In Seattle, we have a lot of serious development players. We’ve got our own big guys and we’ve got the big guys who come here from all over. We’ve got billions of dollars that trade hands every month and cranes all over town.
It’s serious business. But we’ve still got our funky side too. We have our shadow development community. It’s small but it’s still here. And sometimes you get a glimpse of it.
Tom Flood is a teacher and sculptor who owns two funky falling-apart structures on the corner of 34th and Pike in the Madrona neighborhood. For years, he taught kids how to sculpt and weld and build Go-Karts at the building that used to say Madrona Auto in front.
He has plans to build seven super-sustainable live-work units on the site. They will all have green roofs with solar cells and natural ventilation. There will be a central courtyard and rainwater will be used in toilets and washing machines.
The project will cost about $3 million. Flood works as a part-time teacher and his wife, Diane, is a switchman for BNSF Railroad, but they joined forces with small developer Shilshole Development to make it happen.
In the end, the Floods and their kids plan to move into two of the units, gardening on the roof alongside their neighbors.
Flood knows it will be hard for Madrona to accept the loss of his iconic structures. But with a big central courtyard and tenants running small businesses at street level, he hopes to add to the pedestrian landscape. And he plans to salvage the old structures and keep their parts visible on the new.
The project is in design review. Construction will likely start early next year.