Monday, March 8, 2010

Construction Mania!

Well actually, compared with the nineties, there's almost nothing maniacal going on in Belltown construction-wise. Back then, they built all kinds of stuff around the neighborhood, from boxy and ugly to tall and ugly. The two projects being built right now are a bit on the boxy side, but it's still too early to pronounce them aesthetically offensive. Both have a goal of helping people; the Recovery Cafe houses and trains the formerly homeless and the A.L. Humphrey House will house the homeless and mentally ill. While the A.L. Humphrey's purpose may seem a little dubious, I'll tell you that having the medicated and cared-for mentally ill in the neighborhood is much more preferable to the alternative of arresting them on sight. The two projects began this summer and continue, but I've been pretty fascinated by how fast they've gone up. Sure, if you're out working on them, it may seem to take forever, but for me, every time I walk by them, something is new. That's another reason why I like living in Belltown - constant change. Some of that change is bad, some is good, but it's always happening.

Let's have a look at how things are progressing. First, the Recovery Cafe at 2nd & Bell:

The top photo was taken mid-February and the bottom one was taken yesterday. Yeah, they've sure done a lot in just a few weeks. Likewise, let's have a peek at the A.L. Humphrey at 1st & Cedar:

The time span between these shots is the same. Maybe there has been seemingly less progress, but they're working hard to fill in all the interior stuff.

Me, I welcome both these new buildings into the neighborhood, but I know that not everyone does. I'm interested in getting your opinions of these new kids. Will these places be pleasing - or at least not offensive - to the eye? Will their operations disturb their neighbors? What do you think about these projects in general?

Thanks to Brad from the Grandview for his shot of the A.L. Humphrey at the very top. Sometimes it's nice to have a view!


Kevin said...

Just another example of how hideous our neighborhood is ;-)

Anonymous said...

more housing for unproductive citizens in downtown seattle...who's paying for all this housing...oh yeah, we are.

Kate said...

I live on the 3rd floor of the condo directly across the alley from the A.L. Humphrey building. You may think that this building has gone up with lightening speed, but to us it is taking forever. I support the mission of Plymouth and the A.L. Humphrey. This building will provide stable homes and services for our currently homeless neighbors. But that comes at the cost of destroying the value of my and some of my neighbors' condos. Would you like a wall of windows -- 8 across, on that tiny lot -- staring in at you? No, I didn't think so. Many in our building tried desperately, but ultimately in vain, to get design changes that would mitigate its impact on our building. We continue to wonder why Seattle zoning allows construction that has such a deleterious impact on existing housing.

Anonymous said...

Recovery Cafe moved to the one story place up at Westlake/Boren and Denny. The place at 2nd ad Bell is Noel House / Rose of Lima.

Dorothy Day said...

Echoing and expanding on last post: The Recovery Cafe is an independent organization that rented space in the old building at 2nd & Bell, but is now permanently located elsewhere. The property is owned by Catholic Housing Services (formerly Archdiocesan Housing Authority), which also owns the neighboring property at 1st & Bell, the Dorothy Day House. The new building will be called Bakita Gardens and will once again (sometime this fall) house women at Noel House (overnight shelter) and Rose of Lima (transitional housing). The triumvirate is completed by Dorothy Day, which is permanent housing for formerly homeless women. We invite our Belltown neighbors to come visit and learn more about these programs.