Ballard’s Cultural Center Fundraising for its New Home

Although Oslo is over 4,000 miles away, the Nordic countries have a major impact on the identity of Ballard. Although some say Ballard is losing its appeal, the former fishing village honors its Scandinavian history regularly. It is very much a part of being a Ballardite. To recognize its origins, Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum will be moving and expanding, becoming a more prominent symbol of downtown Ballard. The Nordic Heritage Museum will be in its fundraising stage for the next six months, as it raises money for the $55 million construction of its new museum and cultural center at 2600-2800 Ave and NW Market St. in Ballard, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

Expected to be completed in late 2014, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will highlight the past and present of Scandinavian history, as it morphs into a neighborhood hub west of 24th. Looking at early conceptual designs, the future neighborhood hub will resemble a fjord and feature exhibit space, an auditorium, event space, classrooms, a Nordic classroom, and more. It will be three-stories high and occupy 65,000 sq. ft, linking the retail center of Market St. with the business area of Ballard and the Ballard Locks. What I’m especially happy to hear is there is a Finnish native on the architect team, who specializes in Scandinavian design. Staying consistent with Scandinavian design, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will also have sustainable elements.

With the right planning, the Nordic Heritage Museum can have a very positive impact on Ballard. As the only pan-Nordic museum in the United States, it has the potential to be a tourist attraction, as well as an educational center. With all the real estate construction and changes happening in Ballard, it’s nice to know that Ballard isn’t forgetting its roots.

Is Ballard Being Overbuilt With Apartments?

The Sunday Seattle Times had an interesting article regarding the possibility that Seattle may be overbuilt with apartments in the coming years. According to the article visuals, there are more than 6,000 apartment units currently in construction and over 16,000 units in the pipeline. However, some predict that Seattle will have more than enough demand for the apartments in the coming years. Here’s the article for more information.

Ballard especially has experienced a significant increase in apartment construction. Just walk down 15th Avenue and you’ll see the former vacant lots loaded with machinery. Or walk down Market Street and see cranes on 14th, 13th, and even around 24th. I’m not even naming all the Ballard lots that will be experiencing development. Total, Ballard has issued permits for 748 apartment units.

While some are concerned Ballard will be overbuilt, let us not forget the desirability of the neighborhood. Seattle Weekly considered it one of the top neighborhoods in Seattle.

What do you think? Do you think Ballard will fall victim to numerous vacancies in the future or do you think young adults will flock in? Tell me your thoughts.

The Scots are in Ballard! New Scottish Pub on Ballard Ave

Although Ballard is known as lil’ Scandinavia, it has a diverse group of restaurants and bars. Saturday night in Ballard is like going to a 21+ version of the EPCOT World Showcase. Along with having a German pub, an English pub, and many Irish pubs, Ballard is now home to a Scottish pub – MacLeod’s Scottish Pub, located at 5200 Ballard Avenue. It opened for business yesterday.

MacLeod’s is in the hands of the Bastille owners, James Weimann and Deming Maclise, as well as an Edinburgh native, Allen MacLeod, to make it authentic. As expected, the Scottish pub serves primarily scotch – 50 different varieties for now. Pair your single malt scotch with a food offering, like its soup, savory pies, smoked salmon, and various meat and cheeses.

MacLeod’s Scottish Pub takes the place of Ballard’s Harlow Saloon. It is located in the Junction building, a gorgeous brick building on the corner of 20th and Ballard, near Second Ascent, the Tractor, and Conor Byrne. I think it’ll be a great fit for the Ballard crowd.

Seattle Christmas Lights in Ballard and Beyond!

In today’s Seattle Times, there is a handy guide on where to see some fantastic holiday light displays in the Seattle area. For those of you in the Ballard area, you don’t have to go far. Check out the displays at these addresses:

  • 9234 13th Ave NW – This house has a fun display, with Santa on the roof, a skiing snowman, and a handmade forest!
  • 351 NW 52nd St – Using over 18,000 lights (WOW!), this property owner has a train, a 25-foot star, candy canes, a snowman, a Christmas Tree, and the list goes on and on…
  • Olympic Manor – This is a no-brainer for most Ballard residents but take a drive or walk through Olympic Manor to see some lovely light displays celebrating the holidays. The entrance is on NW 85th St. and 22nd/21st Ave NW or at NW 90th and 24th ave NW.
  • NW 75th St and 21st Ave NW – I was driving around the neighborhood and spotted a house around this location that definitely embraced the holiday spirit. If you have time, swing by and check this house out.

If you want to know where you can go outside of Ballard to see fantastic holiday light displays, check out the Seattle Times guide.

Post in the comments if you saw or made a great holiday display!

Ballard’s Hjarta Phase Two Passed Environmental Review

Ballard Hjarta IIThe Ballard development, Hjarta II, will be moving forward, as it received environmental approval. The proposed Ballard building, planned for the lot at 1537 NW 56th St, will be seven stories high, with 102 residential units above four live/work units, and 86 parking spaces.

Originally proposed in 2003, the Ballard construction had to be halted and was only restarted in 2010, with a Design Review meeting. To look at what you can expect in Ballard from Hjarta II, check out the project plans here. If you do have a comment or appeal to the design, you have until December 26th, 2011 to submit it to the Hearing Examiner.

Looking at the design and the other commercial designs, Ballard is shaping up to be much different in the next 5-10 years.

Ballard is Home to the 1st Zero-Energy House!

A Ballard couple recently completed construction on the first zero-energy Seattle residence. It uses air-tight SIP construction to keep the Ballard home insulated, as well as a highly efficient heat pump. As a source of heat, there are large, triple-pane, south-facing windows and heated, stained concrete floors.

Using the 6,000 watt solar panel, the Seattle residence costs nothing to heat. To build the first zero-energy home, the Seattle couple spent a little over $410,000 to buy and build the Ballard lot, but with Washington State’s solar incentive program, it will bring costs down to under $400,000. For more details, check out the Seattle couple’s blog or the Ballard News-Tribune article.

Potential Ballard to Downtown Rail Line To Be Studied

In today’s Seattle Times, Mike Lindblom reported that Sound Transit is planning to study the potential of a possible rail line from downtown to Fremont to Ballard, running along Westlake. Originally, Sound Transit officials planned to do this research later in the decade; however, they are speeding up the timetable and planning to fund the $2 million study in next year’s budget.

On the plus side, I’m glad that Sound Transit is making Ballard a priority. With all the new construction, Ballard is growing rapidly. If there isn’t proper transit and more of it, Ballard is going to turn into a complete grid lock. Some residents are even brainstorming their own Ballard lines, as indicated by the Ballard Spur. The study will look at offering the potential of street cars, light rail, and buses to serve Ballard residents’ needs.

Although I’m not a mass-transit professional, I see a few positives in the proposed potential route. First, I support the idea of linking up with the South Lake Union Trolley and the Downtown Seattle light-rail. That’s a no-brainer. Also, it’s a great idea to run through the dense neighborhood of Fremont; SPU would be another great option for the route.
However, I hope the study looks at a few potential cons with the proposed route. First, it’s suggested to run up 24th Ave NW. Why not 15th Ave NW, which would be easier for non-Ballardites to get to? Second, the route goes through NW Market St. If it’s a light rail or streetcar option, that would turn NW Market St into a nightmare for cars.

Many initial readers are expressing similar concerns in the article comment section, especially regarding why we’re spending money on a study, as well as route suggestions. I only hope the study is able to obtain the results we’re looking for and actually accomplish something. I really hope the study isn’t wasted money. It wasn’t long ago that we studied a potential Downtown to Ballard monorail line extension, which resulted in absolutely nothing. I’m not bitter. Nope.

Nordstrom Testing Out Same-Day Delivery in Ballard

Can’t get enough of Nordstrom clothes? Now, the company, notorious for its high-level of customer service, is testing out same-day delivery in select Seattle neighborhoods, including Ballard. For just $10, you can place an order before noon and have it arrive on your doorstep by 6pm. Nordstrom will even offer Sunday delivery. It’s just another way that Nordstrom is going above and beyond in providing superior customer service for its Seattle clientele.

The Annual 2011 Christmas Ships Are Coming to Ballard!

2011 Christmas Ship Festival in SeattleSeattle’s annual Christmas Ship Festival officially kicks off this Thursday, December 1st, and you don’t want to miss it when it floats by Ballard.  The 62 year Seattle tradition is a sure way to get you and your family into the holiday spirit.

On December 7th, head over to either the Ballard Locks or Golden Gardens Park in the evening to see the largest holiday floating parade in the world. The brightly decorated Christmas ships will stop in front of the Ballard Locks for 20 minutes, starting at 8:10pm. It’ll continue on to Golden Gardens Park and be there from 9:05-9:25pm. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate, warm your hands by the bonfire and listen to the Dickens Carolers.

If you’re busy on Wednesday, you can catch the ships up near Carkeek Park on Sunday, December 11th. The Christmas Ships arrive in Carkeek Park a bit earlier, around 6:00pm. For more information, check out the full schedule here. Happy Holidays!