KIRO 7 News this morning put out a video piece lamenting the "end" of Belltown. The news piece left a lot to be desired, including some basic facts.
This is a short update, to help correct the story.
First off though -- GREAT JOB STEVE AND RICH!! You spoke up for our community today, and you were on point, on message, and honest. We could hardly ask for more. Thank you!! :)
The story talks a lot about how the "Landmark Status" isn't enough to protect the neighborhood from demolition, and leaves the viewer with the impression that nothing can be done. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
Making the demolition sound like a "done deal" is extremely misleading. There are three buildings being proposed jointly for demolition, and that means that ALL THREE must be unconstrained by Landmark status controls, in order to be demolished.
Those three buildings are (in block terminology):
1. The Lava / Funky building (Landmarked, but uncontrolled)
2. The Shorty's / Rabbit building (still needs to be reviewed fro Landmark status)
3. The Tula's building (still needs to be reviewed for Landmark status)
As you can see above, the second two buildings have YET to be reviewed. In the case of the "Lava / Funky" building (officially the "Wayne Apartments"), that review process took about six months before the Landmarks board even reviewed it for nomination. After it was actually designated a Landmark, the City then spent another two years reviewing it, in an attempt to find some way to put controls on the building, while retaining the historic structure. Ultimately, they had to let it go because they couldn't make it work. But it took those full two years, before they let it go.
That means that, if Belltown rises up and makes itself heard, we can push for Landmarking of the second two buildings, which buys us time for a permanent solution. Landmarking Tula's and Shorty's buildings will be harder, but it's definitely possible if the community rises up to make itself heard.
(attn: any landowners reading this. you can still make all your money, w/o tearing out the building. we are not trying to steal your property. call us. we can help you.)
Landmarking was never a final solution - it was always only meant to buy us time while we save the whole block as a district. Don't get me wrong -- the buildings SHOULD be designated as Landmarks. The very fact that you all know which buildings I'm talking about is evidence that it is a "landmark" in even the common sense understanding of the word.
But Landmarking is only step one of a longer process. We've written before about the need for a permanent solution, but the short version is this: it's time for us to make Belltown a DISTRICT, just like Pike Place Market.
Want to DO SOMETHING right now, to feel like you're helping? Yay that's great!
Call our City Council rep, Sally Bagshaw @ 206-684-8801. Tell her your a "Human of Belltown" and that you'd like her to listen and to help us. Tell her we have solutions.
You can follow @RiseUpBelltown on Instagram for daily updates, or sign-up for our weekly email updates, and you can follow us here on this blog. If you would like to help show up for meetings and actions we would welcome your support! Get on the BOAT, and join the Rapid Action Team. We'd love to have you. :)