The Student News Site of Ballard High School



No Place For Hate
April 17, 2024
Barbie not being nominated for best director and best actress overshadowed the nominations and wins of other films, like Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon.
Enough about 'Barbie'
March 26, 2024
Follow Us on Instagram

Recent Ballard development leaves little room for roots

Bartels demolition was not the first change

Ceci Atkins and Sam Heikell Staff Reporters
Originally published April 1, 2015

Cassin Stacy Bartell Drugs will now be located at the base of a new apartment building.

Cassin Stacy

Bartell Drugs will now be located at the base of a new apartment building.

On Tuesday, March 3, a crowd of people formed outside of the Ballard Public Library got a final glimpse of yet another piece of Ballard as it got torn down. Across the street, Ballard’s Bartell Drugs store was being demolished. The 30,000 square foot property had been there for a little over two decades.

“I never had a strong connection with that specific building, but it’s always sad to see a part of older Ballard go down,” sophomore Jack Nelson said as he watched the building collapse. “I feel like the biggest changes in Ballard are old buildings going down to make condos, and it’s depressing … They are taking good Ballard culture and putting monotone buildings in their place.”

Ballard, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle, was established in 1853 and has been refining itself for over 150 years. It now has become one of Seattle’s most popular and fast growing neighborhoods. But within the last ten years there has been an influx of new compact real estate that has greatly increased the density of the Ballard area.

The emergence of new housing developments has kicked out the roots of Ballard’s culture by adding as much as 4,000 more homes within the last five years. Recently built condominiums and townhouses built on subdivided lots have brought high levels of traffic and crime.

“It [the building of compact real estate] is getting rid of all the uniqueness that Ballard once had,” sophomore Erika Weber said. “It takes away from all the good qualities of old Ballard.”

In January 2010, many people were saddened by the demolition of Ballard’s only bowling alley, Sunset Bowl. A 234-unit building was built in its place by Avalonbay Communities Incorporation. Other historic ballard locations such as the old Ballard Public Library and the Ballard Denny’s, which exemplified 44 year old “Googie” architecture that portrayed Ballards identity, were also demolished.

“I thought it would be great [the new urbanization of Ballard], but the new residents don’t shop, they just stay in their condos and online shop on their laptops,” Cheryl O’Conner, owner of Ballard Home Comforts, said.

Many old Ballard homes are now sharing their lots with new modern town houses, taking away from the historic value of the original property. Many developers are pushing homeowners to sell out their property to allow for compact housing to be built in its place.

“Some developers came to my parents wanting to buy their Ballard home that I grew up in,” Ballard resident and language arts teacher Brook Brayman said. “My parents ended up selling out and the developers ripped down the house, putting in three town houses. It was mind boggling that people would want to live that close together, it felt like a rat’s warren.”

With all the recent construction, 7,000 new people have taken up residence in Ballard within the past five years.

Although many oppose the new developments, some hope that the new construction will bring economic prosperity for local businesses. The new atmosphere is appealing to a younger crowd and is bringing in new revenue for Ballard.

“I like the old buildings, but there are a lot of new businesses coming in their place, which I think is good,” freshman Nick Lang said.

Some store owners are disappointed by how this new demographic of customers are reacting to their products.

“The new crowd of people are mainly interested in the nightlife and in drinking at local places and screwing things up,” Kris Smith, manager of botanical store The Palm Room, said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Talisman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ballard High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Talisman

Comments (0)

All Talisman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Recent Ballard development leaves little room for roots