Annual Bigelow Block Sale back this Saturday

You’ve been asking about it, and here are the details. Every year, residents along Bigelow Ave. N. hold a big block sale — as many as 50 homes in previous years — and the sale is back this Saturday, June 2nd, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From lemonade stands to cars for sale, you’ll never know what you’ll find in this annual event. As always, participating homes will be marked with balloons.

So far, 26 homes have signed up, according to organizer Rene Stern, but there’s still time to add your home in the mix. Each participating home pays a small registration fee ($20) for marketing costs, the remainder of which will be donated to the Queen Anne Helpline. To register your home, just email renes[at]

Crews to lift Aurora Bridge nearly an inch, WSDOT warns of a noisy night

Update: Here’s a photo from WSDOT of last night’s work:

Earlier: WSDOT is warning North Queen Anne neighbors that they may hear noisy construction work from midnight tonight (Tuesday) until 5 a.m. Wednesday, as they lift the Aurora Bridge three-quarters of an inch. The bridge will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. for northbound lanes and midnight for southbound lanes, reopening at 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

It’s all part of an ongoing earthquake retrofitting project that you may have noticed if you’ve driven along 6th Ave. N. under the bridge.

Crews are installing new one ton bearings that will allow the bridge to gently sway during an earthquake. Work on the bridge deck takes place this week and next month as crews replace the bearings and lower the bridge back into place. Crews are nearly done with the project on the Fremont size of the bridge, and WSDOT expects the Queen Anne work to be completed by August.

Those lane closures along 6th Ave. N will continue Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., until the end of August. Crews are building a skeletal system for the extra steel that will be attached to the existing girders, WSDOT says. Here’s the project page with more information.

Development planned next to Queen Anne Bowl

A Redmond company plans to build a senior assisted living center next to Queen Anne Bowl, surprising some neighbors who believed the land was part of the city park. The plot in question sits just to the northwest of Queen Anne Bowl, immediately west of the Northwest Center Kids facility.

Here’s a sketch of the proposed development (.pdf), which is currently in design review. If approved, the three-story facility will feature about 100 apartments, a center square, outdoor gardens and roof terraces. You can see the playfield immediately to the right of the development.

The lot is currently home to four abandoned tennis courts, a house, large trees and a couple trails that wind through the property. While some neighbors believed the city owned the land, the lot was owned by Seattle Pacific University, which sold it to Aegis Living for $9.5 million.

Several neighbors told our partners at the Seattle Times that the sale came as a surprise, and they wished SPU would’ve worked with the city to preserve the land as a natural extension of Queen Anne Bowl and David Rodgers Park. The Times reported that both Seattle City Parks and Seattle Public Schools (which leases the former North Queen Anne Elementary School to Northwest Center Kids) had expressed interest in owning the land before, and SPU said it notified both about the impending sale — but didn’t hear back.

The view from the entrance of Queen Anne Bowl, looking toward the lot.

Queen Anne Community Council’s Don Harper told the Times that SPU didn’t give the city enough time to react. “There’s so many things that could have happened here,” Harper said. “A basketball court, a playground for little kids while their siblings are at the bowl. I just don’t think SPU gave the community enough time.” Added neighbor Denise Derr, “This is a significant loss of parkland for the entire city.”

The university provided Queen Anne View with a timeline of its communication with the city and the neighborhood. In October, SPU says it contacted each member of its advisory committee — some of which are neighbors — that the land was going up for sale. SPU also contacted Seattle Parks and the Seattle School District but “neither party responded back with any interest.” On November 14, the SPU advisory committee met with a number of Queen Anne neighbors in attendance. A few days later, a summary of the meeting was emailed to “lengthy neighborhood email distribution list.” On March 2, the committee was notified the land was sold.

Nevertheless, SPU Senior VP Don Mortenson told the Times that the university may not have notified enough people: both the Queen Anne Community Council and Northwest Center Kids right next door say they were not told about the impending sale.

The lot is heavily wooded in parts, and Aegis Living says an arborist has determined that seven of them are “exceptional” per the City of Seattle’s tree preservation program. The preferred design option, shown above, would preserve all seven of the trees, but the rest would likely be removed. The house on the property would be demolished, as well.

SPU says the plan is to use the funds from the sale to fund a new facility planned just to the south of SPU including a “performance auditorium, classrooms, faculty development center and facilities for SPU music and visual arts academic programs.” You can see more details on that project here.

The plan is currently in the design review process. We’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, what do you think of the planned development?

More apartments coming to West Queen Anne

The apartment building boom continues on all sides of Queen Anne. The City of Seattle has just given the green light for a new apartment complex at 600 Elliott Ave at West Mercer Street. Right now, it’s an empty parking lot:

And here’s what it will be:

The new five-story facility will feature 10 live/work units and 113 apartments with “sweeping views” of Puget Sound. It will also include a ground floor parking garage. Here’s a link with more details about the project.

Lower Queen Anne liquor store closing May 29th

The first day of private liquor sales begins on June 1st, and that means the last of the state-run stores are closing. In Lower Queen Anne/Uptown, the store on 1st Ave. N. is closing May 29th.

It will be open on Memorial Day, and it’s selling the last bottles at discount prices. We saw quite a few bottles still on the shelves.

The store sold in an auction in April for $250,100, and we’ve filed a public records request with the Liquor Control Board to learn who purchased the location. The Interbay store on 15th Ave. will close on May 31st.

Cars damaged overnight on top of hill

Queen Anne View reader Lincoln told us he found several damaged cars Wednesday morning while walking his dog in Upper Queen Anne:

I noticed a number of parked cars with significant damage. One was on Queen Anne Ave in front of Bartell’s (parked diagonally), and a few more were around the corner on 1st Ave W near Crockett (parallel parked). The damage must have happened last night – there were still bits of shattered plastic and glass on the ground near the cars.

We’ve been unable to find a police report on the incident so far, but will pass along any details if/when we do.

Seven Hills slated for August completion

After nearly a year of construction, workers are putting the finishing touches on “Seven Hills,” the mixed-use development along Queen Anne Ave. on the hill. Emerald Bay Equity’s Joe Geivett tells us it should be completed by August, and Queen Anne Dentistry (which is currently located right next door) is the first tenant confirmed to move into the space.

With 57 apartments and just over 8,000 square feet of retail space, Seven Hills is the third in a string of four developments called “The Commons.” Sweetbrier and Eden Hill buildings are already completed, and construction will begin at the Met Market location later this summer.

Earlier: Met Market in Upper Queen Anne prepares to close

QA Farmers Market looking for volunteers

With an expanded Queen Anne Farmers Market opening on June 7th, organizers are looking for volunteers. They’ll help set up the market, answer questions from visitors and support the chef and music tents.

As we reported earlier this month, the market is growing from 32 to 50 vendors: more local farmers, food artisans and wineries along an expanded produce row. Here’s a visualization of what the expanded market will look like:

If you’re interested in volunteering, visit here to learn more — no special skills required. There will be a volunteer orientation on Wednesday, May 30, from 6:30-7:00 under the big tree on West Crockett just off Queen Anne Avenue North (in front of 4 West Crockett).

The market is held every Thursday, 3:00 to 7:30 from June 7 to October 11.

Blue Water Grill opens outdoor patio

One of the most popular lunchtime spots in Lower Queen Anne has opened an outdoor patio just in time for summer. Blue Water Grill on Queen Anne Ave. N. has built the patio in back of the restaurant, adding over 30 seats.

“We think our patio is only one of a few on Lower Queen Anne to enjoy great food and imbibe adult beverages,” Blue Water’s Peter Cassidy told us, explaining they’ll be offering more drinks on the menu this week.

Suspect wanted in US Bank robbery

The FBI is asking for your help in finding this suspect in a bank robbery Friday afternoon at the US Bank on 8th Ave. N, between Dexter and Westlake Ave. The armed suspect is described as a white male in his 40s to 50s wearing black clothing. Here are the security photos:

“Based on similarities in the subject’s appearance and in robbery methods, investigators believe this subject may have been responsible for the robbery of a Key Bank in Issaquah on March 24, 2012,” the FBI said. If you see the suspect, you’re asked to call 911.