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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lots of stuff going on here:

-Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation HQ
-Chihuly Museum and Garden
-Center House redevelopment
-The Space Needle being painted orange...

Share news and photos!
 

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We're going to redevelop The Armory .. sorry, Center House? Again? Why don't we just admit we like having a tired old monstrosity filled with leftover stuff not world-class enough to go somewhere else? See if that guy will dig up his plants and let us use the Bubbleator to make some money.
 

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The Center House (sorry, not calling it the Armory) is one of Seattle's most consistently busy public spaces. It would be a good candidate for a second Starbucks, because the line at the existing one is frequently way too long. I walk in every weekend at some point and there's usually an event. The Children's Museum and and arts high school are both important. I hope they're not screwing up the food court too much...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Last time i walked thru, there pretty much is NO food court now. They still have the one starbucks and one other americana type place. But most places are under construction. The central area is pretty much empty now.
 

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True, it sucks right now for those of us who sometimes get dinner there. But that's temporary.

I REAALLY hope a good pizza place moves back into the Pizza Haven spot. Mod Pizza is moving in next to it, but they suck.
 

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^^ Agreed. I am not too crazy about Mod Pizza. I hope new one will much better. I hope they will get rid of Subway and replace it with something else like Salumi or some local deli shop.
 

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^^ Agreed. I am not too crazy about Mod Pizza. I hope new one will much better. I hope they will get rid of Subway and replace it with something else like Salumi or some local deli shop.
The problem with the food court in the center house is that a lot of the food court businesses have been run out because Seattle Center has raised rent prices SO HIGH that no one can afford to stay there anymore, I know this because I volunteer at the ice rink every year and spoke with the center's director about this and she confirmed that a lot of the businesses in the food court either are going to close up for good or operate only during events or holidays because that is where the money is. Sad really when you think about it.
 

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All or almost all of the retail spaces that were vacant are now being filled by various restaurants, and several places are setting up permanent-looking stands in the new open area on the west side of the Center House/Armory. On Saturday I went to the new outpost there of Eltana, the great bagel place from Capitol Hill, and it was great. The restaurants there are definitely becoming more high-class than the fast food places that were there before, and I think that's a good thing.
 

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That seems likely. They need to work on signage though...the stands don't seem to get the concept of a tourist making a decision while standing in one place and surveying the room. Their lettering is way too small.

Stand inside the south entrance sometime. You'll hear a lot of conversations like that.
 

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m makes the point I wanted to make. People go there because it's homey in its Seattle way, not avant-garde, and there is food they want, not experimental cuisine. I'm afraid we will have this conflict forever because of differing visions of what Seattle Center is supposed to be. Maybe they could just put up a (slightly larger) sign which says, "Non-world-class area ahead."
 

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In the end, the Armory will be a much more comfortable and attractive space for visitors. It has a new, stripped-down design that reflects its historic purpose. If the city ever has the money for it, I believe they still intend to overhaul the building according to the Seattle Center master plan.

And to speak of "world-class" attractions, there are many examples of workaday buildings in World Cities that have been elevated by new cultural programming. The Tate Modern, a former power station in London, is unglamorous, but it is the most-visited art gallery in the world. Reusing a building is inherently more 'green' than new construction, and this trend is en vogue in the design world at the moment. I agree that the humble design of the building is welcoming and true to Seattle's character.

Check out this cool art installation that replaced the mural on the north-facing wall. http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/37826

New eateries include La Spiga, Mod Pizza, Pie, Skillet, Street Treats, Eltana, The Confectional, and Big Food. Graham Baba, the architects on this team, have a strong relationship with Seattle's restaurant scene (their offices are beneath La Spiga in Capitol Hill), so they were able to secure some stellar talent.
 

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There's a space underneath the Armory* that was designed to be a swimming pool, but never finished. It's just a large space with a dirt floor. I'd love to see them dig down a bit and add another floor on the place.

*maybe if I say it enough it will eventually feel natural
 

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Facilities guy that gave me a tour told me it was designed to be a pool. Certainly could have been a shooting range, but he didn't mention it.

If so, soil remediation might be a pain.
 

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The Center House (sorry, not calling it the Armory) is one of Seattle's most consistently busy public spaces. It would be a good candidate for a second Starbucks, because the line at the existing one is frequently way too long. I walk in every weekend at some point and there's usually an event. The Children's Museum and and arts high school are both important. I hope they're not screwing up the food court too much...
I'm liking Armory, but my main comment is I'm a fan of good coffee and Starbucks is consistent with descent coffee, but since there is one already, why not a Cafe Ladro or one is Seattles other great coffee shops. Ceres roasted nuts is serving coffee and so is Eltana but a true dedicated coffee would be nice, a Tullys would even work, but not two Starbucks. I was walking around on Monday for the Folk Festival and some of the Armory changes are welcomed but I was thinking it would be better executed by a company than by the city....but it's got a long way to go.
 

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Yes, definitely, another name would be better. I'd still go to Starbucks mostly but the line would be shorter.

PS, there was a HELL of a line at Chihuly last week, even before Folklife. Maybe a couple buses of cruise passengers, or initial popularity wave...or maybe this is a major attraction despite the price. I haven't gone yet, but having walked by many times when it was being built and seeing the outdoor displays from afar, I think it'll do very well.
 

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I've always thought the basement of the Armory would be a great place for a bowling alley, especially if the Children's Museum moves out, as I believe it plans to.
 

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From todays DJC

June 11, 2012

From paved to paradise: Garage roof now home to the UpGarden
By LYNN PORTER
Journal Staff Reporter

When gardeners at Seattle's newest P-Patch look around they see the Space Needle, Queen Anne and other downtown neighborhoods.

This is no ordinary garden: The 30,000-square-foot space sits atop the three-story Mercer Garage at 300 Mercer St., just north of Seattle Center.

“In a dense neighborhood like Queen Anne it's really the only spot left to put a P-Patch,” said Eric Higbee, whose Seattle-based landscape architecture practice, Kistler|Higbee Cahoot, designed the garden.

City officials say this is the first publicly accessible large-scale community rooftop garden in the U.S. “It's a total transformation from the parking lot that it once was,” Higbee said.

The garden opened this month after volunteers spent months building it on a tight budget of $150,000. The cost was $5 per square foot, thanks to free labor and less expensive materials.

The clearance of the garage wasn't high enough to bring in dump trucks, so soil was trucked to the site and blown onto the roof with hoses connected to the trucks.

The soil itself also posed a problem.

The garage roof can hold 40 pounds per square foot, but wet soil can weigh 100 pounds per square foot or more, Higbee said.

The design team, with help from structural engineers at Perbix Bykonen, decided to put soil in raised wood terraces with wide paths between them. This gives gardeners enough soil for planting but keeps the weight below the garage's structural limits. Potting soil was used because it is a bit lighter than topsoil.

A 1960s Airstream trailer found cheap on Craigslist houses the tools. A crane had to be used to set it on the garage because of the clearance issue.

The garden has about 100 plots, communal space, and room for both ornamental and pollinator plantings.

Design and construction volunteers get priority for the plots, said Laura Raymond, levy projects coordinator for the Seattle P-Patch program.

Other team members are Nicole Kistler, a landscape designer and public artist with Kistler|Higbee Cahoot; rooftop vegetable design/build consultant Seattle Urban Farm Co.; and Newton Building and Development, which installed posts for the terraces.

Funding came from the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. The levy called for developing community gardens in four areas of the city, including Queen Anne, Raymond said. Upper Queen Anne has gardens, but Lower Queen Anne, in the dense urban core, does not.

Much of the publicly owned space in Lower Queen Anne has buildings or parking lots on it, Raymond said, so the city got creative and came up with what is being called the UpGarden.

Mercer Garage covers almost two city blocks, and is seldom used to capacity, Raymond said. Cars can still be parked on the roof because the garden doesn't take up the entire space.

The city has about 80 P-Patch community gardens, and may develop more on rooftops downtown given the high demand by condo and apartment dwellers who want to get their hands in the dirt, she said.

Developers also have taken note. In the last 10 years, more multifamily buildings downtown have included roof gardens, Raymond said.

Being up high, the UpGarden gets more wind and will be hotter and colder than gardens at ground level, so it's a bit tougher to grow most vegetables, Higbee said. But the great sun exposure means slugs and moles are less likely.

If you want to see the city-owned garden, mosey on up sooner rather than later.

Seattle Center's redevelopment plan calls for the garage to be torn down in three to five years.

 
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