West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle businesses http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 E-mail signed Sam Adams: ‘The West Seattle Club has closed … For falling short, I apologize’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/e-mail-signed-sam-adams-the-west-seattle-club-has-closed-for-falling-short-i-apologize/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/e-mail-signed-sam-adams-the-west-seattle-club-has-closed-for-falling-short-i-apologize/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:00:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290297 For the first time since the fitness center at 2629 SW Andover closed last Thursday – billed as a two-day closure but then extended by an ownership change – members on a mailing list from the former ownership received a message this afternoon. This is the entire unedited text of the e-mail:

It is with great sorrow that I write to you that the West Seattle Club has closed. The landlord will be taking over shortly and the club will be back open as soon as possible. I am sorry that I was unable to turn the club around from its first bankruptcy and I take full responsibility for its failure. The strain on the relationship with the landlord became too much as he refused to fix anything structural or mechanical in the club. I invested money into systems and structures that are typically not the tenants responsibility. The landlord refused to fix the following:

The HVAC system. This caused the system to always broken. It was either too hot or too cold.
The swimming pool filtration system was always broken.
The electrical wiring was in adequate in the building which caused fires and the voltage spikes. These spikes would cause the pool and hot tub control equipment to always blow up, fail, or catch on fire. Thus the hot tub and pool are always out of order. These spikes also blew up a lot of the cardio equipment. That is why a lot of pieces were always down.
The pool is not VGB certified and was supposed to be certified back in 2011. By draining the pool the landlord can get this fixed so the pool is to code.
The sprinkler system in the locker rooms are too short so we could not put a ceiling up in the locker rooms.
The air exchange system in the locker rooms is broken so the ceiling do not always dry and they collect water which leads to the mold.
The air exchange system in the pool does not work properly and should be replaced. That is why the walls are dripping with rust.
Landlord needs to tear out the shower walls so mold and water will not continue to go into the shower walls.
Landlord needs to replace all of the leaky windows.

I have also taken out most of my equipment and will hopefully be able to finish removing the remaining pieces in order to make room for your new owner to purchase newer equipment for the club. The club was not attacked or sabotaged. The swimming pool was drained so it can be repaired, the drains brought to code, and painted. There was no vandalism and there was a lot of good equipment left. I left the carpet shampoo machine, tile cleaning machine for the bathrooms, and many other cleaning supplies. All paper towel dispensers were left on the walls. The club needs cleaning from the move, upgrades in equipment, supplies purchased. All of which is a small investment by your new owner John Pietromonaco. If you have any question you can contact him by clicking on his name or you can call his office at (206) 232-7502 .

All of your membership and credit card information has been removed from the premises and will be destroyed. If you would like to sign back up at the club you will have to email John or stop by the club. Your memberships are officially terminated and you will not be charged again by the West Seattle Club. Some of you have not been charged for the last two months as we have been in transition with our new management software CSI. You will not be charged for those two months. For those of you that have been charged before the club was closed down or you joined less than 30 days ago, you will be receiving a full refund. If you have any questions please feel free to email us from the website at www.westseattleclub.com. We will be using the contact information that we have on file to send you your refund.

There are also many mistakes that I made that I will learn from. West Seattle is a great community and deserves a great club for people to reach their fitness goals. For falling short I apologize. Good luck and God Bless.

Sam Adams

The denial of sabotage is an apparent response to what the property owner’s representative, Dan Lehr, said in a message we published as part of our Saturday night coverage.

Meantime, a new document in Adams’s bankruptcy-case file confirms what had been mentioned in other documents the past few days – what technically happened is that he sought extra time to decide on whether to extend or “reject” the club lease, a decision required as part of the proceedings, and last Friday, the judge turned down the request, so the lease was “rejected” as of this past Monday. The newest information from the new ownership/management of the 2629 SW Andover facility is in this story we published Tuesday afternoon; we’ll update this with anything else that comes in this afternoon/evening.

4:21 PM: While the message suggests e-mailing “from the website,” we haven’t found an e-mail address on it so far. A couple layers in, we did find this form; let us know if you use it and get a reply.

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Followup: West Seattle Health Club transition ‘moving faster than expected’; plus, new developments in ex-owner’s bankruptcy case http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/followup-west-seattle-health-club-transition-moving-faster-than-expected-plus-new-developments-in-ex-owners-bankruptcy-case/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/followup-west-seattle-health-club-transition-moving-faster-than-expected-plus-new-developments-in-ex-owners-bankruptcy-case/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:06:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290084

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

We’re continuing to track the transition at 2629 SW Andover from the suddenly shut-down West Seattle (Athletic) Club to the new West Seattle Health Club.

The former, owned by Sam Adams since early last year, announced a two-day closure last week but did not reopen on Saturday as promised; later Saturday, a representative of property owner John Pietromonaco announced that they’ve taken over and will open the facility as a new club.

First, the newest update, received this morning from that representative, Dan Lehr, who is managing the transition to WS Health Club and says it is “moving faster than expected.” He describes the points below (unedited, as we received them) as “updates from my staff”:

Opening date still up in the air but at this rate late week is very doable. We need to get the staff up to speed on how to handle membership questions and that is up in the air right now.

Phones by Thursday

Club being painted in pool area and men’s locker room as well as kidz club grounds being cleaned Thursday

Computers up by Wednesday or Thursday after security system is re-instated

Payroll being set-up by Wednesday

Still trying to get membership information so memberships can be extended for days the club was closed website – hopefully by end of the Wednesday

New equipment ordered will start arriving in two weeks. Over 40 pieces of new cardio – 300k

All equipment organized

3rd Floor
———-
All trash collected.
Mirrors Wiped.
Window ledges wiped.
Reception desk (2) thoroughly wiped and cleaned.
All exercise equipment disinfected and wiped.
All weights put back in order.
Vacuumed and Dust Mop ( Will damp mop Tuesday).

2nd Floor
———-
Moved furniture – Put furniture back in uniform in offices etc.
Will buff out heel marks on floor area of Aerobic Room (Tuesday)

1st Floor
———-
Power sprayed and disinfected utilizing a deodorizer both Men’s and Women’s locker rooms showers. All Floor areas machine scrubbed and cleaned.

Will start carpet cleaning some areas of the 3rd floor later Tuesday evening as cleaning crew closes shift. We will also use a good deodorizer on carpet.

(Monday) almost everything was cleared from the front lobby. Almost all equipment was put to back together that had all the nuts and bolts. All the working spin bikes were put back into the spin class. Working equipment was all moved to the third floor too. It looks a lot better no gaps except for walking space. Dumbbells were put on what remaining dumbbell racks we had left and workout plates were loaded on equipment, due to no weight tree’s to stock them on. The housekeeping storage was cleared out, all supplies was stocked into the house keeping area. All machines were wiped down and almost all trash has been picked up. The locker room and shower areas were also kai vacced and auto scrubbed. We made sure to also clear out the women’s only area. The only thing we have left in women’s only is broken equipment and heavy machines that need to be broken down because there too heavy to put on the piano dolly’s. All floors were vacuumed and most floors were dust mopped/mopped. Mirrors were cleaned among other things.

If you missed our first report about the transition, published Saturday night, see it here – it includes Lehr’s first report on what happened and what’s ahead.

Meantime, as for the prior ownership: Neither we nor members, by any account, have received any information since the Thursday/Friday closure was announced in an e-mail to some members (a few of whom forwarded it to us) last week. (The building’s new management makes it clear that they are a separate operation, starting from scratch.)

The state Attorney General’s office says it’s not uncommon for health/fitness clubs to abruptly close. So not uncommon, in fact, the AG’s website has a specific page with information about your rights, and how to file a complaint – here’s the direct link. A key point: “If the health club closes permanently, and the owner does not have a comparable facility within 10 miles of the club, you can cancel and receive a pro-rated refund of your initiation fee.”

There’s no new paperwork as of this writing in the online file for what had been an eviction action – “unlawful detainer” – against the club’s previous ownership. As we had originally reported earlier this month, a deadline of October 24th, last Friday, had been set for a $1.1 million payment due (mostly back rent) to the property owner, to hold off eviction. The court documents had said that Adams’ company expected to get that money from a loan for which it said it had a contract. But as of midweek, property owner Pietromonaco said that money hadn’t been received and that he had “a plan” if it didn’t arrive. What’s happening now is apparently the execution of that plan; state corporate records show that Pietromonaco created the West Seattle Health Club LLC on October 17th, one week before the deadline.

The eviction action originally was filed in May, but on the eve of a scheduled hearing in late June, it was put on automatic hold when Adams and his wife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization. That hold – a stay – was lifted after they missed a court-ordered August deadline for payment of some back rent.

Now the Chapter 11 filing itself is in jeopardy, according to the newest paperwork filed in the federal bankruptcy case. The US trustee says that Adams has not filed a single one of the monthly financial reports required since the filing, so she is asking bankruptcy court Judge Marc Barreca to either convert it to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing or to dismiss the case entirely, which would mean that the Adamses lose the various protections conferred by a Chapter 11. The motion is set for a November 14th hearing.

Another recent action filed in the bankruptcy case was from a financial-services company that wanted to be added to the list of creditors, saying Sam Adams entered into a contract, less than a month before the Chapter 11 filing, selling a certain amount of “future receivables” to the company, for a six-figure sum, but not notifying it about the subsequent filing. The Adamses’ bankruptcy lawyer filed a response to this last week, saying that the “future receivables” deal actually wasn’t struck by Sam (A.) Adams, but by his father Sam E. Adams, acting on that particular day as a representative of the company. The document also notes that Sam E. Adams lives in Texas.

And in the moments before publishing this, we checked the bankruptcy-case records one more time. The couple from whom the Adamses were buying a waterfront Kirkland home on a rent-to-own basis are seeking a court order requiring rent payment, which they say hasn’t happened for some months. Their motion notes that with the fitness club closure – described as “deemed rejection of … the lease” – and the aforementioned motion to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 7, “Mr. Adams’ prospects for reorganization appear even more dim than they were before.”

Sam A. Adams, a former pro-football player, bought the club during bankruptcy proceedings for the former operation, Allstar Fitness; we chronicled that transition and the previous bankruptcy proceedings in stories archived here (reverse-chronological order), October 2012-January 2014. The coverage of now-defunct WS (Athletic) Club will have its own archive shortly.

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West Seattle (Athletic) Club ‘is no longer operational’ – it’s becoming West Seattle Health Club http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-is-no-longer-operational-its-becoming-west-seattle-health-club/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-is-no-longer-operational-its-becoming-west-seattle-health-club/#comments Sun, 26 Oct 2014 02:52:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289886 (SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE FROM NEW MANAGER IN COMMENTS)

7:52 PM: The fitness club at 2629 SW Andover – closed since Thursday – has a new name: West Seattle Health Club.

And we’ve just found out a lot more from the man who says property owner John Pietromonaco has hired him to run it, Dan Lehr.

He expects it to remain closed at least until the end of the week.

(added) First, from an e-mail Lehr sent just before our conversation, this is what he says has happened, and what he says is being planned:

As you are well aware Sam vacated the premises Friday night and left the club in a state of disarray. Even stooping so low as to sabotage many of the clubs systems and equipment – most seriously of which is the pool, threw employee shirts and toilet paper into the pool filters and drained the pool of water.

He removed most of the cardio equipment and anything that was left was either in a state of disrepair or already out of order. Most of the free weights have been removed as well as most anything else that wasn’t nailed down, including computers, phones, sound systems and all membership records. Fortunately most of the selectorized weight machines (have weight stacks & pins) were left behind and are in good working order. In short most anything that could be easily removed was taken.

HRP Properties has a vested interest in the property which was designed solely to be an Athletic Club. We fully intend to continue to operate the property as a full service athletic facility and are committed to restoring the club to its former “fully operational state”.

Some of the items that will be addressed immediately will include the following:
Club HVAC systems will be repaired – this is to begin Monday of this coming week.
The entire club will be deep cleaned from top to bottom – locker rooms, carpets, shower areas – everything.
Cardio equipment will be either repaired or replaced with new
Free Weights will be replaced with new
Stereos and TV’S – replaced with new
Numerous other miscellaneous fitness and operations items replaced with new
Grounds will be cleaned
Pool areas will be renovated as needed

Our phone conversation went a lot further, including where West Seattle (Athletic) Club memberships stand, and more, including Lehr’s background. Adding that shortly.

ADDED 9:31 PM: Lehr says he’s “been in the health and fitness industry for 25 years as a club owner,” including “Redmond Athletic Club, which I designed and built from the ground up.” Again, he says property owner Pietromonaco is now the owner – and that, he says, is rare, for a club operator to own the land and building – and he has been hired to manage and basically rebuild it. He says he generally operates with a “relaxed culture” and wants to “build up morale, get a new culture in there, that starts to emanate to the members – the past two operators have left the members high and dry.”

About the members: Where do they stand?

Lehr says they are “trying to get the membership information, it’s hosted on a cloud site, we’re working to obtain all that. If we can get that, we can start crediting people, extending (their) information because of downtime, but without that, we can’t take care of those folks. But what we will do is start up another club they can come and join for no startup fees. We’re going to try to come up with a dues structure. We’re still gathering information on what (the previous operation) had been selling. We’re going to come up with one that is competitive and still viable to make the club profitable.”

Lehr says he is not entirely sure what the status was as Adams left – was he formally evicted? did he officially hand over the business? Just one thing: “(Adams’ club) is no longer operational. State law requires him to find a comparable facility (to keep members) within 10 miles and he has not done that, so he cannot bill members again.” He says Adams is using “nearby” storage for what he removed from the club.

“We’re going to do the right thing. I’m not sure what that is yet. My past experience, I’ve taken over clubs before. We want everyone to stay. We want the chance to show them (what we can do). … If I can get membership and dues information, then I’m in a seamless situation. If I don’t have that, I can’t.”

He said they hope “to be operational sometime near the end of next week.” (The pool could take up to 4 weeks, since he says they will take the opportunity for some HVAC improvements, repainting, etc., in that part of the club.) “But we have to have a lot in place – a point of sale system, new member contracts,” and they will be meeting with staff. He says they want to be completely “transparent” as they move through the process of opening the “new” club and promises daily updates.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Since it’s been a busy day with windstorm aftermath, Harvest Festival, etc., we don’t have a new standalone story, but did note that the new manager has posted this in comments tonight.

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West Seattle (Athletic) Club update: Closure continues http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-update-closure-day-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-update-closure-day-2/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:33:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289755 (SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE: Club has yet to reopen)

What appears to be a transition at West Seattle (Athletic) Club continues, with the fitness center closed again today, as announced in e-mail Wednesday and posted on the doors Thursday, both saying it will reopen tomorrow. We went by after a tip that police were called there at midday. No officers there when we arrived, but we did see the truck shown above and exercise equipment sitting outside.

SPD told us the call was about “a disturbance,” but did not lead to arrests. Today was the court-ordered deadline for club owner Sam Adams to pay property owner John Pietromonaco $1.1 million or face eviction; when contacted earlier this week, Pietromonaco told WSB that he had “a plan” if that didn’t happen. We asked the King County Sheriff’s Office if it had or was planning to serve eviction papers; spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates said the “writ of restitution” issued October 6th in the unlawful-detainer (eviction) case has been assigned to a detective, but they don’t comment further on specific plans for serving paperwork (or not).

ADDED 9:33 PM: Commenter John sent a photo of the drained pool, visible from the sidewalk:

If you plan on going there first thing tomorrow morning, please let us know (comment, e-mail, phone/text, whatever works) what you find – open, closed, etc. Thank you!

SAT. MORNING, 8:43 AM: We won’t be able to go look for a while longer but as of a short time ago, a caller says, closed and locked, same sign.

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West Seattle (Athletic) Club closed today, tomorrow, with change reported to be in the works http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-closed-today-tomorrow-with-change-reported-to-be-in-the-works/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-closed-today-tomorrow-with-change-reported-to-be-in-the-works/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:05:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289652

Apparently not all West Seattle (Athletic) Club members received the e-mail announcement that the fitness center at 2629 SW Andover is closed today and tomorrow, as the court-ordered deadline for its owner to pay $1.1 million nears. E-mail from several members this morning indicated the closure has indeed happened, without explanation (and we just went over to photograph the sign on the door). We added the announcement last night to our most recent update (read it here).

The closure so far seems to match the scenario laid out in a club employee’s e-mail to some of its fitness instructors; that e-mail suggested the club would reopen under new management/ownership. As first reported here in early October – and reiterated by property owner John Pietromonaco when we spoke with him Tuesday – this Friday is the deadline for owner Sam Adams to pay $1.1 million, mostly back rent, or face eviction. Pietromonaco told us that if Adams failed to do that, he had a plan to keep the club running. If any new information on the club’s future becomes available today, we’ll add to this story.

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West Seattle (Athletic) Club: Three days to $1.1 million deadline http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-3-days-to-1-1-million-deadline/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-3-days-to-1-1-million-deadline/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:54:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289439 (UPDATED Wednesday afternoon with club’s e-mail re: Thursday/Friday closure plan)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The future of the West Seattle (Athletic) Club should be clearer, for now, by the end of the week.

This Friday (October 24th), as reported here two weeks ago, is the deadline for owner Sam Adams to pay $1.1 million in back rent/other payments to landlord John Pietromonaco, to hold off eviction. According to the court orders stipulating that deadline, a “loan contract already executed by [Adams's company] Hollystone Holdings” was going to provide that money.

However, with three days to go, he hasn’t paid up, according to Pietromonaco, who we reached by phone this afternoon.

Pietromonaco told us that officially, the situation remains: Friday is the deadline for Adams to pay what is owed; otherwise, they have court-granted authority for the King County Sheriff’s Office to carry out an eviction order. If that happens, he said without elaborating, they have a plan to keep the club running.

An e-mail from a club employee to some club instructors, forwarded to us anonymously, goes further and suggests that an ownership change is imminent as of next weekend, and that Adams plans to close the club for a time before then to remove equipment, with the unidentified new owner then bringing in their own. In terms of a timeline, Pietromonaco would only say that we’ll see what happens Friday.

As recently as October 8th – the day after we reported the October 24th payment deadline – official club communications were declaring an expectation that ownership/management wouldn’t change. This is from an e-mail blast sent that day to members:

… Here at The West Seattle Club we are committed to serving the needs of our community and appreciate the support from our dedicated members. Despite grumblings we are not closing, nor will the club close unless the landlord chooses. We are currently under a lease and are going back and forth with the landlord on key points. We plan on assuming the lease and continuing to move forward as we upgrade the facility. …

It’s been almost four months since Adams and his wife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on the last weekend in June, facing an eviction hearing the following Monday morning. The filing temporarily put eviction proceedings on hold, and Pietromonaco agreed that if Adams paid a certain amount by an agreed date in August – far lower than the current $1.1 million – operations could continue. That didn’t happen, and a new cycle of court proceedings followed, as reported here in September.

Adams, a former pro-football player, bought the club in spring 2013 during bankruptcy proceedings for the previous operation there, Allstar Fitness. His current Chapter 11 case has grown to include claims that he is also behind on rent on his waterfront home in Kirkland, purchased in a $3.8 million rent-to-own deal, with the landlords’ lawyer writing in court documents that they “… have been models of patience in awaiting the payment of rent.”

According to county records, Pietromonaco’s H-P Properties bought the two-acre 2629 SW Andover fitness-club property in 2008 for $17 million.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON FOLLOWUP: Thanks to those who have forwarded the club’s e-mail blast saying it’ll be closed tomorrow and Friday, reopening Saturday. That’s the entirety of what it says.

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West Seattle food news: Hot Chocolat on TV; Coastline crowdfunding adds commenter’s suggestion http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-food-news-hot-chocolat-on-tv-coastline-crowdfunding-adds-commenters-suggestion/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-food-news-hot-chocolat-on-tv-coastline-crowdfunding-adds-commenters-suggestion/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:39:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288783 Two West Seattle food-biz notes:

FIREFIGHTER WITH A NOT-SO-SECRET IDENTITY: Embedded above is the recent Evening Magazine profile of Chef Michael Poole and his artisan candy business, Hot Chocolat Artisan Firehouse Chocolates. Even if you saw the profile on TV, you might not have realized Chef Poole is based in West Seattle. His day job, as the TV feature shows, is as a lieutenant in the Seattle Fire Department dispatch center; in his “spare time” he has space at one of the commercial kitchens in The Triangle, making his Hot Chocolat creations. (We met him there earlier this year.) His culinary career started out with a more general line of catering, but he eventually went on to study and work with master sweets-crafters in France. He sells his chocolates online and also has some retail outlets, including Chaco Canyon Organic Café in The Triangle, where you can buy his vegan chocolates.

COASTLINE CROWDFUNDING ADDS PUNCHCARDS: It was suggested by WSB commenter Goodgraces, and now it’s part of the crowdfunding campaign for Coastline, the “burger joint” that is taking over the ex-Shoofly spot in The Junction. One of the partners, Aaron Shepherd, sent this update tonight:

Responding to community feedback in regards to their hopes for participation with the Kickstarter campaign, we have Upgraded our Rewards. We’ve added a new category of “Punch Cards”:

4 Burger Punch Card for $25
6 Burger Punch Card for $35
9 Burger Punch Card for $45
12 Burger Punch Card for $55
15 Burger Punch Card for $65

We hope people are excited about the Upgraded Rewards, and look forward to seeing everyone at Coastline ASAP.

Shepherd says they hope to open in about a month.

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Congratulations! West Seattle Thriftway’s Paul Kapioski accepts Grocer of the Year honors http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/congratulations-west-seattle-thriftways-paul-kapioski-accepts-grocer-of-the-year-honors/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/congratulations-west-seattle-thriftways-paul-kapioski-accepts-grocer-of-the-year-honors/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:42:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288676

Congratulations to Paul Kapioski, owner of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction, just honored as the Washington Food Industry Association‘s 2014 Grocer of the Year. The award was announced in a surprise presentation at the store this morning; Kapioski said his staffers are the people who “make the store happen”:

WFIA says the award is given for “lifetime commitment to the independent grocery industry and exemplification of business leadership.” WS Thriftway celebrated its 25th anniversary just last year. The store’s ongoing campaign of community giving includes donations to the West Seattle Food Bank as well as summer-long series of benefit barbecues every year, with proceeds going to community nonprofits.

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West Seattle real estate: The Pacific Institute’s HQ is up for sale http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-real-estate-the-pacific-institutes-hq-is-up-for-sale/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-real-estate-the-pacific-institutes-hq-is-up-for-sale/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 01:44:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288461

(King County Assessor’s Office photo)
The latest check of commercial-real-estate listings revealed a big new listing on Harbor Avenue: Right across from Seacrest, the world headquarters of international consultancy The Pacific Institute is on the market. The listing for the 18-year-old, five-story building at 1709 Harbor Avenue SW has its own website, titled Seattle Waterfront Office, where you can see photos and descriptions of each floor – offices, conference rooms, rooftop deck, fifth-floor living quarters used by visitors.

Two years have passed since The Pacific Institute’s chair and co-founder Lou Tice died, survived by his wife, co-founder Diane Tice, who remains active with TPI. The company’s Facebook page mentions that the Tices’ ranch retreat in Central Washington will be offered at auction this Thursday. Meantime, the 1709 Harbor building is listed “without an asking price,” inviting “offers … at any time.” Here’s the official flyer. We contacted The Pacific Institute for comment after seeing the listing, and they promised “a statement” sometime this week.

SIDE NOTE: West Seattle’s northeastern waterfront has other properties on the market too – the potential waterfront-development site at 2300 Harbor SW is listed at $5,750,000; the three-year-old live-work complex at 2383 Harbor SW is listed at $3,745,000; 2605-2645 Harbor is listed with a “negotiable price”; immediately southeast of that site, vacant land at 2651 Harbor SW is listed for $390,000; and the GT Towing yard at 3200 Harbor SW remains on the market, currently listed at $750,000.

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Terminal 5′s future, port alliance spotlighted as West Seattle Chamber of Commerce hears from Port Commission co-president http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/terminal-5s-future-port-alliance-spotlighted-as-west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-hears-from-port-commission-co-president/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/terminal-5s-future-port-alliance-spotlighted-as-west-seattle-chamber-of-commerce-hears-from-port-commission-co-president/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 20:03:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288230

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce took its lunch meeting on the road today – or, more like, to the shore, at Port of Seattle-owned Jack Block Park, where attendees heard from Stephanie Bowman, co-president of the Port Commission.

She introduced new port CEO Ted Fick, in his second week on the job. His first task is to “take a fresh look at the port and how we do business,” explained Bowman.

Her topics: First, the just-completed cruise-ship season, a “thriving industry” with 197 ship calls this year – and, she noted, an industry full of spending visitors, helpful for a “sales-tax-(dependent) state.” Second, Sea-Tac Airport, where international travel is vital, and a terminal serving it is being rebuilt, and where, she said, the baggage-handling system is being improved, too, thanks in part to a “big grant from the federal government” – helping with a $400 million project.

The big issue of specific West Seattle interest: The fate of Terminal 5 (closed since midsummer, as reported here in July), steps away from today’s luncheon location.

“It looks really empty now, but it’s not going to be empty for long,” vowed Bowman. “It’s not going to be a transit center, it’s not going to be a homeless center – it’s going to be a (marine-business location).” She insisted that it is “really important” to the port and that they are continuing to look at “marine-related interim uses,” while the modernization project is under way.

But she spent even more time talking about the just-announced Seattle/Tacoma port “alliance,” something she said was, in one way, 30 years in the making, despite the ports’ longtime competition, which she said in the past decade had become “corrosive.” She pointed out that she had worked at the Port of Tacoma and understands its culture – and observed that Tacoma’s port has more community support than Seattle’s port seems to have, despite its importance as an economic engine and generator of good-paying jobs (averaging $74,000, she said).

Bowman said the talks to create the new Seaport Alliance – “not a merger of the two ports,” she stressed – had been under way for 10 months. She says Tacoma’s current port CEO John Wolfe is likely going to become CEO of the alliance.

“We maintain ownership of all our assets – we still own the marine terminals, they’ll just be managed by the Seaport Alliance,” Bowman explained. What’s NOT part of the Seaport Alliance? The cruise-ship business, homeport fishing industries, the real-estate division (Bell Harbor, World Trade Center, other properties), the airport (which is 75 percent of the port’s revenue, she pointed out).

Next Tuesday, the two ports’ commissions will meet jointly in Auburn and vote on an “interlocal agreement” forming the alliance’s foundation. More details will be worked out over about six months after that, including how to measure its performance, how the CEO would be hired/fired, and more. And once those details are finalized, next spring, the plan will be submitted to a federal regulatory agency. “It’s a paradigm shift,” she declared, saying other ports around the country are expected to take inspiration from it – maybe, for example, Los Angeles and Long Beach. “We’re trying to set an example of how governments can” cooperate toward what’s best for their regions.

In Q/A, asked how the new alliance might function with regard to lobbying, she said that for example if the SODO arena comes up again, there would be two port commissions that could explain why they believe it would be detrimental to the maritime industry. Another followup about Terminal 5 asked about traffic studies; nothing yet, since this is just in a preliminary stage. “We don’t want to negatively affect the community” with increased traffic from bigger ships, she stressed, and also pointed out that much of the terminal value is in its railroad connections. Another T-5 note: The Port just signed its agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the feasibility study of deepening both waterways along West Seattle/Harbor Island. She also estimated that it could be up to five years before T-5 is back up and running.

Another attendee asked about delays in getting cargo out of Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. Port official Linda Stryk, who was also present, talked about a “morning rush hour” that does back up sometimes, but said the flow seems to be better-managed during other times of day – and said it tends to run better than some of its Southern California counterparts.

Speaking of competitors, she talked about something that’s come up in the Port’s discussions of modernization and upgrades – dealing with rivals to the north, such as Prince Rupert, B.C., which is 24 hours closer by sea from Asia, she said, and “is in the middle of nowhere,” meaning the cargo doesn’t have challenges in getting through an urban area. Customers want to know how fast their products can get from Point A to Point B, Bowman explained.

Also at today’s WS Chamber lunch:

WEST SEATTLE YMCA EXPANSION: Josh Sutton, regional executive for the Y (which is a WSB sponsor), spoke briefly about the expansion, first reported here a month ago.

“It’s time to take care of the facility again, even as we strengthen programs in the community” including their school-based program, he said. They’re almost halfway to the $5.5 million fundraising goal for the project and hope to start construction in summer 2015; as noted previously, they expect to keep the existing facilities open throughout the year-long construction project. By the way, if you have questions, the Y just announced another community meeting, including translation in multiple languages, coming up October 22nd; full details here.

CHAMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS: The next After Hours event, October 23rd, will be at Lafarge; November 1st, the Chamber will lead a 9 am-noon cleanup at Walking on Logs (contact Chamber CEO Lynn Dennis – lynn@wschamber.org – to get involved); November 9th is the next Chamber lunch meeting; November 20th is the annual holiday After Hours at Westwood Village.

(P.S. We’ll be adding photos to this report as soon as we’re back at headquarters.)

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West Seattle biznotes: Chili x 9; first anniversary x 2; more http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-biznotes-chili-x-9-first-anniversary-x-2-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-biznotes-chili-x-9-first-anniversary-x-2-more/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:14:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288186 A round of West Seattle biznotes tonight:

CHILI COOKOFF COMPETITORS SET: The Junction Association says it’s filled out the field with nine restaurants ready to face off in a cookoff, the Chili Competition that’ll be part of the West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival (co-sponsored by WSB) on Sunday, October 26th:

The 2nd Annual Chili Competition has its official slate of contestants. Thank you for helping to make this West Seattle Food Bank fundraiser possible.

Easy Street Café
Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub
Feedback Lounge
Husky Deli
Quadrato
Shadowland
Terra Cole Butchery
The Swinery
West 5

Husky took the title last year; you can help choose this year’s winner by buying a flight of chili during the event 11 am-1 pm on festival day. (The festival itself runs 10 am-2 pm, including the Farmers’ Market moved out into California SW for the occasion, plus a costume parade at 11:30 am, trick-or-treating at noon, and kids’ activities for the duration. See you there!)

SPEAKING OF QUADRATO … the Junction sandwich/pizza shop at 4302 SW Oregon, owned by Cary Kemp (who also owns Pizzeria 22 in The Admiral District), celebrated its 1st anniversary this week.

AND SPEAKING OF FIRST ANNIVERSARIES … also starting Year 2 is Second Gear Sports in Morgan Junction. Their announcement:

Second Gear Sports is celebrating its first anniversary this weekend! We have been so mightily embraced and supported by the entire community and we feel incredibly fortunate! On October 11, starting at 10 a.m. we will have cake, giveaways, and special discounts. At 2 p.m., Joe Albert from Bellevue’s FiveLo will be bringing a host of Seahawks-inspired gear, including their popular 12th Man ArmSox.

Second Gear is at 6529 California SW.

WEST SEATTLE CYCLERY ON THE ROAD: Actually, on the path:

Tomorrow, Thursday morning, West Seattle Cyclery will be under the West Seattle Bridge with our tent serving a little coffee, snacks and providing on the spot service. We should be set up after 6 am. We will be there until around 9-ish. We know that bike winter commuting in Seattle can be tough so we will be doing this on Thursday mornings a few times a month.

They’ll announce future dates online.

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West Seattle (Athletic) Club update: Deadline set for $1.1 million payment http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-update-deadline-set-for-1-1-million-payment/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-athletic-club-update-deadline-set-for-1-1-million-payment/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 04:22:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288068

(WSB file photo of West Seattle Club)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

New information tonight from the ongoing proceedings related to the proprietor of the West Seattle Club (formerly the West Seattle Athletic Club). When last we wrote about this on September 3rd, the property’s owner was trying to reopen the most recent “unlawful detainer” complaint – an action that can lead to eviction – which had been put on hold when club proprietor Sam Adams filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization in June.

On September 3rd, Adams, landlord John Pietromonaco, and their respective lawyers were in federal bankruptcy court downtown to argue over whether that hold (technically a stay) could be lifted. Adams hadn’t paid even the partial rent owed, his landlord’s lawyer David Tall argued, and had had enough time to do so. Judge Marc Barreca agreed the stay on the “unlawful detainer” proceedings could be lifted.

Though that case had been closed for lack of activity since the June stay, Tall filed to reopen it, and a King County Superior Court judge granted that request in mid-September. A hearing subsequently was set for yesterday morning in the Regional Justice Center courtroom where such cases are heard on Monday mornings if things haven’t been worked out before the hearing date. (When a similar action was scheduled for a hearing in February, it didn’t happen, because Adams had made a payment.)

This time, there was a hearing, albeit a brief one. The property owner’s lawyer Tall was there; no one was there on Adams’ behalf. But in these types of hearings, the documents usually say much more than the words actually spoken in court, so we waited to see them before writing this update, and by late today, they were available online.

Bottom line to the main document, an “agreed order”: If the landlord gets $1,150,000 by October 24th, the “unlawful detainer” case will be dismissed. According to the “agreed order,” that money is “being procured by financing to be extended to Hollystone Holdings Inc. pursuant to a loan contract already executed by Hollystone Holdings by its officer, Sam A. Adams.” The “agreed order” did not include any further details of that financing, but as noted in our last report, Adams’ lawyer told the bankruptcy judge in September that his client was pursuing a $3 million loan.

The “agreed order” also says that any and all “liens against the premises” must be paid with the expected loan money. Meantime, as this plays out in state court, Adams’ Chapter 11 case continues; documents in the federal file say one of the upcoming matters to be decided is the future of the club lease.

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West Seattle biznotes: Who’s new in two local storefronts http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-biznotes-whos-new-in-two-local-storefronts/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-biznotes-whos-new-in-two-local-storefronts/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:04:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287343 Two local storefronts have new tenants:

FIRST DAY FOR FLOURISH BEAUTY: The former Young At Art storefront at Fauntleroy/Raymond is now home to the salon/spa Flourish Beauty. Proprietor Tiann Stubberfield e-mailed to say this was their first day in business. Tiann describes herself as “a born and raised West Seattle gal!” You might know her most recently for running Coco Bar at Ola Salon; she adds, “All of the gals working here are also West Seattleites who have been practicing for anywhere from 3-15 years.” They’ll be celebrating their opening with an open house Sunday, October 19th, noon-4 pm.

LIKA LOVE GOES BRICKS AND MORTAR: The mobile boutique you’ve seen around West Seattle for some time now is acquiring a fixed location. Malika Siddiq‘s Lika Love is moving into the former Clementine’s storefront at 4447 California SW in The Junction, with a grand opening planned 4-8 pm on October 9th.

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Followup: What West Seattle’s Lafarge plant is doing, after federal settlement of water-pollution investigation http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-what-west-seattles-lafarge-plant-is-doing-after-federal-settlement-of-water-pollution-investigation/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-what-west-seattles-lafarge-plant-is-doing-after-federal-settlement-of-water-pollution-investigation/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:13:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287239 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A long-running water-pollution investigation involving the Lafarge plant in West Seattle has ended with a settlement and fine. As first reported Sunday by seattlepi.com, the company was fined $300,000, confirmed operations manager Jonathan Hall in an interview with WSB.

The investigation dates back to 2006. Hall (WSB photo at right) says the settlement has been “under discussion for close to 2 years” and was finalized by the U.S. Department of Justice a week ago. “The conversation encompassed a wide range of topics, and we have made some infrastructure changes here as part of that settlement, and of course also worked on some of the practices that we had … to make sure we were super tight as a result.”

The plant has gone through a major change since then, shutting down its kiln in 2010, but Hall said that since the “primary alleged violations were related to stormwater and stormwater-management practices, and of course it still rains here,” the settlement was relevant to its current operations. “We endeavor to keep a tight facility; we actually have close to 2 million gallons of stormwater storage here (and) have created a tight perimeter literally around the very edge of the plant, all the way around,” with curbing. “Part of that was what we agreed to, to the final 100 percent. We’re pretty proud of that … we think we strive to be something that the regulators are proud of, and believe we’re pretty damn close to that.”

100 percent of “the stormwater that falls on the site” is collected, Hall said, and retained to be treated before being discharged into the river. “Twice a day, crews are out inspecting all our transfer stations for the water. We are closely monitoring tank levels and the water treatment system, and (spend) a whole lot of time making sure the area the water does fall on is swept as quickly as it can be after it’s been used. … Water is a huge focus point for us.”

Hall says there are no other pollution-related actions pending regarding the plant – “this closes out all the action we’re aware of.”

One of Lafarge’s current lines of work is related to the ongoing cleanup work on the river; dredged sediments move through the plant on the way to a landfill. “We are an access point for bringing it out.” That work, said Hall, has for more than two years been reusing part of the plant that otherwise has been inactive since the kiln shutdown.

That’s part of “how we re-created the facility,” a topic we also discussed in our conversation at the plant. It has a permanent staff of about 30, with about 30 other workers of varius statuses on site, on any given day. They are the “#1 distributor of low-carbon-dioxide cements,” and of products using recycled materials, such as “cementitious cements.” Hall mentions nine different products, four of them “close to 100 percent recycled,” the others with varying amounts of recycled content.

One of the major materials they use, he says, is “granulated blast furnace slag,” which is used for a product not manufactured anywhere else on the West Coast. Yes, we asked, but no, it doesn’t come from Nucor, which uses a different type of process than the one creating what is used at Lafarge, slag that comes from Japan.

Their products are being well-utilized in projects around town, including the Seawall Replacement Project, says Hall, who is in his fourth year running the plant at 5400 W. Marginal Way SW.

One more question – has the forthcoming merger led to any changes yet? Nothing major, he says, but there’s a bit of irony – Lafarge bought this plant from Holcim, the firm it’s merging with, back in 1997.

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Thinking Halloween yet? Kids’ costume swap Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/thinking-halloween-yet-kids-costume-swap-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/thinking-halloween-yet-kids-costume-swap-wednesday/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:15:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287167 One month until Halloween – and if you have kids, you know you can’t put off costumes until the last minute, whether you’re making them or buying them. There is another option – swapping costumes – and you’ll have a chance this Wednesday (October 1st) at My Three Little Birds in south Morgan Junction. Proprietor Jennifer Young says you can bring in a no-longer-needed (doesn’t fit, etc.) kids’ costume 1-5 pm that day and trade it for another one. Her shop is at 6959 California SW. (Anyone else doing costume swaps this year? Let us know!)

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