Funtiques officially calls it quits; “BIG sale” to come

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Funtiques, one of two long-time vintage and antique stores just east of where 15th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street meet, has been vacant for quite some time. And this week, orange notes taped to the business’s windows finally made it official:

Hello FUNTIQUES Clientele and Neighbors,

After 20 years, Funtiques is officially closing its doors. It has been a wonderful adventure! Many friendships have been built and are cherished. Knowledge that has been freely shared is greatly appreciated. Thank you fall for your support. Thank you so much Tom for the many years of dedication, it is upon your talents that much of Funtiques was built. Thanks to Silhouette for watching over us. Much gratitiude CEO for the care of my entire family for so many years!

My family has spent many hours supporting so many shops in the Roosevelt area and thank you all for taking such great care of us!

We are posting this notice for 30 days in hopes that the few consignors that have product left will leave contact information. After 30 days all items will be considered abandoned and become the sole property of Funtiques and will be disposed of at our discretion. After 30 days all contracts are Null and Void.

20140418-145955.jpgThis notice was posted on [handwritten] 4/16/2014

If you have any items left and would like to collect them, please follow these instructions:

  • Make a copy of your original receipt
  • Place in a sealed envelope and include a current address, phone number or email where you can be contacted.
  • Drop in the mail slot in the front door of FUNTIQUES

You will be contacted and arrangements will be made for pick-up of items prior to the liquidation sale. A donation to the Teen Center will be made from the sale of the leftover consignment items.

The entire building has been entered into a long termed lease agreement at this time and will not be place on the market.

Thank you so much

FUNTIQUES [initials]

PS: Keep an eye out for further posting of the BIG sale! This one will be great fun!

Three of the four buildings along the north side of the 1500 block of NE 65th Street now sit unoccupied: Vacant Funtiques joins empty Espresso Express (which closed on July 15, 2013) and the boarded up craftsman in between them. The other building, home of Silhouettes, is still open for business.

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The King County Parcel Viewer names the taxpayer of the property at 6502 15th Ave NE (Espresso Express) as “SISLEY HUGH K.” Both the house at 1508 NE 65th Street and the Funtiques property are listed under “SISLEY HUGH K+MARTHA E.” The building that houses Silhouette (1516 NE 65th St) is listed under “MROCZEK LUCILLE B.”

New, ongoing feature: The NE Seattle Development Tracker page

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“Crane and Land,” water color by Kathleen Coyle. Photo taken in Grateful Bread (7001 35th Ave NE).

There’s SO MUCH happening in Northeast Seattle in terms of large developments, we’ve decided to stop writing individual posts about them and give them their own PAGE.

We hereby introduce you to: The NE Seattle Development Tracker page, accessible from anywhere on the Ravenna Blog via a new tab (just to the left of our Search box).

For each development project listed on the map, you can find the following information:

  • Address
  • Main project number and link
  • Current permit activity link
  • Department of Planning and Development (DPD) documents page link
  • Description of the project in its final form (# of stories, apartments, retail square-footage, etc.)
  • Northeast Design Review Board link (to past and future meetings)
  • Design proposal PDF link
  • Website of the new project

Not all of the above information will be available for every project — some are far newer than others — but we’ll add new info and links as the projects progress.


View NE Seattle large development tracker in a larger map

Curious about a project you don’t see on the map yet? Leave a comment below with the address of the project (or contact us here, via web form). We’ll do our best to find more information to add to the map.

NE Seattle YARNPOLCALYPSE is nigh (UPDATES)

Knit one, purl two, REPENT: For Northeast Seattle may be losing two independent yarn stores.

Acorn Street Shop, 2818 NE 55th St

Current Acorn Street Shop owner Karen Aho is retiring, and selling the shop. They’ve had some nibbles, says the shop on twitter, but as of this writing, there are no official takers. May might be the store’s last month if no buyers come forward.

Interested in owning your very own yarn store?* Contact Karen at acornstreet@msn.com.

Acorn Street Shop in early 2012.

Acorn Street Shop in early 2012.

More about the store from the Acorn Street Shop “About Us” page:

Acorn Street Shop was established in 1979 and began as a New England country store in nearby University Village Shopping Center. Soon the needlework department took over and Acorn Street became a full-fledged needlework shop. The shop has been under current ownership since 1986. In 1992, the business moved to its present location, just north of the U-Village, and the needlework merchandise has expanded to fill the old building up to its 15 foot ceilings!

Weaving Works, 4717 Brooklyn Ave NE

“Oh, if Acorn Street Shop closes, it will be sad. But there’s always Weaving Works down in the University District.” BUT FOR HOW LONG. The Weaving Works building is to be torn down and redeveloped into “a seven-story, 56 unit apartment building with 3,600 sq. ft. of retail commercial space at grade.”

There is no date set yet for the demolition, but the permit was filed on January 30, 2014.

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Rendering of the proposed development at 4717 Brooklyn Ave NE. Click the image to download the entire proposal (8.2 MB PDF).

The most recent design proposal for the site (available above) was presented to the Northeast Design Review Board on July 15, 2013. It was passed unanimously. You can read the board’s full report from the meeting here (249 KB PDF).

We’ve contacted The Weaving Works for more information about the store’s future, and will post a reply here if/when we know more.

UPDATE (Wednesday, 7 PM): Good news about the future of The Weaving Works, via their twitter account:

UPDATE (Monday, March 17): In the latest Weaving Works newsletter (PDF), the store announces that their annual Mother’s Day sale will be more of a Moving sale (to help make the move easier); however, they’re still keeping the new location under wraps.

Acorn Street Shop also holds an annual Mother’s Day sale.

____________

*Best possible place to work, in the event of an earthquake.

Design Review Board meeting on the old Fruit Stand blocks (LIVE COVERAGE)

Tonight, Monday, February 3, the Northeast Design Review Board will meet to decide the next steps for the development of the “old Fruit Stand block” just south of Roosevelt High School.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 PM at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room 209). There is a public comment period during the meeting, but it is only 20 minutes in length and not for Q&A-style discussions.

Ravenna Blog will be in attendance and providing LIVE COVERAGE below, starting around 6:30 PM.

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group's Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

Page 12 from the Roosevelt Development Group’s Design Review Recommendation presentation. Click the image to download the entire presentation (17 MB PDF)

The Roosevelt Development Group will be presenting their preferred project design (by Seattle architecture firm GGLO) for 6505 15th Avenue NE (Project #3013244) to the Northeast Design Review Board at tonight’s meeting.

Three different design schemes were presented during the early design guidance meeting on August 6, 2012. (You can find the notes from that meeting here.) Tonight’s recommendation phase design is the third of those three designs and features:

    • Approximately 221 dwelling units, in a mix of multi- and groun- level configurations;
    • 7,500-square-feet of ground-level commercial space;
    • 175 parking stalls, accessed from 14th Avenue NE;
    • Overall height of 7-stories (building heights ranging from 55 to 75 feet, depending on the slope of the property)

Jim O’Halloran, past Roosevelt Neighborhood Association Land Use Chair, had this to say about tonight’s meeting and the current design plans:

“Now that a zoning decision for the high school blocks has been made, and that a reasonably attractive building has been designed for the site with some engagement from the Community, let’s get on with it; build the building.  If for any reason the project will be further delayed, then it is important that the existing decrepit building structures be removed without further delay.  Allowing this sore spot to fester without near term improvement would surely undermine RDG’s relationship with the Community.”

Upcoming Design Review Board meetings of note (LIVE COVERAGE)

Two large development projects on NE 65th Street may before the Northeast Design Review Board in the next three weeks: The old Children’s Home Society of Washington land up at 33rd Avenue NE (recently sold to Polygon Northwest), and the old Fruit Stand block at 15th Avenue NE (owned by Hugh Sisley and leased to the Roosevelt Development Group).

Northeast Design Review Board meetings are held at the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way NE, Room #209). You can see all upcoming meetings (and the links to their respective project information) at this Design Review Meetings page at seattle.gov.

For more information on these two particular projects (including links to design documents and their respective Department of Planning and Development permit pages), click on the map below.

View Jan/Feb 2014 NE Design Review Board meeting topics in a larger map

Ravenna Blog plans on attending both meetings and providing live coverage at ravennablog.com:

  • LIVE COVERAGE of the Monday, January 13 meeting (CHS of WA/Polygon Northwest) begins below around 6:30 PM.
  • LIVE COVERAGE of the (tentative-at-this-time) Monday, February 3 meeting (old Fruit Stand block/Sisley/Roosevelt Development Group) will be posted to a page-to-be-named-later.

Children’s Home Society land FOR SALE: 3.7 acres on NE 65th St could be yours

The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA) posted on their website today information about the sale of the Children’s Home Society of Washington (CHSW) property at 3300 NE 65th St.


View Children’s Home Society of Washington land for sale in a larger map

CHSW owns the entire block of 3300 NE 65th St, which neighbors the private Catholic school Assumption-St. Bridget, the Bryant Corner Cafe, the Northeast Branch of the Seattle Public Library, and lots of single family housing.

Offers on the property are due by Friday, May 17. A source of ours said that CHSW expects to raise $12-15 million dollars from the sale.

From the offering memorandum (PDF):

The Property encompasses the entire city block bounded by NE 65th Street, NE 68th Street, 32nd Avenue NE and 34th Avenue NE in Seattle’s Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood. The Site totals 3.7 acres and has seven existing buildings. The Site has been home to CHSW for over 100 years, receiving its first intake of children in 1908 when the area was still a woodsy exurb of bustling Seattle. Since the closure of the Cobb Center for Youth in 2010, the Site has been used by CHSW solely as administrative office space. CHSW currently operates out of the office building on the south end of the property and one of the cottage buildings. The two remaining cottage buildings are currently unoccupied.

The property carries three different zoning designations across its length: NC 1-30, LR-2, and SF-5000. (More information on what these zoning classifications mean here.)

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At the RBCA’s next board meeting on Tuesday, May 7, the sale of the property will be discussed. All residents are welcome to attend.

According to HistoryLink.org, “[t]he National Children’s Home Society was formed in Illinois in 1883 on the new idea of placing orphaned children for adoption in family foster homes rather than in orphanages.” Reverend Harrison D. Brown and his wife Libbie Beach Brown, who first oversaw the society’s work in Oregon, built a small receiving home in Green Lake in 1899. After it was destroyed in a fire in 1905, a new building was constructed in Ravenna, on donated land. Brown Hall (named for the Reverend) stood from 1907 until it was demolished in the 1970s to make way for more modern facilities.

Jonathan Adler store headed for University Village

Poking around in the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development permits last night, we found a permit from last December for within University Village saying:

Remove existing canopy and storefront to space #24B in bldg D at University Village and install new storefront and conopy [sic] for tenant “Jonathan Adler”, and occupy per plan.

Oh, Jonathan Adler. I wonder if it’s the same guy as the designer, author of four books, judge on Bravo’s Top Design, and who also has his own stores (the nearest of which is in Portland).

Sure enough, listed on the locations page of jonathanadler.com, was the following:

Screen grab from jonathanadler.com's location page (click to check it for yourself).

Screen grab from jonathanadler.com’s location page (click to check it for yourself).

If you are not familiar with Adler’s work, there are, of course, many examples on jonathanadler.com. And here’s a snippet from the About page of his website, speaking to his design aesthetic:

Jonathan’s creativity is fueled by various sources of inspiration: Mid-century modern, art and global pop culture combine to create the signature Adler aesthetic. The company prides itself on its ability to combine a serious design philosophy with a colorful sense of optimism. The guiding motto, “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t make it,” reflects Jonathan’s commitment to impeccable craftsmanship and irreverent luxury.

Page 2 of this design plan for University Village from 2008 (23.3 MB PDF) shows that Building D is the structure which currently houses stores such as Eddie Bauer, The North Face, and the new Room & Board. As for which space is #24, we are unsure at this time.

We’ve sent an email in to the powers-that-be at University Village to see if they can shed more irreverent and luxurious light on the subject.

Hungry for a business opportunity? Three Ravenna restaurants for sale (UPDATE)

As we mentioned in our newly returned Sunday Edition, there were some local restaurant sale mysteries we were puzzling over. Then, on Monday afternoon, we had a break-through: There were not TWO Ravenna restaurants looking to change hands, but THREE.

The first local restaurant for sale is the Pied Piper Ale House (2404 NE 65th St).

The family friendly pub and Geeks Who Drink pub trivia spot has been closed with no explanation since the end of 2012. Then, this week, we learned from a follower on twitter who spoke to the Pied Piper manager on what happened to be their last day of business (the end of December, either the 27th or 28th).

Here is the listing for the location, with the name included in the picture, leaving no mystery:

Commercial Brokers Association listing for the Pied Piper Ale House (click to read the full listing)

Commercial Brokers Association listing for the Pied Piper Ale House (click to read the full listing).

The second closure is a long-time Ravenna neighborhood fixture: Casa D’Italia* (2615 NE 65th St).

We were first alerted to this closure via a Craigslist post just last week, which included the ominous line, “We are no longer able to run the restaurant due to family issues but the restaurant has great potential for the future.”

Since then, three more Craigslist posts have popped up: Two on Saturday, February 16 (one showing the furniture for sale, the other listing other fixtures), and a final one on Monday, February 18, stating that the location is for lease.

We visited the location Monday evening, and found this note on the door:

To all our guests,

On February 16th, we made a family decision to close Casa D’Italia. We would like to thank everyone for your support throughout the last 12 years. We will be keeping our website running so check us out at www.casaditaliaseattle.com to keep up on our next venture and find out where Anthony is cooking next.

Again, thank you for your support.

God bless,

- The Donatone Family

Turns out the closure seems fast because it was.

Casa_DItalia_closes2

We’ve reached out to the family for more information, and will update this post if we hear anything back.

UPDATE (Thursday, February 28): From Angeli Donatone, wife of Chef Anthony (via email):

Yes, it was a sudden closure but one that had been looming for awhile. Like so many others, we have been affected by the changing economy, both personally and professionally. It was a challenge for us to say good-bye to Casa D’Italia, which grew in 11 years to be like family for so many. We trust that when one door closes, many others will open, and it is with this blind faith that we made the decision to close.

Our lease had been month-to-month for many years, and we felt the deferred maintenance on the building was catching up with it, and didn’t want this to become a liability to us, an independant family-run business. We are so proud of the community that was built and all of the fans of “Casa” “Anthony’s” or “the two tomatoes” among other nick-names…Please thank the neighbors for sharing their lives with us. We also have referrals for some great Italian caterers…They may contact us via our website where we will post updates to our whereabouts.

http://casaditaliaseattle.com/default.asp

The third local restaurant sale is more of a mystery.

The listing states a location of the Ravenna neighborhood, but is not any more specific. In fact, interested parties are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before learning of its location.

Our only clues are in the description, which includes the following:

[E]xposed timber beams and soaring 18′ ceilings. Opened August 2011 after extensive remodel. 1,760 SF (restaurant) plus 220 SF (on site office and storage room). Seats 60 including 18 counter seats in bar area.

Craigslist ad for the mystery restaurant (click to read the full listing).

Craigslist ad for the mystery restaurant (click to read the full listing).

We have our guesses. We’ve been told we’re wrong (by a friend of friends of the owner), but with an NDA on the table, all bets are off.

____________________

*Casa D’Italia was the Ravenna Blog’s very first paying customer, in terms of advertising. We will always have a hyperlocal place in our heart for them, and we wish them the very best in the future.

Sisleyville Scoping Comments Deadline TOMORROW

If you’ve been putting off telling the city how you feel about potential development in your neighborhood, you’re OUT OF TIME!

The deadline for public comments about the Environmental Impact Survey for the Roosevelt Development Group’s proposed zoning changes is this Wednesday, September 1.

That’s TOMORROW.

Here’s the Quick and Dirty version of what to do (as posted in the Tremendously Long and Thorough version of a few days ago):

  1. Look at this page. Read the top.
  2. Read about the proposed rezoning alternatives (all six).
  3. Look at these comment-making suggestions.
  4. Think.
  5. Type.
  6. Email your comments to Shelley Bolser (shelley.bolser@seattle.gov) at the Department of Planning and Development.

This is OUR neighborhood, this is OUR conversation. Make your voice heard.

Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues – Interview with Glenn Roberts

What would you like your neighborhood to look like?

Probably NOT like this:

Photo courtesy www.glennaroberts.com/ravenna-park-north

Would you rather see 160-foot-tall buildings? Or perhaps a big box store? Or BOTH?

Ravenna Blog and The Roosevelt Neighborhood Blog (Roosie Hood) have teamed up to try and shed some light on these concerns by interviewing Glenn Roberts, author and administrator of the blog Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues.

Glenn does not claim to be an expert on all things Sisely property-related, but he’s been following the saga of neighborhood vs. property owner/developer vs. city ever since he moved into the neighborhood (and started talking to neighbors about it in 2005, when then property manager Keith Gilbert was arrested on felony weapons charges). Glenn’s been in the real estate business for 25 years, spending the last 22 with the same brokerage here in Seattle. He and his Realtor wife have been residents of the Ravenna Park area for almost two decades, and his son attended Roosevelt High School.

Ravenna Blog/Roosie Hood: To start off in a place we can all relate to, what the %&$#! are all those boarded up buildings along NE 65th Street and 15th Avenue NE? Do you have an elevator speech answer to that question?

Glenn Roberts: About two years ago, Hugh Sisley offered to lease his properties for a term of 99 years. Another stipulation that the leasee has disclosed is that Sisley can disapprove of the development if the design isn’t to his specifications. What his specifications are has not been disclosed.
You don’t get an elevator speech here.
The buildings are boarded up because the leasee paid off the tenants to leave and then secured the property with the fence. They say they can’t tear them down because if the terms of the lease aren’t met, they will give up their option and return the properties to the landowner as they were when they got them.
I don’t believe them. It costs real money to properly tear down a building and if they were to pay for it, Sisley would surely (IMO) let them. But they both may want them to stay up so that public opinion from Seattle at large will say, “Anything will be better than those buildings.”
The landowner has a bad rep, and he will still be the landowner if any buildings are completed. Our main focus is A) To see that Sisley or anyone else does not own huge multi-unit buildings at this location and B) To allow the neighborhood to develop as needed according to the zoning currently in place.

RB/RH:  So, Hugh Sisley owns most of the properties in question, and the Roosevelt Development Group (RDG) is the lease holder.  Current tenants at the time got paid to leave, and the buildings are boarded up (“secured”).  I’m also seeing this spelled out in a Seattle P-I article from 2007 entitied, “Run-down Roosevelt buildings are goners.”

One would assume the next phase would be planning. What does the current zoning for the area look like, and what would the developers like to see there instead?

GR: Most sensible city zoning including the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) plan call for the tallest buildings to be in the commercial core and taper down to the single family neighborhoods. The Roosevelt core is between Roosevelt Way NE and 12th Ave NE. It’s a small urban village. What RDG is proposing is Urban Sprawl in the village. This kind of development would wipe out the concept of village here.
As for the tapering effect, putting 160 foot buildings up against 27 1/2 foot zoning of single family is ridiculous, ludicrous and inane. Yet that’s what the RDG plan calls for on the Sisely lots. The current zoning has 40 foot limits.
They also want to up the zoning from Commercial 2 to Commercial 3. That would allow for a Costco, Walmart or other monstrosity here in the neighborhood.

RB/RH: And to go back to that first question, it feels as though there are two sides to that %&$#! coin: Why have those properties been boarded-up eye sores for so long, and what does the owner plan to do with them?

Map of the Sisley/RDG properties (from 2009; shown to highlight properties being discussed) Courtesy www.glennaroberts.com/ravenna-park-north

GR: They have been boarded up because of several issues that have to do with city regulations.

1. For a long time now there has been a regulation that you cannot tear down a home on a property unless you have permits in place to build a new on. This was the city’s way of preserving taxes. They reasoned that it was cheaper to remodel an existing house than build a new one, but I think the assessed value of the deteriorated house was always more than that of vacant land. This law changed last year, but the tearing down or not is up to the owner, not the city or the neighborhood.

2. When you have existing low income housing (which Sisley can certainly say his were) and you accommodate the renters losing their homes for rebuilding by giving them money to relocate (RDG did that) you get credit to build more units or to build higher buildings, as long as you replace the buildings within a certain amount of time. So, they want to keep them up until they have permits or they could lose those credits.

RB/RH: Have any of the local neighborhood associations weighed in on the issue? Roosevelt Neighborhood Association? Roosevelt Neighbors’ Alliance? Ravenna-Bryant Community Association?

GR: The RNA has spent years developing a growth plan and it has been accepted by the city and should be sufficient for the next 40 years, light rail or no light rail. It is a good plan. The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association leadership has expressed support for the RNA Plan and opposition to the RDG Comp plan change. I belong to a small group of Ravenna neighbors who oppose the RDG plan and publicize everything we can.

RB/RH: You’ve been following the Sisley/Roosevelt Development Group saga for a while now, most notably at your blog, Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues. Can you provide us with a general timeline of Sisley’s/RDG’s purchases?

GR: About 30 or more years ago, Hugh Sisley was the janitor at Roosevelt High School. He managed to buy some properties back when Boeing went bust in the early 70s, I imagine. Possibly he learned then that a run down property diminishes the value of the property next door. Eventually his empire grew. RDG has purchased four properties that Sisely did not already own in the zone, in the last two years.

RB/RH: Sisley himself was a member of the neighborhood (perhaps in vocation only), purchased the properties over time, and then left them to rot, essentially, bringing down the value of the entire area?  Has the neighborhood or the City of Seattle tried to do anything about this?

GR: The recent City ordinance concerning registration of landlords and inspection of rentals is in part a means to enforce clean up of properties like Sisley’s. You also might notice that three or four of Sisley’s properties were torn down last year. I wish I knew the mechanism that forced that so I could try to make it happen on the others. Neighbors should write to the city council and to the mayor and insist that those unused, never to be used again buildings be removed. There are a haven for vermin, a fire hazard, a location inviting graffiti, and an eyesore. They have no place in the community.

RB/RH: At this time, what would you advise a concerned citizen to do?

GR: Oppose everything Sisley and RDG want to do until they meet the design of the RNA plan. Citizens should go to meetings and let their voice be heard. They should write to the city council and express themselves. They should be involved.

RB/RH: You yourself are a real estate agent and live in the Ravenna neighborhood.  What do you say to those who may cry NIMBY over your stand (or others’) on the rezoning issue?

GR: If you own, anywhere, NIMBYism is an important part of making neighborhoods better all across the country. If you are a short term renter, you probably don’t have stake in how towns and cities grow and thrive, or how they fall into ruin.
For my part, I’ll continue to be proactive in the future of my neighborhood and be proud of doing so.

________________

Glenn Roberts is a Seattle residential Realtor residing in the Ravenna neighborhood. He writes and administrates a number of blogs, including Ravenna Park – North and Roosevelt-Ravenna Zoning Issues. You can read much more about the Sisley properties, zoning, Environmental Impact Studies and much much more at both of those sites.