The vacant lot on Ballard Ave has offered a breath of fresh air on an otherwise crowded street. Now, it will be transformed into an office building.
Office space coming to Sanborn Building, vacant lot on Ballard Ave
Developer Mike Peck and Brian Regan have big plans for Ballard. They are in the process of transforming two spaces into office buildings.
The first is the vacant lot behind Caffe Fiore and Zayda Buddy's at 5304 Ballard Ave NW. The plan is to create a four-story, 23,087 sq. ft. office building with retail on the bottom floor. Peck and Regan also bought the next door building and will be adding a floor to it to create one whole building.
The new complex will be called The Valhalla and is currently going through the Ballard Ave Landmarks District Board.
When the Ballard News-Tribune was at the last meeting, they were discussing the proposed design of the building and whether it looked too much like the historic buildings in the area. The reasoning being that they did not want people confusing the new building as an older building.
"It’s a very, very razor thin line (the architect) has to walk to make sure it fits in with the neighborhood and make it not look like the historic building," Peck said.
Jim Riggle, owner of Hotel Ballard and the Olympic Athletic Club, said he was concerned about the height of the building, worried that it would detract from his buildings.
Developers said there is a distinct need for more office space in Ballard, especially with so many professionals flooding the area. The office spaces will typically be 2-500 sq. ft. with a few smaller offices at 150 sq. ft.
The second property Peck is developing is the historic G.S. Sanborn building.
Built in 1901, the Sanborn building is named after Ballard businessman Gustavus B. Sanborn. The building is the sole example in the Ballard Ave district of the Romanesque architecture stylized by H.H. Richardson, according to the Ballard Historical Society. It is wholly faced in sandstone and it features a bold round arch on the third floor.
This building will also be transformed into office space, with a Chicago pizza joint on the bottom called Paxti's. The space next door is getting a story added onto it (you may have noticed the white tent like structure) to even the building out.
The Sanborn has been showing its age. While the previous owner did some rehabilitation and seismic retrofitting, when Peck got it the floors were sagging and the interior had to be completely gutted. Fortunately, Peck is seeking to restore instead of replace, displaying the charming historical qualities of the building.
As for why they are developing in Ballard, Peck and Regan said its because they like to stay local. They have several properties in the Fremont area and Ballard seemed like a natural fit.
“If we can’t skateboard to it, we don’t do it,” Regan said.
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