By Brandon Macz

The Seattle Asian Art Museum [closed] for a two-year renovation and expansion project on Monday, Feb. 27, however, the contentious expansion of the museum’s footprint remains under review by Seattle Parks and Recreation.

It will take at least six months to move museum operations and the art collection, according to the Seattle Art Museum, as well as preparing the site before construction begins. SAM reports “Serious seismic and climate control issues put both the art and patrons at risk, necessitating the closure.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Jesús Aguirre put a “project pause” on the renovation in January, requesting SAM provide more information about the expansion, so SPR can “better understand some of the project’s drivers and more carefully consider (Volunteer Park) impacts.”

SAM issued a response to questions posed by Aguirre on Jan. 23. Rachel Schulkin with SPR reports the department is still considering the response, and expect to address the expansion with SAM shortly.

While the total expansion is more than 12,500 square feet, much of that square footage will be spread across three stories of a new addition to the southeast side of the museum, increasing the building’s footprint by 3,600 square feet.

That addition will include offices, a new meeting space and a 1,220-square-foot education and art-making space. SAM provided 251 programs at the museum in 2015, serving 17,000 people.

Constructed in 1933, the Seattle Asian Art Museum still uses the original furnace. While heat is provided to the building, the museum does not have air conditioning or a climate control system, which limits the amount of collections being made available for display.

A major part of the renovation will be a seismic retrofit, replacing a number of walls that were constructed with hollow clay tile.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is expected to reopen in 2019.

Syndicated from Madison Park Times

City People’s Garden Store has re-opened this month, and is offering FREE special workshops to help you get your spring 2017 garden growing! From getting your seedlings going, to waking up your hibernating garden with some springtime sprucing, the Madison Valley City People’s Garden Store is the place to go for tips to jumpstart your spring garden.

Class: Seed Starting
Date: Saturday, February 25th
Time: 11 am – noon
Description: You can now set the seed catalogs down, take a break from dreaming of spring flowers, and get started growing your own. Late winter is the perfect time to start sowing seeds. Learn which vegetable and flowers may be started now indoors and which can wait a couple weeks for outdoor sowing. Agnes P. Cwalina, owner of Hori Hori Flowers, will cover seed starting tools and methods, including using your windowsills, heat mats, and soil blocking.

Class: Jump Start Your Garden!
Date: Sunday, February 26th
Time: 11 am – noon
Description: Richard Greenberg will help you Wake Up your Garden and get spring going! In this workshop, learn to get a head start on gardening with a little weeding here, a little pruning there, some soil preparation and more.

Workshops are held in the garden store’s indoor nursery.

City People’s Garden Store
2939 E. Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112

Featured photo source:

After a third design review, the plan for a mixed-use development in the current City People’s Garden Store location in Madison Valley, which will include a PCC grocery store, has progressed to the final ‘recommendation’ stage. Capitol Hill Seattle reported that the board plans to “set high expectations for many unanswered questions about the project [which must] be answered before the project can move forward to construction.”

There has been a lot of input from community members, and groups such as Save Madison Valley have helped get the project this far along with Velmeir (the developer on the project) and architectural firm Meng Strazzara. The community feedback has helped bring information to the table to inform decisions along the way, and now additional information gathering will proceed – such as an independent traffic study to determine whether the parking garage entrance should be on E Madison, Dewey, or both streets.

However, opposition to the project continues, particularly from the Save Madison Valley group and Peter Steinbrueck, a former city council member and mayoral candidate. The concern is with the townhomes planned for the backside of the project, which are small and more work is needed to refine the design.

According to a passage from Steinbrueck’s prepared statement, “Bottom line – more housing and less garage is a big improvement. But the lack of depth and superficiality of the townhouse facades … read as flat vertical plane towering more than 75 feet above the Dewey Place. The overall effect is that height, bulk, and scale are not sufficiently mitigated to provide a reasonable transition to the block.”

Size has also been an issue with the project as a whole, drawing a lot of repeated complaints from community members, who say the project is too big for the location and neighborhood, and will eliminate the existing ‘green canopy’ behind City People’s. However, the board disagrees. “I think they have done a very good job at responding,” one board member said, adding that the project design has moved “from a large building to a much smaller building scale.”

Now that the project has passed design review to the recommendation phase, the developer can begin obtaining permits. There will likely be another review in summer 2017.

Featured photo source:

Early in the morning on Thursday, January 12th, a bout of gunfire damaged a Madison Valley home. SPD responded to the home near 28th Avenue East and East Mercer Street just before 1 a.m. after reports of shots fired. A caller reported finding bullet holes in the walls of his home, including a bullet lodged in the frame of his bed. No injuries were reported in the incident, however a car parked near the home was also damaged. The resident of the home told police he was unsure as to why his house had been targeted.

Police searched the area for a car that had been seen speeding away from the scene after the shooting, but they were unable to apprehend any suspects and no arrests were made.