Work begins on first of three new buildings for University Village

Excerpt of map included in the Northeast Design Review Board report from October 20, 2008 (click to download the 205 KB PDF)

University Village revealed in a blog post dated January 18 that the construction happening now at the southern end of the shopping center will be a “700-stall parking garage that will be open for Holiday 2012.”

But this is only the first of three new structures planned for the upscale shopping center in the coming years.

According to notes from the October 20, 2008 Northeast Design Review Board meeting (205 KB PDF), the current construction (which will include restaurant and retail space once completed) will eventually be joined by two others further to the north.

The following (brief) descriptions of all three new buildings are taken from the 44-page design proposal (23.3 MB PDF) presented by to the Northeast Design Review Board on October 20, 2008.

Building 1: Parking, restaurant and retail (South parking garage)

Along with 713 parking spaces (replacing the 369 spaces from the current lot and adding 344 more), this new six-story building will include 24,626 sq. ft. of restaurant and 81,880 sq. ft. of retail space. The top floor of the garage section will be rooftop parking.

While Building 1 is a single unit, it will have the appearance of three different buildings, much like other structures in University Village today.

Excerpt of the University Village design proposal map showing the new south parking garage (on page 2 of the master document; click the image to download the 23.3 MB PDF)

The permit to demolish the old Key Bank building (4501 27th Ave NE; since moved to the old Blockbuster Video building at 4715 25th Ave NE) was issued on Monday, January 23.

Frequent visitors-by-car to University Village may want to study up on the new vehicular circulation plan around the new garage before it opens — the southwest entrance to the shopping center will be affected the most.

Here are some views of the construction area taken yesterday, Thursday, January 27 (photos by Eric Wahl):


View looking southeast from the parking lot south of Blue C Sushi (future view of the garage entrance)

View from under the NE 45th St viaduct, looking west

View looking south from the east side of the south parking garage construction zone

Building 2: Plaza, retail, and restaurant (Village Center)

Two-story building with 11,461sq. ft. of retail space at ground level and 12,125 sq. ft. of restaurant space above (1,750 sq. ft. of which is outdoors). An open public plaza area on the west side of the structure has seating and a water feature.

Building 3: Retail and plaza (Gateway)

Another two-story building with retail on both floors (9,350 sq. ft. on the first floor and 16,133 sq. ft. on the second) with plaza areas on the south side (on first and second floors; again with seating and a water feature).

There are as of yet no timelines revealed for the construction of Buildings 2 and 3.

Room & Board to open in newly vacated U-Village Barnes & Noble space (UPDATE)

The Seattle Times announced today that Minnesota-based modern furnishings maker Room & Board would be moving in to the recently vacated Barnes & Noble space at University Village (2623 NE University Village St).

Room & Board will take up just over half of the building’s available space, and will be located on the second floor. The opening is slated for this fall, says the Seattle Times.

No word yet on what the leftover 19,000-square-feet will be occupied by, but the decision to split the space up comes as no surprise — this plan was revealed as a possibility back in October when the bookstore’s closure was first announced.

The University Village Barnes & Noble opened in 1995 after the Lamonts department store’s lease expired in 1994 — in a manner baring a slight resemblance to Barnes & Noble’s own issues-about-leases exit from the upscale outdoor mall. Lamonts had operated in the U-Village for 26 years, replacing the Rhodes Department Store before it.

What do you think, folks? Room & Board a good fit for the old space, or were you secretly hoping for The Return of Lamonts?


UPDATE (Friday, January 13): The print edition of today’s Seattle Times had an artist’s rendering of what the Room & Board might look like (provided by Room & Board), as well as a picture of the same corner of the building (taken by Seattle Times photographer Ken Lambert) while it was occupied by Barnes & Noble.

Rollover accident in parking lot at University Village traps driver in car

Over a dozen Seattle Fire Department units responded to a two car injury accident at the southern entrance to University Village (2746 NE 45th St) this afternoon.

Here are the details, from the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Line:

Seattle Fire Department Paramedics transported a female driver in her 50’s to Harborview Medical Center after being rescued out of her car.

The female patient was pulling out of the QFC parking lot when she lost control of her Honda minivan and drove over a barricade and slammed into the back of a parked car causing her minivan to roll on its side.

Firefighters from Ladder Company 7 used saws and other tools to cut the woman out of her minivan. The female patient was breathing, conscious and alert. Medics transported her to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries.

Seattle Police Department Officers are investigating the cause of the accident.

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee at Publicola happened to get a picture of the accident from “[o]ur fave tipster Silver,” and shared it via his old Seattle Crime twitter feed:

The west-bound curb lane of NE 45th St was blocked for around 45 minutes.

Ravenna Blog Twitter Round-Up for October 16-22

A very mixed bag of tweets this week: The grand opening of the University Village Microsoft Store, increasing signs of life at new German restaurant Heidelberg Haus, and the sudden and unexpected death of 46th District State Senator Scott White.

University Village Microsoft Store opens this Thursday

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 20, the new University Village Microsoft Store (2624 NE University Village St) holds its grand opening, with more events spilling over into the following two days.


Opening week events include playing Kinect with newly-retired Kasey Keller and less-newly-retired Edgar Martinez, and rocking out in the parking lot to the musical stylings of The Black Keys and OneRepublic.

Here’s the schedule of events:

Thursday, October 20

9 AM  Grand Opening Ceremony with Microsoft corporate vice president Rich Kaplan, and more than $1 million in software grants awarded to local organizations (based on how members of the local community voted on the Microsoft Store Facebook page).

9:30 AM Ribbon cutting and doors open

5 PM Play Kinect with Seattle Sounders and USA goalkeeping great Kasey Keller

7 PM Play Kinect with legendary Seattle Mariners slugger Edgar Martinez

Friday, October 21

7:00 PM The Black Keys perform

Saturday, October 22

2:30 PM OneRepublic performs

Tickets to both concerts are free, and available at the Grand Opening (while supplies last).

The University Village Microsoft Store is 1 of 14 for the company, and the 2nd for Washington state.

For a more in-depth look at the business of Microsoft Stores, see today’s article in the Seattle Times (“U-Village store fits Microsoft consumer strategy”).

We wish store manager (and Ravenna resident), Melinda George, a smooth and problem-free opening. And much less rain than the forecast is predicting.

Steve Jobs remembered at University Village Apple Store (PHOTOS, UPDATES)

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, passed away today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 56 years old.

While Steve Jobs himself was far removed from our neighborhood, the reach of his work, vision, and passion most certainly is not. And it was with that thought that I went down to University Village’s Apple Store three times after Jobs’ death, to see what folks were doing to mark the occasion:


Evening of Wednesday, October 5

Lots of news trucks. This is just two of the four that I could see.

Cameras and reporters queuing up for live shots.

A few people were leaving messages on the black film currently covering the windows — the store is in the process of getting a makeover, and is set to reopen on Friday, October 7.

A few bouquets of flowers, some personal notes, and a single lit candle had been left next to the entrance.

And the iconic logo’s lights had been turned off.


Morning of Thursday, October 6

I noted at the time (on twitter): Small but constant stream of folks walking by the @UVillage Apple Store. Stopping for a few moments, in silence. Taking pictures.

GeekWire was by the store after I was, and captured more of the comments left on the store windows.

The SunBreak also stopped by. Editor and Publisher Michael van Baker shares his thoughts on the memorial here.

The Seattle P-I’s Big Blog has a post up, which includes a photo slideshow.

The Seattle Times has posted a video of some Seattle residents visiting the store and sharing their thoughts (verbally and on the black windows).


Evening of Thursday, October 6

Fire at Silver Cloud Inn this morning quickly extinguished

A shot from KING5's SkyKING helicopter of the Silver Cloud Inn this morning. (Photo courtesy KING5)

Just before 7AM this morning, the Seattle Fire Department was called to the Silver Cloud Inn (5036 25th Ave NE) between the Ravenna Neighborhood and the University Village.

View Silver Cloud Inn in a larger map

The hotel was evacuated during the incident. The fire was extinguished quickly, and there were no reports of injury.

Kyle Moore, Public Information Officer for the Seattle Fire Department, had more details (via email):

We received a call at 6:50 this morning. When firefighters arrived most of the flames were knocked down by the automatic sprinkler system in the hotel.

The sprinkler went off in a first inside the first floor room. The occupant went out of the room and pulled an alarm. The sprinklers doused most of the fire but there still was smoke in the bottom level hallway. 130 of the rooms of the hotel were occupied and about 200 people were evacuated from the hotel.

There were no reports of injuries.

The damage estimate is 10 thousand to the structure and 5 thousand dollars to contents.

The fire investigator is still waiting to speak with the occupant of the room to further determine the cause of the fire, which started in or next to his or her bed.

The Shoe Zoo lives on, celebrates rebirth this weekend

When last I visited with The Shoe Zoo‘s “Zoo Keeper,” Bruce Stern, the over two-decades-old local shoe store was going out of business. The fall back-to-school season, normally the Christmas of shoe stores, had seen far below normal sales. It seemed like the end was near, and in late January of this year, Bruce had decided that it was time to call it quits. A going-out-of-business sale started on late January.

Bruce Stern, helping a lucky girl's grandmother during the going-out-of-business sale in January.

And then, over the course of the sale, as customer after customer came through The Shoe Zoo’s doors telling him how much the store would be missed, Bruce decided he would make a go of it after all.

Bruce, via email, talking about the new plan for The Shoe Zoo:

Needless to say, I have heard hundreds of my dearest customers express their sadness about the closing of one of their favorite stores. Trust me, it has been terribly sad for me too. So, after weeks of sleepless nights, I’ve come to realize that The Shoe Zoo can and will survive. We are going to change its format to fit our trying times. The Shoe Zoo is now going to be a store that you can always go to for really great deals on children’s shoes. We will always have sale racks, with ever changing name brand shoes, marked at least 25% off, plus some of your favorite brands always marked less than anywhere else around. The lowest prices always.

A “Grand Reopening” sign has decorated his storefront windows ever since, and this weekend, May 21-22, he invites you back to celebrate.

Via another email:

As you know we are having our Grand Re-Opening sale going on now. This weekend, May 21st and 22nd we are giving away activity books and some other items with your purchases. Also balloons and a special appearance by Simba from the Lion King. You will also be able to enter our drawings for gift certificates and free shoes. It will be a lot of fun for everyone, so I hope to see all of you here.

The Shoe Zoo is located at 2920 NE Blakeley St, Suite B, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM-6PM, Sundays 11AM-5PM.

You can also find The Shoe Zoo on facebook.

Final days for The Shoe Zoo on Blakeley

Another long-time area business is closing its doors.

After 23 years of business, The Shoe Zoo (2920 NE Blakeley St # B) is going out of business.  A 30% off sale begins today.

The news was sent out via email  (and passed on to us by our friends at My Green Lake):

Well, it is with a very heavy heart, that after 23 years of taking care of the best customers I could ask for, I must announce, that starting today, we will begin our last sale ever – our going out of business sale. This was a very tough decision to make, but one that had to be made.  I can’t give an exact date of how long we will be here, but I must sell everything in the store. You name it, it’s for sale.  I will start by making all merchandise 30% off.  Hopefully, you can help me get the word out.  Please tell everyone you know, who has kids, the news.  I would really appreciate it.  If this store has made a difference for your families over the years, please come in and pick up a few pair of shoes.  Please be sure to use any credits, or gift certificates as soon as possible.

The Zoo Keeper 🙁


I purchased my son’s very first pair of “big boy” shoes at The Shoe Zoo. 🙁

Bake-at-home pizza and collegiate surplus new to the area this week

Today, we welcome Zaw Pizza to the (nearly) neighborhood, and tomorrow it’s UW Surplus’ big day!


New signage, with bonus phone number (photo courtesy Zaw Pizza)

Zaw Artisan Pizza opens its fifth location in Wedgwood (7320 35th Ave NE) today at 2pm. No deliveries this week, as they focus on the pizza-making first; however, busy folks can order ahead and pick up their pizzas while STILL IN THEIR CARS, thanks to a second door to the store, adjacent to the kitchen.

When deliveries start next week, the neighborhoods of Wedgwood, View Ridge, Bryant, Ravenna, and even Laurelhurst are included in the delivery area. Roosevelt and Maple Leafers east of 15th Avenue NE are also in the delivery zone. (The rest of Roosevelt and Maple Leaf, and the University District may be added to the deliver zone later.)

The Wedgwood Zaw crew! Katie, Amanda, Danielle, Stephanie, Will, Nathan, Townley, Danny, Rose and JOE are happy to be here!


On Tuesday, UW Surplus holds their first public sale from noon-6 PM at their new location (4515 25th Ave NE), across 25th Avenue NE from University Village.

The old location (underneath campus security on Boat Street) had its charm: Lots of wood, lots of old signage. A duck. But it was also small, and had very little head room. And no heat. The new location is quite a bit larger AND heated. (And conveniently located across the street from Radio Shack.)

A sneak peek -- LOOK at all that head room!

Just how does the University of Washington decide what they don’t need or want anymore? From the UW Surplus Store’s FAQ page:

The UW is committed to contributing toward a greener world, and we try to let nothing go to waste if it can be reused, repurposed, or recycled. We take in surplus items from all UW departments and medical facilities. When a department doesn’t need something anymore, they send it to us. We receive items every day, so our stock of items is always changing & evolving.

And what is it like inside? What kind of stuff is the UW parting with? Well, if you’ve even been to the original Archie McPhee’s (on Stone Way) and wished they had more stuff you could outfit your mad scientist lab and office with, THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU.

Entrance is the small door to the left of the BIG DOOR.