Changes to 35th Ave NE We’re Monitoring

(This post has been updated since its original posting)

With the news that QFC will be leaving Wedgwood in April, interest in the future of our 35th Ave NE business district has understandably increased. Our land use committee has been proactively monitoring potential land use changes in our neighborhood and advocating on behalf of the Future 35th Ave NE plan, which was completed in 2015 by a community-led planning committee.

US Bank For Sale

Back in October 2020, US Bank announced plans to permanently close 15% of its branches (about 400 branches) nationwide, but details of which branches weren’t specified. Announcements were made in cities across the country as these closures were made, but we never saw a confirmed list that included our branch at 8702 35th Ave NE. However, around November 2020, we noticed the sign on the door which announced it had closed temporarily due to COVID-19 was changed to a sign that announced the branch was permanently closed. While we anticipated the store would be listed for sale soon, it wasn’t until within the last week that the property was listed For Sale. Then, over this past weekend, a shiny new For Sale sign went up.

Other properties available For Sale (or may have sold recently) include:

  • Thai of Wedgwood property at 7520 35th Ave NE. This is a mixed-use property with residences above the Thai of Wedgwood property and has been listed since September.
  • Wong’s property at 9400 35th Ave NE. This property was under the design review phase for 14 townhomes. But, it appears that the owner has put the property back on the market.
  • Wedgwood Apartments and Veraci Pizza at 7320 35th Ave NE. This multi-family property with detached commercial space was recently listed (February 2020) and has been off- and on- the market in recent years. Note that this property is located within Ravenna-Bryant Community Association’s boundary, with whom we work together on land use issues along 35th Ave NE south of NE 75th Street.

In addition to these properties, we proactively reach out to property owners to establish productive and collaborative relationships prior to changes where possible and advocate on behalf of the Future 35th Ave NE Plan.

Interested in getting involved and helping to play a role in advocating for a more vibrant and walkable business district along 35th Ave NE that supports both our local businesses and the residential community that surrounds it? If so, then reach out! Email us at admin@wedgwoodcc.org to learn more.

7 Replies to “Changes to 35th Ave NE We’re Monitoring”

  1. 35th Ave NE is neither vibrant nor walkable. I realize a lot of effort was put into the Future 35th Ave NE plan but at this point what exactly are you advocating for? It might be good to articulate that rather than pointing to an outdated report that sidestepped dealing with a holistic plan for 35th Ave NE, because it didn’t want to deal with the bike lanes that subsequently divided the neighborhood.

    1. Hi William,
      I think we can agree that “Vibrant” and “walkable” are two subjective terms and could be interpreted differently by others. But, the Future 35th Ave NE plan envisioned a much more walkable and vibrant business district spurred on by development (which is unavaoidable) and the much-needed density boost that our businesses and those new businesses that are desired need in order to thrive. The kind of development that will come, whether we want it to or not. Further, the plan was completed in 2015, which is hardly outdated compared to other neighborhood plans throughout the city and is by many measures much more progressive and forward-thinking than other plans in so far as it was the first (only?) community-led plan initiated by a neighborhood which actually seeks upzoning.
      Second, from the tone of your comment, it appears you are unhappy with the outcome of the bike lanes issue. There is a lot we could say on this, but we are too. As you said, it turned into an issue of division. With the hopes of trying not to further divide, we’ll just say that we hoped it could have been handled in a less divisive way.
      But, the Future 35th Ave NE Plan was led by a different group (35th Ave Committee), but the WCC did unanimously endorse it. But, to be fair to the 35th Ave Committee, the grant for the Future 35th Ave NE Plan was for $25K. The legal fees alone for the bike lanes issue were probably 10X that (if not more). The grant for the Future 35th Ave NE was maximized by staying focused on those things that were controllable. So, I appreciate how it could be perceived as being sidestepped, but that plan wasn’t led by us and I think “side-stepping” isn’t quite fair.
      Thanks for being engaged though either way! You’ve been a great contributor in the past to our collective discussion and we hope you continue to be as well. We’re a richer community for having passionate people like you in it.

      1. Hi Per
        Thanks for responding even it is a bit patronizing. Perhaps I mix with the wrong people, but I am not aware of anybody who enjoys walking along the west side of 35th Ave NE within a few feet of vehicles, many of which are traveling at 30-35 mph, well in excess of the unenforced speed limit. I supported the bike lanes but my first preference for slowing down traffic, would have been wider sidewalks. Both the intersections with 75th and 85th, particularly the latter where there is more road width to play with, could be turned into extremely attractive and pedestrian friendly business areas with a much higher density of restaurants and high foot traffic retail businesses than they currently. They are not going that direction. The grocery store underpinning the 85th intersection is closing down and the one at 75th is the 2nd worst Safeway in NE Seattle (after the U District) – who would believe it was in a wealthy neighborhood? Density and development is important but so far what we are getting are units that have no or only token business space. I have read the Future 35th Ave NE Plan twice and I would really appreciate an explanation of how it is influencing the inevitable growth in a positive way.

        1. Hi William. I’m happy to respond to your comment and apologies if it came off patronizing. I do think we’re much better off having people as passionate about walking/biking and creating great places as you are. Sincerely. I(we) could not agree with you more than 35th Ave NE is not as walkable as it could be. I don’t enjoy walking along 35th much of the time between 85th and 75th where speeds do seem to pick up. And yes, 75th and 85th could be great pedestrian places for walking, dining, and informal community gathering. But HOW the Future 35th Ave NE plan is influencing the inevitable growth is difficult to describe succinctly. I’ll do my best, but I promise I’m not trying to be patronizing. I acknowledge it also may not be satisfying to you.

          35th Ave NE is not an “urban village,” which is a designation given to some business districts/neighborhoods within the city’s comprehensive plan that meet specific criteria for density, for better or worse depending on your perspective. What does come along with an urban village though is some planning assistance from the city to develop a neighborhood plan which is then codified by reference and planners, designers, and developers then must demonstrate how they adhere to that neighborhood plan through design review. The reason the Future 35th Ave Plan took the shape it did is because the committee moving it forward was trying to achieve a similar level of neighborhood planning that urban villages receive and provide us (Wedgwood Community Council and Ravenna Bryant Community Association) a tool to work collaboratively with those proposing change in a less adversarial way than perhaps our community has approached change in the past. There is nothing that requires compliance with the Future 35th Ave NE plan. However, following the extensive engagement that went into the Future 35th Ave NE plan, our approach is that the Future 35th Ave NE plan represents the closest we have to a shared vision and consensus for the business district and so we will support projects which adhere to the Future 35th Ave NE plan. For any project that proposes change, we may have additional requests on a project-by-project basis, but the minimum requirement for us to be supportive of a project is to adhere to the Future 35th Ave NE plan. As you’ve seen in the plan, it really shouldn’t be difficult to adhere to it in our opinion. Unfortunately, the reputation that our community has garnered as being opposed to any change is not conducive to the types of change you describe above. Again, some would see that reputation as a feather in our cap while others would see it as a roadblock to having constructive dialogue which shapes future change in a positive way. For the sake of achieving what the community has asked for via the Future 35th Ave NE Plan, we try to be proactive in communicating with property owners and city designers so they are aware of the plan.

        2. I like the Safeway on 35th. The building is showing it’s age but the shelves are well stocked, the produce is good and the staff are always super helpful.

  2. Plans should be reviewed again carefully as a result of Covid. Walkability – has drastically changed with people working/schooling from home & an outdoor romp being one of few unrestricted activities. Walkability includes along 35th but also in surrounding neighborhoods as they feel the impact of unmitigated consequences of car traffic. The resulting Covid pedestrian flow has bloomed on side streets, many without sidewalks, so increased cut through traffic increases risk. Speed limits also are not consistently enforced.

    Construction projects, especially happening at the same time, impact pedestrians, traffic and parking. How will those projects be communicated and coordinated? And, yes, some construction is inevitable, but requires a community voice to ensure Wedgwood retains the spirit of what makes it unique. Ballard & Queen Anne are shells of their former selves.

    In other words, the old business/living models may not fit current (future?) reality as we’ve found different ways to live. Communication is key & WCC meetings & updates like this are much appreciated!

  3. Just a thank you to people who wrote about current issue/s. It helps keep people up to date.
    And I for one really appreciate this.

    One suggestion is to put in many more places for pedestrians to sit while walking our lovely Wedgewood area. Some rest areas to have covered benches or chairs. Probably not enough funding for this but one can always hope.

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