Isn’t It Time to Landmark the Coliseum?

Supporters at the Seattle Center Coliseum
Supporters celebrating a “HeartBomb” at Seattle Center’s Coliseum last Valentine’s Day
(courtesy of the author)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Four years ago Michael Herschensohn was published on Crosscut.com asking the same question I am asking today.

A landmark designation for the Coliseum, or KeyArena as newcomers might call it, is a certainty. But as a relative Seattle newcomer myself, I beg the question, why wasn’t it landmarked before? My guess is the recession, plus a dash of politics, had something to do with it.

Let’s hypothesize for a minute, that the Coliseum is landmarked this year – now what? Seattle Center is motivated to keep the Coliseum as an entertainment venue and ideally attract a professional basketball team and unrealistically attract a professional hockey team. Seattle Center is inclined to keep their revenue stream alive and well for themselves. I understand Seattle Center’s intentions, but I view them as solely self-serving.

Are Seattle Center’s self-serving intentions justified? As a subset of the City of Seattle shouldn’t they do what is best for the city as a whole? For those that are hell-bent on attracting professional sports teams and building an arena, one that is supposedly paid for with private funds, SODO is an obvious option. Although at a recent QAHS board meeting my fellow QAHS board member Leanne Olson also reminded Seattle Center that no action is also an option. Leanne’s “no action is an option” also holds true for the City of Seattle.

Continuing to hypothesize, if an arena is built in SODO, then what should the Coliseum become? Seattle Center has responded by stating that they would investigate other entertainment attractions to stave off loss of revenue.

For a second, I propose we ignore the driver of revenue and ask what does the city need? Does it need more classroom space? Does it need more affordable housing? Does it need temporary housing for the homeless?… Does it need another entertainment venue?

It turns out the greater Seattle community is currently discussing all of these questions, except that last question. Only private investors, who have everything to gain and nothing to lose, are asking for a new arena.

After asking myself these questions, I have come up with a proposal: landmark the Coliseum, consider an arena in SODO if you must, and discuss with the Queen Anne community (not just Uptown) what the future of the Coliseum should be.

More Infomation: 3rd Annual HeartBomb–at the Coliseum

The K Block at Seattle Center

Queen Anne folks have surely forgotten the history of the K block which after nearly 35 years of temporary uses is being transformed into a permanent beacon of Uptown’s future. Most people know the block as the home of Teatro Zinzanni which has rented the eastern edge along 3rd Ave. N. for nearly 15 years and which will be closing its doors in the early spring of 2017.  The 43,000 square foot block now consists of five different parcels all of which were originally given to the city in 1982-1983 by Charles Osborn, the trustee of the Kreielsheimer Foundation which lent the block the ‘K’ in its familiar name. After several trades in ownership, the three northern parcels were finally given to the Seattle Opera in 2000. Now, sometime this year developer Maria Barrientos will begin the construction of a transformative high-rise apartment building on the Roy Street or northern part of the block.

Ah! You won't see the Space Needle from here any more whatever the tower's height.
Ah! You won’t see the Space Needle from here any more whatever the tower’s height.

 

It hasn’t been decided yet if the tower will loom 85 or160 feet over Roy Street, but either way this is the …Continue reading “The K Block at Seattle Center”

Almost Nothing Left at First & Denny!

Looking east up the hill at Denny Way and First Avenue. Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives.
Denny Way & 1st Ave Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives

This odd-shaped intersection separating Queen Anne’s Uptown from Belltown is uniquely historic. It doesn’t add much to local history that the line demarcating Queen Anne as studied by the Queen Anne Historical Society runs along the middle of Denny Way. As you might suspect though, our line of demarcation is not a random choice. In fact, it separates William Bell’s 1853 land claim from David Denny’s and provides a neat reminder of the day in February 1853 when David’s older brother Arthur and his brother-in-law Carson Boren jockeyed with Doc Maynard for the site of Seattle’s downtown and argued about how to lay out the city. …Continue reading “Almost Nothing Left at First & Denny!”