AS I SET UP to sketch yet another example of Seattle’s changing cityscape, light shines from the metallic walls of the futuristic-looking Denny Substation, and a symphony of construction noises fills the air.
Looking west, far into the distance I spot a luxury condominium tower about to open just across from the former Elephant Car Wash site. Known as The Spire, it looks tiny all the way from here, but it actually rises 41 stories above the ground.
I can also see three new residential high-rises nearing completion at Denny Way and Fairview Avenue. The wavy form of the tower south of Denny — rising atop the land where Michael’s Market and a Subway sandwich shop used to be — is pleasing to the eye, and it contrasts with the sharp edges of the twin towers across the street.
The project closest to my view and centered in my sketch is 1200 Stewart St., a 48-story apartment and retail complex emerging from a wedge of land formerly occupied by a parking lot and a few small businesses — Kroesen’s Uniforms comes to mind.
So many of these residential skyscrapers have already popped up or are planned in the vicinity, that Denny Way is becoming Seattle’s Skyscraper Alley. It will be interesting to see how it all looks when the pandemic dies down and new urban dwellers move in.
In the meantime, I can recommend the ever-changing view from the benches thoughtfully scattered around the substation’s pedestrian-friendly path.