Region Of Boom | KUOW News and Information

Region Of Boom

Region of Boom is a new series on KUOW.

Each of the stories below will begin with a place on a map, a place being reshaped by the booming forces affecting our region.

By examining those places and talking to the people we meet there, we’ll discover together what we’re giving up for growth – and what we’re getting in return.

Take a look at where development is happening now and make sure to tell us what is going on in your own neighborhood.

Follow the ongoing discussion at #regionofboom

This project is edited by Carol Smith. 

At the South Lake Union Discovery Center, a Vulcan guide apologized that the model was so out of date. It hadn't been updated in a couple years.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle took in over 50,000 new people in the last five years. Suzanne Offen is one of them.

Before moving here, she had family and a comfortable job in Brooklyn, New York.


The lobby at Exeter House, which was built as a luxury, live-in hotel in the 1920s.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Exeter House in downtown Seattle was built as an apartment hotel for elegant living in the 1920s. It was part of a construction boom downtown at the time.

Realtor Kelley Meister says about 90 percent of the homes being built today are big boxes.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When four townhomes went up at the end of an old street in Ballard, the neighbors called the new residents “townies.” It wasn’t meant as an insult. But it wasn’t something you’d say to their faces, either.

Jan Young on the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail. Young argues that it's cheaper and more effective to put transit on I-405, leaving this trail for non-motorized use in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

All over the region, undeveloped open spaces face enormous pressure. In Kirkland, the pressure for more mass transit is butting up against green space that filled a spiritual need some Kirkland residents didn’t even know they had.

In this Feb. 10, 2015, photo, Seattle's Space Needle and several construction cranes are shown from the operating cab of a 238-foot high construction crane working on a new building in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

We have been collecting audience responses about changes they are seeing in the Seattle region as part of our Region of Boom project.  

You sent us hundreds of responses detailing the frustrations of a booming city and how the physical shifts in and around Seattle are affecting your life in the region.

Tiny rooms where seminarians once lived at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington. The state bought the land in 1977 but loses money every year on the old building. A developer wants to revamp it into a hotel and spa.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Saint Edward State Park is a swath of forest north of Seattle almost four times the size of Disneyland.

It was once a seminary, and now the state wants to give a building and some acreage to a developer to morph into a privately owned hotel and spa. 

Lois Harris opened the Vogue Coiffure Beauty Salon on 23rd Avenue in 1966. Road construction there has put her in the worst financial situation she's seen yet.
KUOW Photo / Joshua McNichols

Central District business owners will get a chance to tell city officials about the problems on 23rd Avenue on Tuesday. They say a big road project there has scared away their customers. They want a financial bailout, but the city says no.

Paramjit Kaur, owner of Fashion India Botique, is one of many entrepreneurs courted by Sam Virk to set up shop in his International Plaza development in Kent. Click on this image for more photos.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

At a new strip mall in downtown Kent, a truck backs up to a butcher shop. The driver opens the back and pulls out a goat carcass. This butcher shop doesn’t sell beef or pork, out of deference to its Hindu and Muslim customers.

Miranda Redinger, Shoreline city planner, at the Shoreline Center, a former high school that she says is likely to be redeveloped once the transit station gets running.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is a classic suburb facing a very urban challenge.

It is gaining a light rail station at 185th Street and I-5. And that new station is kicking off a vast redevelopment that will change the shape of the city. In all, 1,400 homes have been rezoned for a densified redevelopment that will change this part of the city into something that looks as though it were born in Seattle.

Seattle's new cultural district designation made way for this large mural on a building in the Pike/Pine corridor.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

Is the live music scene under siege in Seattle? Writer Charles Cross thinks so.

Cross told KUOW’s Bill Radke that in the city that nurtured Nirvana, today’s bands are having trouble finding places to rehearse and play.

High Voltage Music co-owner Chris Lomba in his backyard shop in north Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When Chris Lomba and his partners decided to open a music repair shop, they chose a storefront near the corner of Pike and Broadway on the edge of Seattle's Pike/Pine corridor.

"I've always liked the neighborhood," says Lomba. "Throw a rock and you're gonna hit a musician!"

Mike DiCecco carrying a Christmas tree
Courtesy of MJD Distributors Garden Center

Have you ever heard of the Chubby and Tubby variety stores? Back in the day they were a Seattle institution. They were known for cheap Converse shoes, cheap fishing supplies, cheap everything. 

It's been about 12 years since the Chubby and Tubby stores shut down, but it turns out their cheap Christmas tree tradition lives on.

Woody Auge and Irv Friese, the original Chubby and Tubby.
Rainier Valley Historical Society

Chubby and Tubby started selling goods out of a metal hut in 1946 in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

Low overhead costs helped the business owners get started. Later, they built a store on an old landfill on Rainier Avenue South.

Metal fabricator Denny Jensen with a metal lathe, one of the many old machines he restored and uses at the old Fenpro building in Ballard.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks to Dave Gering, executive director of the Manufacturing Industrial Council, about the state of the small manufacturing industry in Seattle.

Read the companion piece to this story: A Ballard Warehouse Dies So That Nordic Culture May Thrive

Taylor Atchison (L) and Antonio Knoy (R) work in their shop, Knoy Metalworks, in the old Fenpro building in Ballard. They're one of many workshop owners who will be displaced when the building is torn down.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

An old metal lathe thunders in the massive warehouse on Ballard’s main street. It sounds like freedom to Denny Jensen, one of those toiling in the maze of workshops there.

“We’re so independent; we really like to be our own boss,” said Jensen, a metal fabricator. “That’s what this place gave me for 11 years.”

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