Death of a Street Wall


[ Photo: Dan Bertolet ]

This was the mother of all street walls, on Airport Way in Georgetown: about 50 feet straight up, and only 5 or 6 feet back from the curb. The sense of enclosure you’d feel along this street was like nothing else in Seattle.

Though some speculate otherwise, the demolition of the Rainier Cold Storage “Stockhouse” building is not just another case of gentrification run amok. As reported here, the floor of the building had frozen the ground underneath it, and after the cooler was shut down in 2002, severe settling rendered the building structurally unsound.

As for gentrification in Georgetown, there are some fundamentals working against it. The neighborhood is buried in freeways, offramps, railroads, airports, industrial warehouses, paint factories and the like. Another Wallingford it can never be. It’s hard to imagine it going to much more upscale than All City Coffee. Good thing that.

3 Responses to “Death of a Street Wall”

  1. g-town wa-wa

    The developer came in with a predetermined plan, administered a good PR campaign to defuse any potential community opposition, and fought the historical boards every step of the way. Now the tear down has stopped–because a wall is too stubborn to come down. Imagine that, from a building that was doomed to imminent “collapse”! Turn the camera 30 degrees to the right…

  2. dan bertolet

    Hey there g-town wa-wa, any chance you could give us something more than speculation? Do you really believe that the KPFF engineers and the DPD engineers conspired to get this building taken down?

    Do you have any support for your speculation that because the wall has been difficult to demolish it means that the the engineers were wrong and the building was structurally sound?

  3. Seattle Twist » RIP Rainier Cold Storage stock house

    […] Dan Bertolet at hugeasscity.com points out that the cooler in the building had frozen the ground underneath, and when the cooler was turned off in 2002, the resulting settling made the building unsound. At the Slog there’s a lot of discussion about whether it really needed to come down, and whether this is another step towards gentrifying Georgetown. We hope not. The Seattle P-I gives history and more info here. […]

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