Business & Community Development Update: August 2015

As summer winds down, businesses are ramping up to begin build-outs for their spaces.

  • Flatstick Pub is bringing an indoor mini golf course with a fabulous selection of locally-sourced beers to the basement of the Pacific Commercial Building (aka Furuya Building) at 2nd Ave S & S Main St.
  • Gary Manuel Salon is moving from Belltown to Pioneer Square! They’ve leased the long-vacant space at 2nd Ave & James St in the Collins Building. They plan to open in early 2016.
  • The Estate Wine Room will bring a collection of fine Washington wines to their tasting room at 307 Occidental Ave S. They hope to be open before the end of the year. More details to come.
  • The Pioneer Square Post Office will be moving from their space on S Jackson to 217 1st Ave S before the end of the year.

The ribbon cutting for Galvanize, the tech-education company at 111 S Jackson, is scheduled for Friday, August 7 at 4:30 PM. Stop by if you’re in the vicinity. We’re delighted they’re part of the neighborhood.

The Mayor is seeking candidates to fill four vacancies on the Pioneer Square Preservation Board. The four positions available are for a historian or architectural historian, human services representative, district property owner, and architect. The deadline is Friday, August 7. More information available here.

Have you heard that the first Seahawks preseason game against the Denver Broncos will be at CenturyLink Field on August 14? Curious about upcoming stadium events so you can make decisions about staffing, parking, or planning your own event? Bookmark both the CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field event calendars so you’re always in the know.


See you in the neighborhood!

Business & Community Development Update – January 2015

Before talking about new businesses coming to our neighborhood, I’d like to thank and acknowledge the businesses who set up shop in Pioneer Square before the rest of the city was talking about us. They saw the potential, made the investments, took the risks, and made it work. If I didn’t think readers would roll their eyes from the repetitiveness, I’d start every announcement of a new business with a tip-of-the-hat to these people. Thank you.

Now a few updates…

Elm Coffee at 240 2nd Ave S.
Elm Coffee at 240 2nd Ave S.


It was worth the wait. Elm Coffee is now open in the Furuya Building at 2nd Ave S & S Main St. (The entrance is actually on Main, one door east of Pizzeria Gabbiano.) Both the coffee and space are gorgeous. Stop by and introduce yourself to Brendan Mullally, Drew Fitchette, and the rest of the gang.

Have you checked out Calisea yet? Alden Alvarado quietly opened her charming new retail store in time for the holidays on Yesler Way in the Pioneer Square Best Western Hotel building. Take a look at the website to get an idea of the variety of merchandise she carries. It’s a winner and a nice addition to the block.

Coming soon:

Entrance to Casco Antiguo at 115 Occidental Ave S.
Entrance to Casco Antiguo at 115 Occidental Ave S.

We’re in the midst of another flurry of activity behind paper-covered windows:

  • Pioneer Square is in for something special if the brilliant red façade of Casco Antiguo, on Occidental Ave just north of the park, is an indication of what’s to come…both on Occidental and in the “Pioneer Passage” alley behind. Owner, Ward Allen, plans to open before the end of January.
  • Across the street, Nirmal’s will soon fill the long-vacant space in the Interurban Building with an innovative Indian restaurant.
  • People are buzzing about Girin, scheduled to open in Stadium Place in March. A special preview event scheduled for January 10 will feature Chef Brandon Kirksey and his “killer Korean food”.
  • Una Kim is still working feverishly to open the doors of The Faerie Queene on Yesler, upstairs from Little Uncle. Hoping to be able to order that lobster roll by spring.
  • While we’re focused on the Seahawks, work is underway in the new Sounders space between Rain Shadow Meats and Taylor Shellfish. The season starts in March, so we’ll be seeing more activity soon!
  • Have you heard Gallery Frames is moving? (Relax, they’re staying in the neighborhood.) They’ll close the doors in their current space at 1st & Cherry on February 1, then reopen in their new space at on 3rd Ave S (the same block as Salumi) on March 1.

In addition to papered windows, we’ve got construction all around us. Those projects include the new Embassy Suites Hotel between Stadium Place and King Street Station and Goodman Real Estate’s 45-unit apartment project on South Main Street.

More companies and organizations are expanding or moving into Pioneer Square’s office spaces every day. I’ll be writing more about them soon. In the meantime, take a moment to welcome any new neighbors to our ‘hood. The connections we share are among our district’s greatest assets.


Karen True
Director of Business Development
Alliance for Pioneer Square

Business & Community Update – November 2014

FullSizeRenderJust a quick post this month to make absolutely-certain you know what’s happening in the neighborhood.

  • Sprout is open in the Florence Building, right next to Smith Tower on 2nd Ave. Healthy eating never tasted so good. Owners, Mike and Jen Kelly, are also Pioneer Square residents.
  • Though they aren’t open quite yet, we can get our first peek at what’s coming at Good Bar at 2nd Ave S & S Main St now that the paper is off the windows. It’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. It won’t be long now.
  • Che Sara Sara opened this past weekend in the Grand Central Building at the corner of 1st Ave S and S Main Street. This is the third neighborhood business for Luigi DeNunzio, owner of Al Boccolino and Café Bengodi. Stop by to check out their menu and say “hi”.
  • Two new businesses are opening on Yesler Way, just west of 1st Ave S, and they’re going to be fabulous additions to the neighborhood.
    • Calisea, a home gift store, plans to be open in time for holiday shopping. Check out their website to get a sense of what owner, Alden Alvarado, has in mind for her Pioneer Square storefront.
    • Una Kim is bringing her seafood café, Ferry Queen, to the street level space in the Post Hotel at 90 Yesler Way, just upstairs from Little Uncle. (Think lobster rolls!) She’s working round-the-clock to get her doors open before the end of the year.
  • Construction continues around the neighborhood. We should be drinking coffee at Brendan Mullally’s Elm Coffee before the end of December. Casco Antiguo, Girin, and the Sounders Fan Experience Center will be highlights during the first part of 2015.
  • Congratulations to Tango Zulu for being named a national finalist in the Green America People & Planet award. Cast your vote and learn more here.


Holiday shopping in Pioneer Square will be the best it’s been in years. We’re making the most of all of our retail with fabulous holiday promotions three Saturdays this year: November 29, December 6, and December 13. This is the year to Shop the Square. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for details.


Follow us on Twitter @PioneerSquare to hear news as it breaks. I’m also going to try to do more with Twitter myself @k_true. (We’ll see how that goes.)

Cafe Nordo’s Letter to Pioneer Square

Dear good people of Pioneer Square,

Café Nordo announces that we have found a permanent home.

In the winter of 2013 we were practicing our semi-annual ritual of looking for a space that would allow us to install a theater and a kitchen for eight weeks and present one of our performances to the public. We met Karen True of the Alliance for Pioneer Square who convinced us Pioneer Square was the only place we should consider and walked us through the neighborhood with the kind of infectious fervor we find to be, quite simply, the best quality in a human. She brought us to The Kitchen at Delicatus where Derek and Mike seemed suspiciously willing to let us have our way with their beautiful space.

Have our way we did, and we ran our most successful show to date, Smoked!, an homage to the Spaghetti Western that worked our flavor of food, politics, storytelling, and original music into the perfect location. We were enchanted with the physical beauty of Derek and Mike’s space and the buildings in the neighborhood, (we’ve lived here a long time and have rich memories of Pioneer Square.) We were happy to be there.

What we didn’t anticipate was the outpouring of support from the neighborhood. You poked your heads in to ask what we were up to when we were building and rehearsing. You told us you were glad we were there. So many of you exhibited the same fervor as Mike, Derek, and the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “Pioneer Square needs you. And Pioneer Square is the best place.” And, so many of you came to the performance. We were able to feed you and drink you and entertain you.

And all the while we looked across the street. “It’s iconic. It has a kitchen. It’s huge. It’s empty.” The old Elliot Bay Book Company. The Globe Building. On Nord Alley. (Are you kidding me? We’re Café Nordo!) It seemed so impossible we shouldn’t even dream. After 8 weeks, we closed up and moved on to the Central District, home of our next show.

Karen brought Ilze Jones, owner of the Globe Building, to see that show. These two convinced us the scheme we had concocted to make Café Nordo a year-round venture, one that gives artists and chefs a playground to collaborate with each other, was viable there. That you, the neighborhood, wanted us there.

And here we are. We our public announcement. We are moving into 109 Main Street and building out the kitchen downstairs to house what we’re calling Nordo’s Culinarium. Charming actors, brilliant musicians, and (more!) talented cooks will be peppering your evening landscape.

All the details of what we’re up to will come to you, we just wanted to take a minute before the hullabaloo to say there is something truly special about Pioneer Square well beyond its beauty and history. It’s what infuses everyone we have met in the neighborhood with such passion for the place. The people who believe in the magic of Pioneer Square are our people. We are honored to join your ranks. Thank you for making us feel so truly at home.

We will start building at the end of this month. Please stop in and say hello, we’d love to give you a tour and tell you what we’ve got planned.


Erin Brindley & Terry Podgorski


Cafe Nordo & Nordo Culinarium