Evans Thriftway opened in 1957 at a remodelled IGA store at 8606 35th Ave NE.
Those of us who grew up in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle tend to be nostalgic about businesses and buildings of bygone years. Some types of businesses which once were in Wedgwood, such as Dairy Queen, 7-Eleven stores and small gas station markets, no longer exist.
Some buildings in the commercial district of Wedgwood have been remodelled and re-used by a succession of businesses, until finally being torn down and replaced, as was the grocery store building at 8606 35th Ave NE.
There have been many changes in the business environment in Wedgwood in the decades since the neighborhood was created in the 1940s. Wedgwood now has some kinds of businesses which didn’t exist in the 1940s, such as a tanning salon and a yoga studio.
By 2007 the old grocery building at 8606 35th Ave NE was at the end of its useful life. It stood vacant while a redevelopment project was on hold. Finally in 2012 the Jasper Apartment building went up on this site.
Some of the commercial buildings in the Wedgwood business district wore out and were replaced out of necessity. The former grocery store building at 8606 35th Ave NE was used by a nonprofit agency for a while, then was torn down and replaced by a four-story apartment complex, the Jasper, completed in 2012.
Up until the plans to build the Jasper, Wedgwood neighborhood activists had been unaware that the zoning allowed for a four-story building on 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood. It was this controversy which began in 2007, which set off the process of trying to come up with a plan to preserve the business district of Wedgwood.
The overpowering, tall Jasper Apartment at 8606 35th Ave NE was the shock which set off neighborhood activism for better zoning regulations.
We have to accept changes over the passage of time, but what we should not accept is the current lack of support for the business district in Wedgwood – support that should come from the City of Seattle in proper zoning of business blocks to preserve commercial use.
This blog post will describe the current status of “zoning” which means the regulations on what can be built, as to height of buildings and use for residential or commercial occupancy.
The construction of the Jasper, pictured at right, set off a Wedgwood community project which was meant to bring about enhancement of the business district via improved zoning, but these recommendations were never implemented by Seattle City Council. In the upcoming election I urge all Wedgwoodians, and all residents of Seattle, to vote for new City Council representatives who will respond to the need to support neighborhood businesses.
Copyright notice: the text and photos of this article are protected under Creative Commons Copyright. Do not copy without permission.