What’s a Belltowner to do?


2nd 6

There’s been a twist in the ongoing story of what’s going to happen with the old Mama’s building.

…and it may require a twist to our community strategy for the landmark nomination hearing on September 7.

Friends of Historic Belltown met with the Mama’s Building owners’ rep and architects on Tuesday, and while they definitely want to take down the existing building, they also want to work with the community to make a cool project worthy of this location. They want to do something that has something in it for the locals (i.e., the 2nd Ave crowd).  They want to meet with the locals to develop specific designs.

And while nothing is specific yet, they are very open to several other suggestions we had, such as:

  • providing workforce housing units for artist/restaurant industry folks
  • including a floor with artists’ workshops (for residents and maybe even available for rent by the community)
  • a downstairs music venue instead of parking (the Belltown Underground)
  • a woonerf in the alley (which could include alley seating areas for 2nd Ave bars)
  • other ideas the 2nd Ave community may have
A Woonerf
A Woonerf

In short, they said they wanted to do this project right – to be an example of how to build in Belltown in a way that builds on and improves the character of the block we love — not that tears it down.


But now – after having such a promising meeting with them — we’re in the conflicting and awkward position of having to be adversarial at the landmark nomination hearing on September 7.

It’s a tough spot to be in.

We’re trying to figure out a way to not burn an opportunity, while at the same time not turning our backs on this iconic building in the center of the Belltown universe.

We’re thinking the City process may force us to play both hands: fight for the nomination, while working with the owners’ group and design team.


We’d love to hear any suggestions or comments — so please let us know on the Saving Second Avenue Facebook Page.  And as always….STAY TUNED!




Mama’s building landmark public meeting is September 7th!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall

600 4th Avenue, Floor 1, the Bertha Knight Landes Room. 

Remember the public hearing for the Wayne apartments?

…when all of Belltown’s 2nd Ave faithful marched down to City Hall to speak up for the block?

And remember that it worked?

Well, the time has come again for another discussion with City Hall about the significance of historic buildings on the block. This time, it’s about the Mama’s building, a cornerstone at the heart of Belltown’s cultural center: 2nd and Bell.

Like with the Wayne, the owners and their attorneys and hired experts will argue that the building is not historic.

mama 6

And (we hope) like the Wayne, the community voice will be strong enough to show that this building is significant to our neighborhood identity and is worthy of designation as a City Landmark, per City Standards.

But the case is not as clear as it was with the Wayne. This time, we don’t have a close association with the first Denny Regrade Project — a fact that was central to the successful designation of the Wayne.

So this time, community support for the landmark nomination is even more important than it was for the Wayne.

We need to show that the 2nd ave community cares about its buildings — that it cares about THIS building and its “prominence of location” at the heart of Belltown.

In short — we need you!!!

Specifically, we need people to attend this important meeting and show community interest and support. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEAK.  Just you being there is a vote for the significance of the building.

For more information, contact us at info@friendsofhistoricbelltown.org and STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES on this website and on Facebook (Saving Second Avenue)