Déjà Vu in Ballard

Weimann and Maclise Do It Again

Comments

1
dunno about the food but these ginormous restaurants are nuking Ballard AVe. This particular new building, the Ballard Hotel,is hideous, looks like it belongs in Vegas next to the fake Eiffel tower. Quite a glaring omission in this review.

If this rant doesn't make sense, go down the street to the Kolstrand Bldg and see how proper urban infill should handle itself
2
Probably omitted because it isn't all that bad. I'm not sure what you specifically object to, but the building is in a similar style to the surrounding buildings. I am not sure what makes it remotely vegas-y?
3
"concepting" is not a word.
4
No way is the Ballard Hotel similar in style to the surrounding buildings! I walk past it every Sunday to and from the Farmers Market and it sticks out like a sore thumb - the color of the facade and the metal-work particularly look out-of-character for the street.

Maybe it's because I walk past it on such a regular basis and couldn't help but notice it being built, but I'd bet a new-comer walking through the neighborhood for the first time would instantly identify it as new rather than mistake it for refurbished.
5
You're kidding, @2, right?

You don't see any problems with a behemoth of yellow stucco punctuated by air conditioning vents and balconies that wandered in from a Southern Plantation mail-order catalog? You have no qualms about archways of chalky, chunky sandstone on loan from the Magic Kingdom collection?

The entire Hotel Ballard facade (and the hotel interior, I'm told), screams of money without context or taste.

The design that was approved by the Ballard Avenue Landmark District was already mediocre and of questionable appropriateness. Everything about the final installation (which strayed far from the approved version) is worse.

In a city with only three moderately intact historic districts (Ballard Ave, Pioneer Square, Georgetown), a crime like the Hotel Ballard should be met with 7-digit fines. In fact, a similar debacle in Boston was squashed when the mayor personally revoked a Disneyfied hotel's permits; the hotel wound up spending $2 million to completely replace the facade.

And yet Hotel Ballard operates unimpeded, and idiot Seattleites see no problem with that.
6
Who spends $25 for a piece of tuna?
I am sure that the price is a fair market value etc etc. and well prepared etc etc

But does The Stranger audience actually spend that kind of money? For eating out? (Or maybe it's "dining" out?)

I thought this newspaper (Seattle's Only Newspaper, I think) trended younger and poorer. Is there really a mass market of Stranger readers who go out for dinner with that kind of price? If so, then "Great! Congratulations!" and they certainly no need for housing rental subsidies or even any worries about affordable housing at all.
7
Hotel Ballard is HIDEOUS! I hadn't been to Ballard in a number of months until 2 weeks ago, and I couldn't believe that ugly suburban McMansion-style hotel was the final product.

Also, as pretty as this restaurant group's restaurants are, their food is frequently bland (Poquito's) or terrible (Von Trapp's & McLeod's). To be fair, I've had a good couple of dinners at Bastille's, so they will probably sucker me in to going here too..
8
McLeod's has food? I thought all they served was Hot Pockets.
9
You can tell Hotel Ballard lacks any self-consciousness by the street sign proclaiming its rooms to be "opulent." Sorry but I expect my rooms to be plutocratic. That building, including the adjoining restaurant, belongs in Kirkland.
10
The only thing worse than food critics who don't know shit about food is architecture critics who don't know shit about architecture.
11
Ugh is this the building opposite of kings hardware? I HATE THAT BUILDING.
12
@ 4,5,7,9,11, solid!

@5, agree. How this Carnival cruiseliner passed Landmarks review is a travesty. I personally don't object to historicism, but urban scale and authenticity are what Ballard has to offer and the new structure does not relate to these qualities in any way. This is the real story the Stranger should have been covering. BJC up your game please, Min Lao would have been all over it.

@2, whatever.

(Stranger, please get some of those indent thingys so we can comment on each other's post)
13
@12: Rumor has it that one of the owners got himself elected to the Ballard Avenue Landmark District, after the initial approval but before the design changes and substitution of crappier materials could come to public awareness. If true, this should be a scandal, but since we live in ahistorical Seattle, such cancers are left to fester with impunity. It is impossible to find out anything about the Landmark District Board, which seems to operate in secret and without any written standards.

You brought up the Kolstrand Building as an example of what should be emulated in our best urban districts. I agree, though it's worth noting that the Kolstrand was a retrofit, rather than infill.

For a good example of infill, you need only walk 250 feet from Hotel Ballard to The Noble Fir, the kitchenware store, and Moshi Moshi -- all attached to and a part of the megablock assisted-living home that fronts on Leary. Partly new construction (Moshi) and partly a rehab with added stories (the other two), the complex comports with the neighborhood through reasonable massing and unassuming materials. It doesn't try to fake "oldness" -- an impulse which almost always fails -- but simply employs humility to show respect for its surroundings. Barely five years old, it's easy to forget it hasn't been on Ballard Ave forever.

Hotel Ballard seems to be trying hard to be a swollen thumb.
14
But I'd bet a new-comer walking through the neighborhood for the first time would instantly identify it as new rather than mistake it for refurbished.


I think this is the source of some of the complaints, but I don't think it is necessarily a good criticism. Not everything has to look old to fit in or be similar. As @13 says:

It doesn't try to fake "oldness" -- an impulse which almost always fails -- but simply employs humility to show respect for its surroundings. Barely five years old, it's easy to forget it hasn't been on Ballard Ave forever.


I might have to take another look when I walk by next time, but I think the impulse is to hate new things and new things always seem to stick out like a sore(?) thumb.
15
I would feel a lot differently if they had torn down some great old building. But it turns out there was a reason I couldn't remember what was there so recently...
16
"progress".
17
The fact that this restaurant is not related to Frank Herbert's Dune is atrocious. No chicken coated in melange? No water of life? No thank you.
18
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20
Horrid horrid horrid hotel. Seriously #2? Are you visually impaired? It looks it was transplanted from suburban Phoenix. Does anyone know by what means, if any, citizens can contest such architectural atrocities? Could we get a petition going and force them to reconfigure the facade? Seriously, Ballard is a total shit show of ugly architecture now.
21
Ballard is in a "restaurant bubble". The build out will not last. When it crashes, it will crash. Too many fancy pants developers and concept gurus who do not fathom the extent in which the hood can support so many fake places, fortunes are spent on to build/retrofit when all we really want to do is go to Hatties or the diner at the Smoke Room. Yeah, the hotel. WTF? It has no respect for the area and why they even chose to build there is the exact thing that attracted them to even build it.

Mark my and everyone's words though, Ballard cannot last in the form it is now. Greed has destroyed what made it unique and thus desirable.
22
@20. My vision is fine. I don't like the building or anything, I just don't get the outrage. I don't think it is THAT bad. And I really didn't get the vegas comments that keep being repeated. Suburban Phoenix sounds more accurate. I also think it will get better with a little weathering, the stonework is oddly shiny and bright right now. And, yeah, there is a process, but it happens before the building is built. In this great country of ours property rights reign supreme, so the odds of forcing someone to make a change to their finished property is about 0%.
24
When I read Deja Vu, I think of the strip club. I thought there was a new one in Ballard.
25
Actually, Brent, the whole purpose of a preservation district is to place restrictions on property rights in situations just like this one -- situations where laissez-faire can do irreparable damage to historical context and to the fabric of the city.

So your whole premise is grossly inaccurate.
26
WOW! I thought this was a restaurant review?
27
I loathe the Hotel Ballard. It's totally out of touch with the essence of the neighborhood. And it seems to attract the worst people: the frat douches, the spray tanned, and the fake-boobed. It really is a shame.