The Queen Anne Book Company Opens this Friday

All you Seattle book worms can rejoice! The independently owned bookwormlocal bookstore once known as Queen Anne Books will be reopening this Friday, March 1st with a new name, Queen Anne Book Company, and new owners. After closing last Fall, many were sad to see it go but after hearing of its new opening many are happy and excited for this weekend just as co-owners Judy de Jonge and Janis Segress are. There is plenty of fun scheduled throughout the weekend to celebrate the opening. There will be author appearances and book signings. The new store will sell traditional books as well as e-readers. If you love books and are looking for something to do this weekend, stop by the Queen Anne Book Company at 1811 Queen Anne Ave N. and help support a small local business.

Seattle Home Prices Take a Dip in December

wash park home

Washington Park Home

According to the Seattle Times, homes for sale in the Seattle area dropped .5% in December, right after reaching a two year high in November, (based on the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index). This did not come as much of a surprise to those who have been watching for trends in the market for the past several years, as Seattle’s drop seemed to be due to seasonal factors- the holidays and end of the year in December are generally a slow time for residential real estate sales. When those factors were taken into account,  the Seattle area actually rose .7% month over month last year, and prices rose 8.2% from December 2011. These calculations include the Seattle area within King, Snohomish and Pierce County.

Overall, the Times stated that the Seattle area’s Case Shiller score for December was 141.75, which is 41.75 higher than the score in January of 2000. Stay tuned for more updates in the Housing Market!

Solar Neighborhood Project Energizes Seattle Neighborhoods

34561[1]Many in Seattle question whether it’s worth investing time and money in solar panels given that Seattle isn’t known for its constant sunny days. Keith Hughes, owner of West Seattle Natural Energy, pointed out that, “Berlin, Germany receives 3.2 peak sun hours per day, and 44 percent of Germany’s energy production comes from solar” where as “Seattle receives 3.8 peak hours of sunlight per day and only 1½ percent of its energy comes from solar power.”

Seattle City Light and Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) are working together to promote and change the way Seattle uses renewable energy through their  Washington initiative. The goal is to change one neighborhood at a time and to have 150 solar systems operating by the summer 2013 . Projects have already been done Queen Anne and Magnolia as well as other Seattle neighborhoods. When a community agrees to go solar Northwest SEED searches for vendors that will give bulk discount for supplies and installation to the homeowners. Each neighborhood is set up on a grid so that the energy that is not used by one homeowner will flow to other neighbors within the grid.

It is estimated that in the past two years Washington has pumped nearly $4 million into the local economy, created 14 new jobs and has generated more than 600 kilowatts of solar electricity to Seattle’s grid. Seattle City Light estimates that only 600 out of its 400,000 customers use solar energy. Benefits of using solar panels are tax credits and rebates as well as lower energy bills. Living in Seattle helps a little too. Seattle’s annual lower temperatures allow the solar panels to work better and the rain washes them off.


Possibility of Streetcars returning to Seattle

It has been over 70 years since Seattle has had streetcars. Once people began moving out of the city and into suburbs and cars became more popular and convenient, there wasn’t as much of a need for them. The railTrolleys were removed and paved streets took their place. But now, as more and more people begin moving back into the city the idea of bringing back functioning streetcars has emerged.

One idea is to have the streetcar run down 4th and 5th which would serve mostly commuters and may not have as much use on the weekends as the more favored idea of having the streetcar run down 1st Avenue would. Although having it run on 4th and 5th would be almost $50 million cheaper, being on 1st, the streetcar would run past bars, new restaurants, shops and places that are more popular to tourists all days of the week including weekends. Tom Graff of Ewing and Clark, Inc. agrees that running down 1st is the better option. It would help boost business and attract more to the area.

Some business owners are concerned that if the project does move forward, construction may cause problems by limiting parking spaces and obstructing accessibility to their businesses. They realize that they will benefit from it being on 1st and accept the idea if construction can be controlled. The City of Seattle held an open house Wednesday evening for those who wanted to learn more and discuss the topic as well as to kick off the                                         Center City Connector Project which will explore transit options for downtown.