The other night I saw a promo for an episode of “KCTS Connects” with Enrique Cerna about the condo boom in Ballard:
One of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods is getting an extreme makeover. Ballard is booming with new condos, new restaurants and new businesses. The area once known as a quaint Scandinavian corner of the city is becoming one of the hippest and hottest spots in town to work, live and play. But is the modernization of Ballard tearing the neighborhood apart?
I’ve been visiting Ballard for years, and while the area has always had a Nordic vibe to it, it isn’t anything like other urban ethnic enclaves in America. It’s not like Southie, or New York’s Little Italy, or half a dozen of the Polish or Irish neighborhoods in Chicago or any other big city in America. Frankly, the whole “Ballard-as-cultural-touchstone” is overrated.
That’s not to say that Nordic history doesn’t have roots in NW Seattle. There are several important Nordic cultural institutions still around, but how many of them are recruiting younger folks? These places were ebbing long before the condo boom.
I haven’t seen the show yet, but I’m sure there will be the usual smattering of “density is bad”, rich people, blah blah blah,” “new people, blah blah blah.” I can’t wait.