AKA: Denny's Restaurant, Ballard, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - restaurants

Designers: Architeckton (firm); Contract Design Unlimited (firm); Elan Construction Company (firm); Johnson Partnership (firm); Mayhew, Clarence W., Architect, Thiederman, H.L., Associate Architect (firm); G. Downing (architect); Charles C. Jenner (building contractor); Lawrence Johnson (architect); Clarence William Whitehead Mayhew (architect); Robert C. Olsen (building contractor); Hal L. Thiederman (architect)

Dates: constructed 1962-1964

5501 15th Avenue NW
Ballard, Seattle, WA 98107-5202

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Northwest corner of 15th Avenue NW and Market Street.

This Googie-style roadside cafeteria was built in the wake of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, WA. According to writer, Knute Berger, this building bore a resemblance to the World's Fair Information Center erected for the Fair. Both had steeply pitched gable roofs and exposed rafters. Mayhew's drawings for the Manning's dated 11/07/1962, just after the fair closed. Elan Construction Company, Incorporated, of Seattle, erected this cafeteria in 1963-1964; American Fabricators or Bellingham, WA, provided the only cost-effective bid for the glue laminated beams of the building, a prime architectural feature. Manning's operated its cafeteria here from 1964-06/30/1983; Denny's opened on the night of 10/02/1984 just after midnight, demonstrating its 24-hour service to the public. A public hearing was held on 01/02/2008 before the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to determine whether the restaurant should be demolished to make way for another high-rise condominium project. On 01/02/2008, the Seattle Landmarks Board voted 8-1 to study the current condition of the building, in preparation for another vote on 02/06/2008. This designation hearing was postponed by the developer so that they could recruit paid consultants to testify on their behalf. The final designation hearing before the Landmarks Board occurred on 02/20/2008; despite a long, elaborate performance put on by the developer, the Landmarks Board voted 6-3 to support giving the Manning's/Denny's building City of Seattle Landmark protection. (One other member of the board, Henry Mathews, supported designation, but he could not attend the meeting due to the death of his mother in the UK.) The developer, feeling aggrieved, vowed to appeal this vote. Despite designation on Criteria F, the Landmarks Board voted on 05/21/2008 9-0 to place no controls on the exterior of the Manning's building, effectively insuring its destruction. This unusual reversal came about as a result of a dubious financial analysis prepared by the ownership and internal lobbying coordinated by the City of Seattle's own Historic Preservation Officer Karen Gordon.

This Seattle building was a rare example of work outside California by the Bay Area architect, Clarence W. W. Mayhew, who was best known for his spreading, one-story houses in the Contra Costa County hills, his Alumni Centers at the University of California, Berkeley and Mills College, and his work for the Kaiser Medical Foundation. Tel: (206) 782-8699 (mid-2007); the Manning's replaced a Shell Oil Gas Station that occupied the site from c. 1948-1963.

On 03/22/1984, a permit (# 611213) was issued to D.E. Miller to remodel the restaurant, after ownership changed; later in the year (09/09/1984), the interior dining area was altered, and the kitchen and cooler were changed. The firm Architeckton supervised the alteration of the dining area and the addition of new exterior finishes. In 06/2007, Rhapsody Partners of Las Vegas, NV, announced plans to demolish this Manning's/Denny's and to erect a 6-story, 60,000 square-foot condominium on the busy corner location. On 09/27/2007, the Denny's Company abandoned the site, boarding its windows and taking down its signage.

Demolished at 7:00 A.M. 06/24/2008 due to the efforts of the owner, Benaroya Company, (through its subsidiary, BCC Mikie Ballard, LCC), Jack McCullough of the land-use law firm, McCullough-Hill and City Historic Preservation officer Karen Gordon and other city officials. Gordon worked closely with attorney McCullough to ensure the designated landmark's destruction. In addition, the Benaroya Company and its attorney, Marc Nemirow, ignored requests for portions of the building to be salvaged, and targeted the Manning's for rapid demolition. Other buildings on the site were not razed at the same time.

PCAD id: 9175