Photo courtesy of Vulcan Real Estate
The shoe has dropped: Seattle restaurant entrepreneur Tom Douglas has finally confirmed what everyone suspected for months: his next restaurant(s) will be in South Lake Union. Crosscut anticipated the news in a report on the neighborhood back in January.
Douglas is going to open at least one restaurant in the historic Terry Avenue Building, a former truck factory from the early 1900s between Thomas and Harrison, surrounded by the rising concrete bookends that Vulcan Real Estate is building for Amazon.com's headquarters campus, around the corner from the new Flying Fish location.
"It's an exciting area full of new opportunities for us that we couldn't pass up," Douglas says. No names announced yet for the restaurants to be housed in the two-story building, which will be completely renovated inside but maintain its landmark brick exterior and connect to an outdoor plaza and streetscape.
The new Amazon.com campus includes 11 buildings (totalling 1.7 million square feet) on 6 blocks in the heart of South Lake Union. The first space will open next month with full occupancy by 2013.
"South Lake Union has become a true extension of downtown with lively shops and restaurants, a diversity of housing, vibrant parks, and world-class employers who call the area home," says Vulcan's Robert Arron, adding that the Tom Douglas restaurant presence "will further activate the exciting retail landscape ... attracting even more new amenities and visitors to the area."
The city's Terry Avenue street design guidelines draw on the rich historic character of Terry Avenue to create a new type of street where pedestrians have priority on 31-foot sidewalks enhanced with benches, trees, and bike racks. Vulcan sees similarities to Portland's Pearl District and Vancouver's Yaletown, and hopes that the pedestrian-friendly elements being incorporated along Terry Avenue will create "a lively retail corridor that accommodates pedestrians, bicyclists, cars ... and the streetcar line."
As for the restaurants, whatever they turn out to be, Vulcan is delighted. "We're positively thrilled to welcome Tom Douglas to South Lake Union," said Ada Healey, a vice president. "His new restaurants will contribute greatly to the neighborhood’s growing retail district."
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