Strange as it may sound, Seattle Commons is rising again. When that huge park proposed for South Lake Union failed to gather sufficient voter support in two elections, the project was declared dead. But an early mover behind the proposal, the Trust for Public Land, re-emerged last week with a plan for a waterfront sculpture park, to be run by Seattle Art Museum; they say this park would provide much-needed open space in the overbuilt Denny Regrade. However, populist firebrands--who labeled the Commons as corporate welfare for developers planning plush park-front condos--should resist the impulse to light their torches. This plan, which would buy six acres of cleaned-up industrial land from Unocal, as well as an underwater parcel to preserve views to Puget Sound, calls for no public funds to be used for land acquisition or construction--though the city and county will likely provide some funding once the park is operational. The Trust and SAM have amassed $5 million for land acquisition, and another $5 million (from sculpture collectors Jon and Mary Shirley) for an operating funds endowment. They must raise an additional $12 million dollars from private and corporate sources by this summer. A surprise winner in this announcement is the Center on Contemporary Art, whose out-of-the-way Cedar Street location is suddenly just two blocks from a proposed sculpture park, making it a perfect stopping-off point for visitors.
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Annex Theatre received more sobering news two weeks ago, when notice of an environmental impact statement was posted in a vacant storefront below their space at 1916 Fourth Avenue. Developer Richard Hadley plans a 27-story hotel at Annex's current site; the two buildings to be sacrificed also contain a 7-11, a Harley Davidson shop, and a camera store. Left standing, according to the site plan posted with the notice, will be the Dahlia Lounge and everything south of it. But while the notice itself was a surprise, the general idea was no shock to Annex. According to Communications Director Ed Hawkins, Annex saw "gentrification" written all over their building when upscale stores like Icon Grill and Bed, Bath & Beyond became their neighbors, and the theater began thinking about relocation a good eight months ago. The Fourth Annex Relocation Team (or FART) is named not for three previous relocations--Annex sits in the same spot where they opened over 10 years ago--but for three previous scares. The group is weighing Annex's options, but without a great deal of fuss: the theater's year-to-year lease is good at least through next spring, and their building's quite a ways off from demolition.
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Finally, here's a brilliant hint about the Victoria's Secret catalog you got in the mail last week (which is now either in your recycling bin or underneath your mattress, depending on sexual preference, age, and taste): If you read it from back to front, it's like the models are undressing for you.