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October 11, 2011

Climate change in Belltown business?

The Belltown Business Association hosted forum on the business climate tonight.   The panel of speakers included a banker, a restaurant owner, a recruiter, a housing developer, an hotelier and a realtor.  The discussion was moderated by BBA President Tim Gaydos.

  Generally speaking the feeling was that the worst of the recession was over but that it would still be some years before the good times of times past return.  The last few years have forced all business owners to reexamine their daily operations and really focus on the details that will sustain or improve their cash flow.    

  The advice and evaluations from the panel were good and sound but the back and forth from the audience questions was more interesting.   On the whole they spoke of an underlying frustration dogging business in Belltown.  Frustration with the City’s increasing operational costs with mandatory sick leave pay and hiking parking rates and parking hours.    Frustration with “the Seattle mindset” which promotes grandstanding vote getting social justice initiatives over the interests of local businesses.   There was also frustration with the BBA itself not doing enough to end the frustration.

  There were also some hopeful notes.   The BBA is pursuing a unified marketing plan for the neighborhood.  The BBA has been working with the Mayor’s office to establish a Neighborhood Action Team Seattle in Belltown which is the City term for an inter departmental problem solving action group.  (Why the City needs a special task force to work with itself is another question altogether).    And 53 hotels downtown have formed a T.I.A (Tourism Improvement Area) which will tax each hotel room $2 a night to fund promotional campaign to increase off season visits.

  The least helpful comments came from a woman who kept interrupting the discussion to insist she was “The white elephant in the room”.   Most people know what the terms “white elephant” and “elephant in the room” mean.  I think she is the only one who understands what “the white elephant in the room” means.

The BBA does a good job as an organization of volunteers .  Those few, who make it happen, do so in addition to their day jobs.  It has always shocked me that so many business owners have time to work 40 to 60 hours at their business and have invested so much in them have so little interest in making the place where they are located  better for their businesses.   These meetings always result in an ask for business owners to do more and get more involved.  There is always that “Help Wanted” sign in the window looking for people to organize and build community.  Those frustrated with Belltown’s business climate need to apply themselves.

Unique contest and walk mark the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct

A nine-day closure of the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct will mark the beginning of the end for Seattle’s double-deck highway. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will close the majority of the viaduct until 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31. To learn more about the SR 99 nine-day closure, visit our website.

 “One Mile Down Demolition Event”

Interested in spending a little time on the viaduct before it’s demolished? There will be a commemorative walk on Saturday, Oct. 22 near the stadiums. This is a perfect opportunity to get a firsthand perspective as this historic event unfolds.

  • When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (celebration continues until 2 p.m.) Saturday, Oct. 22
  • Elected officials make formal remarks and celebrate this major milestone at 1 p.m.
  • Where: Construction area north of 1051 First Ave. S.
  • No RSVPs are required, but some restrictions apply. Please wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for late October weather. No pets or bicycles are allowed on the structure. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The event will be ADA accessible.
  • Parking is available in the fenced construction site just south of Railroad Way South and on adjacent city streets and in nearby pay lots.

For more information on the demolition event, visit our public events website.

Win contest and get exclusive access to the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Oct. 22

WSDOT is sponsoring a contest where one lucky person and 24 of their friends will win exclusive access to the viaduct’s downtown section for 30 minutes on Oct. 22. To enter, answer the question “What would I do with 30 minutes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?” in 100 words or less and send it to viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov by Sunday, Oct. 16. The winner will be escorted to a private section of the viaduct at a predetermined time to follow through with their plan. Check the WSDOT website for contest details, rules and restrictions.

Reminder – Belltown Business Climate Forum – Tonight!

Reminder, if you are a Belltown business owner (or even a concerned resident) this is the event for you. It’s tonight, Palace Ballroom, 5:30-7:30pm.

RSVP to this event here: Belltown Business Climate Forum

From our previous post:

On Tuesday, October 11, the BBA will be hosting a Belltown Business Climate Forum at the Palace Ballroom. The event is open to the public and Belltown business owners and residents are encouraged to attend.

A panel of speakers will discuss topics like Belltown’s employment and small business outlook, financing in the current economic climate, benefits of doing business in Belltown and also solutions to challenges that Belltown businesses are currently facing. Speakers include Pamela Anderson, Banner Bank; Ethan Stowell, Ethan Stowell Restaurants; Robert Mooney,  Jones Lang LaSalle; Michael Lee, Express Personnel Services; Martha Barkman, Harbor Properties; Craig Shafer, Hotel Andra.

There will also be a question and answer session where attendees can ask the panel questions regarding the status of Belltown business.

Appetizers will be included, courtesy of the the Belltown Business Association and Tom Douglas restaurants. A no host bar will also be provided.

RSVP to this event here: Belltown Business Climate Forum