This sign appeared late last week at the large vacant lot at the intersection of NW Market Street and 15th Ave NW in Ballard. It may indicate that something is finally about to happen there. Then again, it may not. But either way, the sign does seem to reflect the current state of play at least as I understand it. Equity Residential, identified in the fine print to the right, is the name of the Chicago-based apartment conglomerate that purchased the property from Benaroya Companies last October for $12.5 million. And the picture is one of the artist’s renderings from the most recent and approved version of the Market Street Landing proposal.
The chances of any new homes coming soon—well, that’s a different matter. Market Street Landing, as approved back in 2009, is huge. It’s divided into three massive blocks that include 287 residential units, 33,000 square feet of retail, and a three-level underground parking lot, with 445 parking spots. Don’t be fooled by the artist’s rendition below — the lighter colored part that extends the full block back to NW 56th Street is also part of the project. And even if they were to break ground tomorrow, building something that big is going to take a while.
There is some interesting discussion on the proposal from back in 2009 here. The post is from Dan Bertolet, the man who brought us Oh Ballard, I’m So Sorry, and has a similar title: Those Who Opposed Landmark Status for the Ballard Denny’s, Accept Your Punishment. No surprises there. Bertolet starts the ball rolling by describing the building as a “generic monstrosity, a poster child for soulless multifamily design.” And if that isn’t clear enough, others fill in the blanks in the comments, but also provide some interesting discussion.
Given the neighborhood elements referenced in the design proposal (see below), it’s hardly surprising that Market Street Landing looks very similar to the other new blocks in the neighborhood. Except that it is, of course, bigger and there’s that odd tower on the corner. But that’s a subject for another time. Some folks commenting on the Bertolet post stated that a hole in the ground was preferable to the Market Street landing, as proposed, and they got their wish. But at this point, I think a lot of folks will be pleased to see any kind of building activity on the Denny’s site, even a “poster child for soulless multifamily design.”
For more on the Ballard Dennys see: