Steve Shay
Some of the core neighborhood activists who helped establish the 500 square-foot Palm Court, 1718 California Ave. S.W., stand on a cement area that will soon have a park bench. They are (left to right) Annie Higgins, Gail Scheible, Ryan Higgins, Clay Eals, Andrew Harnish and Judy Pigott.

Palm Court to be new public space

A five-foot by 100-foot swath of property that runs along the front wooden fence of the North Admiral Lofts, 1718 California Ave. S.W., will soon become a public space.

The landscaped mini-park, Palm Court, will accommodate four benches. The dedication will take place Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m. Seattle City Council member Jean Godden will speak.

Godden inspected the site four and a half years ago to insure that a public easement was included in the sale documents with the entire lot. That lot included the strip of land, the old four-plex behind it and an out-dated Seattle City Light substation behind the four-plex.

The entire lot was sold from private ownership to developers Dan Duffus and Mark Potvin of the Capitol Hill-based developer, Mark Potvin, Gerrard Beattie & Knapp. Palm Court is now a public easement.

"It is one of those small victories you have in the city you can cheer about," said Godden, who many remember as a writer for the Post Intelligencer.

"The neighbors originally were thinking P-Patch or park or something (on the substation portion of the lot) but the location only had alley access," said Godden. "The neighbors and city struck a deal with a developer who bought the lots in order to have this amenity for the neighborhood. People say 'Seattle is 90 neighborhoods in search of a city.' This ordinance will have benefits all over the city in its many neighborhoods."

"It is a small, but I think symbolic, preservation of open space that indicates the city is sensitive to that and not just selling off its property," said Clay Eals, who lives next door to the site. His condominium association became involved with the project.

"This strip looks like part of the (townhouse) project but it will be public until 2026," said. "What a nice place to sit, in front of a nursing home and bus stop."

The Park West Skilled Nursing Center is across the street.

"I'm just thrilled this is finally coming to fruition," said Potvin, who will supply refreshments and have an open house at the North Admiral Lofts during the dedication. "It's a wonderful success story on the part of the neighborhood over the last four years to strike the right kind of deal."

"It is wonderful to broaden the 'sidewalk/people aspect' of all of this," said neighbor Judy Pigott. "I believe this (project) will increase the value of the townhouses by giving the development more sense of neighborhood."

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