Saturday, August 9, 2008


While walking past 1700 Olive on Friday, I noticed this Energy Star sign in the window. I don't have any familiarity with this ranking system but I was happy to see the sign.

This building is home Clise Properties, who, by the way, owns quite a few properties in the Denny Triangle area, some of which is for sale according to this map. In fact, the purpose of my walk was to try and photograph this area where Westlake bisects the bland grid of downtown. This area, which begins at the back corner of Westlake Center, where Fifth crosses Olive, has been my favorite part of Seattle (visually) since I moved here three years ago.

This sort of layout is exactly what Jane Jacobs is talking about when she says, "a good many city streets (not all) need visual interruptions, cutting off the indefinite distant view and at the same time visually heightening and celebrating intense street use by giving it a hint of enclosure and entity." This photo of the Medical and Dental Building doesn't do the area justice, but it shows how nonorthogonal streets, coupled with visual interruptions can make for a more interesting district.

Moving North and returning to Clise, we come to 7th/Westlake/Virginia. Not too long ago there was a rendering of a future building atop the white billboard in the upper left corner -- if you look closely you can see the poles that supported the sign -- but perhaps they are not continuing with the project. According to the aforementioned map, this property is for sale.

Another property that is not, at least to my knowledge, for sale is the eyesore of a McDonalds at 6th/Westlake/Virginia.

I love the small triangular lot on which this abomination sits and think it would be a fantastic location for a building shaped like the long lost Hotel Seattle or Pb Elemental's Trophy Building.

(rendering taken from Pb Elemental's website --

I can't help but see the potential of this area and hope that future developments are small and diverse, rather than huge monoliths like Insignia Towers, under construction a few blocks away (on a former Clise property).

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