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Construction stalled due to hazardous contamination at the empty lot at Woodlawn and Latona

What do you think? (7 Comments) June 17, 2010 at 12:04PM

Updated Thursday, May 5, 2011 with corrected information about the height of The Hearthstone.

A recent request from for some historical information has led us down an interesting path, ending at the muddy lot at Woodlawn Ave NE and Latona Ave NE.  It turns out that there is a high level of hazardous contamination at the site.  Read on for all of the details.

My Green Lake reader Victoria sent us this query:

I am looking for information regarding the laundry that existed in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. It was across from the Albertsons store and I think the name was Sunshine Laundry. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

My grandmother worked at the laundry for many years. As she was my main caregiver, I would go there after school to wait for her shift to end. She and the other “ladies” of the laundry used to let me do little jobs to keep me entertained while I waited. I can say with pride that to this day I fold a pretty perfect sheet.

We did a bit of digging and confirmed that, from 1931 all the way through 1977, there was indeed a Sunshine Laundry and Cleaners in east Green Lake.  It began as a laundry operation and, in 1948, expanded to a second building which housed a dry cleaner.  The two buildings were located on Woodlawn Ave NE between Latona Ave NE and 4th Ave NE.

The dry cleaning building still stands and has, since 1977, housed PSS Plastic Sales & Service (6870 Woodlawn Ave).

The laundry building, located at 6860 Woodlawn Ave NE, was later occupied by a pastry shop and a bakery.  It was demolished in early 2009, along with an adjacent structure which was at various times home to a locksmith, Yasuko’s Teriyaki, and Cafe Maree.  The lot has remained empty for a year and a half.

Empty lot at Woodlawn and Latona

Empty lot at Woodlawn and Latona

The lot is owned by The Hearthstone, a continuing care retirement community which has occupied a 10-story concrete building at 6720 E Green Lake Way N since 1966.

As we reported in March, The Hearthstone plans to build a four-story building on the site.  A sketch of the building-to-be, called Village Cove, can be seen in the property’s marketing materials.  The residence will contain “luxury one- and two- bedroom apartments,” a library, medical clinic, wellness center, dental clinic, fine dining facilities, business center, and underground parking.

The Hearthstone also plans to expand beyond the empty lot to the current Plastics Sales and Service location, formerly the dry cleaning building.  A second four-story building will be built at this location.  (Land Use Applications can be found here.)

However, construction has been stalled, due to a high level of hazardous contamination at the site.  The contamination stems from the use of solvents by both the dry cleaner and Plastic Sales & Service.

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology,

[...] the Site was ranked “2″ on the Washington State Hazerdous Sites List on February 5, 2008.  This ranking is based on a scale of 1 to 5.  According to this scale “1″ represents the highest relative risk, and “5″ represents the lowest relative risk.  This ranking is designed to estimate the potential threat to human health and/or the environment, relative to all other sites in Washington State.

I contacted Sunny Becker of the Department of Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program.  Becker told me that The Hearthstone and Plastic Sales & Service have entered into an Agreed Order with the Department of Ecology.  The Agreed Order, which became effective in September, states that all three parties will work together to find solutions to the contamination at the site.  This process is currently underway.

Becker also told me that construction the Hearthstone’s Village Cove project may begin on the empty lot in August of this year.

The Department of Ecology will be holding a public comment period for Hearthstone’s cleanup and development proposal.  My Green Lake will be notified when more details about the comment period are available.  We will be sure to share that information with you.

A separate cleanup process is underway with Plastic Sales & Service.  We’ll keep you in the loop as that develops as well.

7 Responses to “Construction stalled due to hazardous contamination at the empty lot at Woodlawn and Latona”

  1. seattler0cks says:

    Another nice piece of detective work, Amy.

  2. Karenjlaurie says:

    I knew the bits and pieces of that story, but I'm glad to see them all tied together. Thanks for reporting on this piece of land!

  3. BrandTallDeb says:

    Amy – I love it when you answer the questions we haven't even asked you yet–I have wondered about this lot for years. I also love the work you do to tell us about the history of our neighborhood. We all benefit from having a super-sleuth in the 'hood! Deb Kapsner

  4. Annefranceskelly says:

    Interesting factoid, did any of you know that Parks pharmacy was once a bowling alley? Or that Cloud 9 on Roosevelt was once a movie theater? My mother in law grew up in Wallingford in the mid 1930's to late 1940's and shared these facts with me many years ago. Gasworks was once real and Wallingford was once very blue collar, gritty, and dirty! sometime progress is a good thing…except for the high real estate prices…

  5. I like this article! Will come again next time for sure, thank again

  6. I like this article! Will come again next time for sure, thank again

  7. [...] Contamination at the site stems from the use of solvents by a dry cleaner that operated at the location for nearly 30 years and by PSS Plastic Sales & Service, which is located next door to the empty lot.  (You can read more about the hazardous contamination at the site here.) [...]