Curt Pryde, principle of Pryde-Johnson, the developers of Hjarta condominiums directly west of the Ballard Commons, said Rhapsody should work with the community to create a "vibrant pedestrian space."
"We don't think that's being sensitve to the community at all," Pryde said. "It's just not good urban planning and it's not good design."
Pryde also said the developers should take extra care, given the significance of the location as a "gateway to Ballard."The controversy over traffic is ironic, since such urban densification efforts are supposed to make the neighbs more walkable, not less. And presumably, a less car-centric design would be one of the mitigating benefits – if there are any – of tearing down a historic structure from the auto era. One reader comment to my original story that typified this point of view: "The preservation I support is the preservation of dense, walkable neighborhoods and nice buildings, not the preservation of parking-side sprawl or archit[ect]ural genres." That, of course, presumes that the new development replacing the old is a paragon of pedestrianism. The building's historic status is also going to be under review. In response to my story, the modern architecture preservation group DoCoMoMo WEWA issued a statement from the group's secretary, Eugenia Woo:
Docomomo WEWA Board members have read Knute Berger's recent Crosscut article with keen interest. He's raised some important points about historic preservation of the recent past, and we're pleased that others are interested in this issue. We understand that the Ballard Mannings/Denny's building was part of the former Monorail project properties, and was recently sold to a private developer. Currently, there is no demo permit issued for the building. If one is applied for, it will likely be part of a new project proposal that would require SEPA review/MUP permit that might require a landmark nomination to determine if it meets the City's landmark designation criteria. The City can better clarify the requirements for review on the SEPA issue.
As an interested party, Docomomo WEWA will review and comment officially on the building's significance at that time. Having seen the building in its current state we know that some changes have been made to it. Its design is similar to another restaurant building at the Seattle World's Fair. We are intrigued that the building is reported to be the work of well-known California Modernist, architect Charles [sic] Mayhew. Clearly there is more research to be done.Woo is reportedly leaving no Moons Over My Hammy unturned in her research. She recently ate (!) at the Ballard Denny's while gathering information on the building. No greater sacrifice can be made in the quest to preserve our modern architectural legacy.
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