Older, Smaller, Better Neighborhoods

Pioneer Passage Rendering

The Preservation Green Lab figured out why we love Pioneer Square: Older, smaller neighborhoods are better! The Lab studied neighborhoods around the country. Among other discoveries they found:

 1/ Older, smaller buildings provide space for a strong local economy

2/ Older business districts provide affordable, flexible space for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds

3/ The creative economy thrives in older mixed-use neighborhoods

4/ Young people love old buildings

 Join us for a discussion on the Older, Smaller, Better report and how Pioneer Square is a model of the movement to save and reinvigorate historic buildings and neighborhoods. A panel discussion will occur on Monday, September 15, 6:00-7:30pm at the Foster White Gallery, 220 3rd Ave S, Seattle. It’s part of the Design in Public festival and is free and open to the public. Hosted by Feet First. Refreshments served.

Our Panel:

  • Mark Hinshaw, FAIA, LMN Architects (Moderator)
  • Michel Powe, Ph.D, Senior Research Manager, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • David Yeaworth, Deputy Director, Alliance for Pioneer Square
  • Lisa Quinn, Executive Director, Feet First

Hope to see you there!


David Yeaworth

Deputy Director

Alliance for Pioneer Square

Business & Community Development Update – September 2014

Kristen Honeycutt Photo Co.-039
Karen True, Director of Business Development

Kristen Honeycutt Photo Co.-038We’re still feeling the afterglow of last week’s announcement about Weyerhaeuser and 200 Occidental. What a bright spot in our future. Right now is a great time, too….

If the weekend move went as expected, the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, a beloved and sought-out Pioneer Square destination for 24 years, should be open for business today in their new location a few yards east of their former doorway. Can’t wait to see the new digs!

We’re thrilled about Seattle Magazine’s article about our growing retail scene. Of course, this is only a fraction of all-that’s-fabulous in our neighborhood. Want to see a complete list? Pick up the newest Pioneer Square Visitors Guide. You can find them all over the neighborhood, as well as in tourist brochure displays throughout the region. Pick one up and start checking out what you’ve missed. Better yet–pick up an extra, mark what you want to see, then invite a friend to the ‘hood for lunch or happy hour to explore with you!

August was busy with new openings:  Cone & Steiner, Drygoods Design, Fleurt, Pizzeria Gabbiano, and – any minute now – Quality Athletics. And E Smith Mercantile adds lunch to their menu, starting this week! Opening soon: Sprout, Clementines, and more. Stay tuned.

Amid all the fun news, there is sad news this week. Wessel & Lieberman is closing. We asked Mark for a few words and this is what he shared:

“OK, short & sweet. This is it. Seriously, we really are closing, and the end is in now in sight. Saturday September 6 will be our last open day to the public. Everything in the shop and on our website will be 70% off. We hope that you can visit – both in person and virtually – and help us dismantle this place; book by book, pamphlet by pamphlet, print by print. BYOB! We will maintain regular hours every day until the 6th. We’ll be here as early as we can, and we will stay as late as someone is still taking away books. For this last phase of the sale please use the Promotional Code: THISISIT when checking out to receive the discount on the website.”

Take a minute to stop by the shop this week to support and thank these folks for being such an important part of our neighborhood. Their entrance is in the Grand Central Building on Occidental Park.

We’re expecting lots of people in Pioneer Square this week. The NFL’s Kickoff festivities will culminate on Thursday with a free concert and the Seahawks opening game against the Green Bay Packers. (Just noticed the following on the Seahawks page: “Fans interested in near-stage seating for the concert may register online at 1iota. Access to this exclusive viewing area opportunity is first come, first served.”) On Friday, set up will begin in Occidental Mall for the 2014 Design Festival. Come on down. This is going to be a blast.

I’m keeping it short this week. The neighborhood is hopping and I want to be out there. By the way, I’m still waiting for some of those stories about our longtime Pioneer Square businesses. I really want to hear them. Remember, the coffee’s on me. Until then, I’ll watch for you in the Square!

Go Hawks!


Karen True

Director of Business Development

Alliance for Pioneer Square

Weyerhaeuser Moving HQ to Pioneer Square

Press conference with Leslie Smith and Mayor Ed Murray
Executive Director Leslie Smith from the Alliance for Pioneer Square and Mayor Ed Murray at the press conference announcing Weyerhaeuser’s move to the neighborhood.

Local timber company Weyerhaeuser has announced plans to move its headquarters from Federal Way, WA to Pioneer Square. The company’s new home will be at 200 Occidental, a new development by Urban Visions that is planned for completion in 2016. The move will bring 900 employees to Pioneer Square. See Weyerhaeuser’s press release here, as well as Mayor Ed Murray’s blog post about the big news here.

Thank you to Urban Visions and Weyerhaeuser for bringing this development and activation to the neighborhood. The announcement was made public on August 26, 2014 in a press conference in Occidental Square Park, next to the site of 200 Occidental and Weyerhaeuser’s future home.

Community & Business Development Update – August 2014

Karen True, Director of Business Development

Everybody’s talking…

Café Nordo co-founders Erin Brindley and Terry Podgorski fell in love with Pioneer Square when they produced last year’s spaghetti western, SMOKED!, at The Kitchen by Delicatus. Later, after they tired of moving their live theatre-dinner productions from venue to venue, they decided to look for a permanent home in our neighborhood. Last month they announced they are ready to begin the build-out of Nordo’s Culinarium in the Globe Building. They’ll take the space at 109 S Main that runs along Nord Alley. (Nordo’s on Nord Alley. Fun, yes?)

The press is all a-twitter about the news. (Check out a couple of articles here and here.) While we’re thrilled about bringing live theatre to Pioneer Square, it’s especially sweet because of the deep connection Erin and Terry feel to our neighborhood. So much so, that they asked to share a personal letter with all who live and work in Pioneer Square. This one’s for you. Read it here.

As you know, things are picking up quickly on the retail front. Several new businesses are busy building out their spaces and should be opening their doors for business by fall.

  • Velouria – in Stadium Place. Owners Cat Wilcox and Chika Eustace are thrilled about being part of the Pioneer Square community. They sell all U.S. and Canadian-made goods with an emphasis on Pacific Northwest designers.  “We love the personal touch of handmade items that are not mass-produced, and above all, goods that are beautiful and high quality.” They will be open in Ballard for a few more weeks. You can check them out on instagram (@hellovelouria).
  • Dry Goods Design – at S Main St & Occidental Ave S. Keli Faw just got the keys on Friday and is hard at work to get the space opened on August 29th. They’re planning an opening party on Friday, September 5th. “We are so excited to be providing a space where people can work as individuals and with others to use their hands (and often a machine) to make something or everything, providing both  machines and tools for our students. Our fall class schedule, including ‘Lunchbreak Lessons’, will range from ‘This is a Sewing Machine’ to advanced garment construction classes, dyeing workshops, hand lettering, embroidery and more.” In addition to classes, Dry Good Design will offer a thoughtfully and lovingly curated selection of fabrics, notions, home goods, stationery, and more.
  • Clementines – on Occidental Mall, next door to London Plane.  Linda Walsh is moving her popular women’s shoe store from West Seattle to Pioneer Square. She’s all about fabulous women’s shoes and clothing. She said they are on a tight timeline, but are “up for the challenge.” She hopes to be open within 4-6 weeks. “If we aren’t open in time for the big weekend in September (Seahawks on September 4–Design Festival sets up the following day) we will be around to pass out coupons to use at the new space.”
  • Cone & Steinerin Stadium Place. In addition to everything else we might find in an urban general store, they’ll have a “growler station” with local beers. We’re all watching those windows, waiting for the paper to come down and the doors to open…
  • Elm Coffee – in Pacific Commercial Building at 2nd Ave S & S Main St. The roll out menus for the Elm Coffee micro-roaster and cafe will feature some lightly roasted excellent coffees from Guatemala, Colombia and Ethiopia.  Perhaps a few choice Kenyans on occasion, too.  Owner, Brendan Mullally, explained, “We want to be a comfortably elegant café. Super friendly, non-pretentious service is paramount.  Great clean coffees served simply.  Occasional special treats like affagotos, espresso with bitters, horchata, and home-made peppermint mochas.” Brendan hopes to be serving coffee for the neighborhood by the end of September.
  • Good Bar – in the Pacific Commercial Building at 2nd Ave S & S Main. Though the build-out is taking a little longer than expected, Good Bar owners say they’ll be open for happy hours and dinners this fall.
  • Sprout – next door to Smith Tower on 2nd Ave. Michael Kelly’s vision of a restaurant where everything on the menu is healthy (really, everything!), is on track to become a reality. He’s hard at work building out the space and will keep us posted as things unfold.
  • Fleurt – on S Washington St, next to Pioneer Passage Alley. We’re having fun watching this lovely space come to life. Stay tuned. Flowers ahead.
  • Seattle Sounders – in the Washington Shoe Building on Occidental Ave S. This is late-breaking news: in addition to moving their offices to Pioneer Square, the Sounders are developing plans to open something very special on the street for the public. Curious? So are we. More details soon.
  • Pizzeria Gabbiano – in the Pacific Commercial Building at 2nd Ave S & S Main St. Mike Easton is in the thick of putting the last touches on his fabulous space in preparation of opening. It should be any day now…

I had hoped to write about some of our existing retail and restaurant businesses this month—both those who’ve weathered multiple economic turns and those who haven’t been open as long. While it’s fabulous fun to talk about what’s new, this neighborhood works because so many are committed to a bigger vision of Pioneer Square and believe in the possibilities. New stores and restaurants complement what long-established favorites put in place.

So…I’m going to work to pull together a few new stories about old favorites and how they helped set the stage for the new. Got some ideas? Please share. The coffee’s on me!


Karen True

Director of Business Development

Alliance for Pioneer Square