removal of the old basketball hoops on Thursday, May 22.

In case you’re not sure where it is, the RECC’s outdoor basketball court is tucked between the small parking lot off Ravenna Avenue NE and the tennis courts. The court lines are faded. The playing surface is uneven, cracked asphalt. The hoops are not set at a standard height.

RECC coordinator Tim Ewings tells us that last fall the Ravenna-Eckstein Advisory Council put the wheels in motion to get the project started, requesting funds for a 2014 capital project. The plan was approved (funds coming from the Associated Recreation Council who partners with Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide instructors), a project manager fleshed out the details, timing, and final pricing, and the work has begun.

In the event that the work schedule changes, we will post updates here.

Last day of live fire exercises at 32nd and 68th (PHOTOS)

Friday, May 16 was the final day of live fire training at 6556 32nd Avenue NE, and it was a doozy.

“Two months to build, ninety minutes to destroy,” said one of the firefighters at the scene. Looking at the clock at the end of the burn down, he wasn’t that far off.

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How did you think they washed their bunker gear?

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Mr. Propane Torch is ready.

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Recruits run EVERYWHERE…

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…even to photo ops.

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Pre-burn down meeting between trainers and recruits.

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If we all put our shoes INSIDE our pants before we put them on, just think how much faster we could get dressed in the morning.

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Lt. Sue Stangl, one of the Seattle Fire Department’s public information officers, was on hand once again to answer questions. Here she’s telling spectators that once the smoke and fire get going, we may all want to move.

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This set of valves split the main line of water being pumped from a nearby engine (on the right, near the boot) into multiple lines to various hoses. This firefighter is about to turn the valves to ON and is holding down the apparatus with his body weight. Lots of pressure about to be released.

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After the fire was set inside the house, the first sense to pick up the change was hearing: Snapping and crackling could be heard. Then smoke began to leak out of the stripped roof.

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Flames were not far behind.

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Increase in the flames.

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Imagined conversation later in the day:

“Hey, grandpa. What did you do today?”

“Oh, you know. Just sat on the stoop and looked outside.”

“It was a beautiful day! You should have at least gone for a walk.”

“Eh. Nah.”

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A hole had been pre-cut in the roof on the east side of the house (near the peak of the Bravo side). The flames from here were TALL.

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A movie to show Mommy later.

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I never made it to any of the afternoon training sessions, but the morning sessions were never this well attended. And never had nearly so many miniature lawn chairs.

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Top floor window on the Delta side. Roof beams now exposed.

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Below this window, one can start to see the flames through small holes in the exterior of the house.

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Roof peak gone.

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And the rest of the roof is soon to follow.

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Three representatives from Polygon Northwest, the company that purchased the old Children’s Home Society land and will develop the parcel, were on hand today for the fire.

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When you’re a retired Seattle firefighter who takes pictures for the department, you get a better perch.

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As the fire consumed the living room, an occasional piece of glass would pop out and shatter.

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Alpha side.

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Deputy Chief Phil Jose (white helmet) talks with Lt. Stangl, and Lt. Luis Batayola (red helmet) from nearby Fire Station 38. Station 38 will be doing some training next week on at least one of the remaining single family homes on the north side of the block (no more total burn downs, though).

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In the background here we see one of the engines covered in wet tarps to protect the equipment from the heat of the fire. The yellow tape marks the boundary where only fire department personnel may enter. The red and white striped tape marks the exclusion zone around the burning house where no one may enter.

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Anytime a section of the house fell in and sent up a shower of ash, a firefighter stationed at the northwest corner of the house would send a shower of water into the air after it.

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Here we see one of the recruits enjoying some rehab time with a piece of pizza. (Most confused-looking delivery boy ever, by the way.)

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Alpha side has seen better days.

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It’s easy to see why people like calendars full of these guys.

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Oh. Hello there, sir. Are you looking at m…

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…oh, there’s a cute kid standing in front of me. Never mind.

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Bravo side.

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Little girl fresh from ballet class (looks like), watching the event with her hands clasped behind her back, just like the recruits.

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Another shot at some ash as the front of the house falls in.

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The one place WITHOUT fire? The fire place.

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This section around a Delta side window resembles an Easter Island monolith. To me.

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View through the length of the house. Daylight basement indeed.

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Here a recruit helps protect a tree at the corner of the lot (viewed through a chain link fence). This tree will be kept on the property even as Polygon homes constructs a run of seven single-family homes down this side of 32nd Avenue NE.

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Charlie side, with the alley beyond.

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As nearby Eckstein Middle School let out, swaths of teenagers wandered by the scene.

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Watching Bravo side.

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The woman on the left is Deb, a local resident. The woman on the right is Sunny, and she and her family used to rent this house. She, her husband, and their two children lived in 6556 32nd Avenue NE for four years before they purchased their own home and moved on.

We agreed that this was all really weird for her to watch.*

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As the house become not much more than smoldering embers, the firefighters donned their air supply masks and waded in.

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Debris was moved from the yard surrounding the house to within the cement foundation.

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The maple tree the firefighters were protecting got a bit singed, but will definitely pull through.

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I told Lt. Stangl that this sort of event must be like the Blue Angles equivalent for the fire department.

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At the tail end of the burn, Battalion 4′s chief stopped for a visit. Not much left of the house besides the fireplace.

Previous posts on these live fire exercises:

Seattle Fire to conduct “live fire” training at old CHSW site on May 13-16

Day Two photos

Day Three photos

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*Sunny: If you see this, I apologize for not saying more about your family’s time in the neighborhood and in this house. Later that afternoon I returned my defective iPhone, got a new one, and only then realized that I had not backed up my notes from the event (which included your email address). Thank you for sharing your memories of your time in this house with me.

Mayor Murray would like to have coffee with you, Ravenna

Mayor Ed Murray is starting his rounds through Seattle’s many neighborhoods with a visit to Vios Cafe inside Ravenna Third Place Books (6504 20th Ave NE) this Saturday, May 17.

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e-Flyer for Mayor Ed Murray’s visit to Vios Cafe at Ravenna Third Place Books on Saturday, May 17. Click to enlarge.

The event runs from 11 AM until noon.

Live fire training at 32nd and 68th (PHOTOS)

Today was the second of four days of live fire training at NE 68th Street and 32nd Avenue NE. We stopped by to watch some of the action.

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Oh, this poor house. It’s definitely getting the business. Still two days of training left to go, with a full house fire scheduled for Friday (potentially after lunchtime).

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Periods of heavy smoke occur during some of the training exercises. In the event of a burn ban, this type of training would be canceled.

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Recruits removing burnt pallets from the house after the first “evolution” of the day (a ventilation exercise).

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One of the pallets continues to smolder outside.

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A trainer (in blue) discusses the next evolution with the seven very serious recruits…

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…who are then encouraged to head across the street to say hello to a so-excited-he’s-overwhelmed toddler.

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Suiting up for the next exercise.

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Oh, hey, there’s some fire.

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Recruits discuss the situation while more trainers look on.

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Behind these two fire fighters is the large blowtorch used to start the fires.

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Filming the training.

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A class from nearby Assumption-St. Bridget school came over for a closer look.

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Another view from the west side. A trainer’s oxygen tank got caught on the yellow fire line tape, and it almost knocked over the camera…

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…but he caught it. Very good at saving all sorts of things, these folks.

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Another fire fighter at the scene talked about the training with the ASB students. Here’s he’s showing the kids how his respirator works.

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Pallets used in the training get a proper post-exercise hose-down.

For more information on this live fire training by the Seattle Fire Department, visit our earlier post.

Eckstein student hucks a Luger, sends his school into lockdown

Around 9:30 AM this morning, Eckstein Middle School was briefly in “shelter-in-place” mode as a report of a student with a weapon was investigated by Seattle police officers. From the Seattle Police Department Blotter:

A 13-year old boy has been arrested after he stole a gun from his grandmother’s house sending a nearby school into “lockdown”.  Around 9:30 am on Wednesday May 7th a woman called to report that her 13-year old grandson had stolen a loaded antique German Luger and left the house.

Numerous officers responded to the area and quickly began searching for the teen in addition to putting Eckstein Middle School in “lockdown” out of an abundance of caution. Officers located the teen in a few minutes later and he was arrested. All school activity returned to normal. A witness helped officers locate the gun having seen the teen hide it in some bushes nearby.

The teen was booked into the King County Youth Service Center for Investigation of Theft.

An email by Eckstein Middle School Principal Sherri Kokx was sent to students’ parents and guardians around 2 PM explaining the events of the morning.

Two slices of local pizza news, from Zeeks and Mioposto

When the news hits your eye and it’s all pizza pie, that’s AMORE

Zeeks Pizza

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Last October, we were saddened to report that Zeeks Pizza’s Ravenna location (2108 NE 65th Street) had stopped serving individual slices of pizza at lunchtime:

Not eZEEK_Lunch Specials_MAY2014nough foot traffic to keep the quality of the product where the company likes it, is the reason we heard.

HOWEVER, starting Wednesday, May 7, our Zeeks on 65th will start offering special lunch deals on weekdays, from 11 AM to 2 PM (dine-in only):

Small pizzas (up to 3 toppings): $10 (normally $11.45 and up, depending on toppings)

Small Signature pizzas: $12 (normally $16.95 and up)

Breadsticks: $4 (normally $5.95)

Add a half salad: $3

Add a fountain drink: $1

We were happy to learn that Zeeks responded to customers’ desires for more lunch options at our location. And while it’s not as simple and fast as the individual slices were, your pizza will be made for YOU, be super hot, and provide you with a leftover slice or two for an afternoon snack.

Mioposto

When Taverna Mazi closed (we believe it had been up for sale since at least February of 2013; also, apparently haunted?), its corner location in the more Bryant-y area of the neighborhood was snapped up quickly. The windows were covered up on the inside, and work began.

The news that Mioposto had taken the spot for its second location (the original location opened in the Mt. Baker neighborhood in 2006 ) was well reported in foodier circles (Seattle Met magazine’s “Nosh Pit,” Eater Seattle, and Seattle Weekly, to name a few), but on the local front, things are pretty quiet.

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Move along, pedestrians. Nothing to see here. Yet. (Photo taken on April 26, 2014)

The new location has its own Facebook page now, but there’s not much going on there yet, either.

So far, the only sign on the establishment is the public liquor license application:

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This is all well and good, but we’re HUNGRY. And we’ve heard good things about this place. They’re even going to be open for all three meals. BREAKFAST PIZZA, people.

Eater claims an open date of June 12 for Mioposto II. And while we’d never put money on a new restaurant opening on the day it claims it will open, we’re gonna get up extra early that day just in case.