We asked folks who filled out our survey about the U District to respond with their own questions about the neighborhood. We sifted through your responses and picked a few intriguing lines of inquiry to answer. Check back here tomorrow for part two and if you haven't, read our guide to the neighborhood over on our website.
I heard there's some rich history with Shiga's Imports and its connection to the Ave — would be interested in hearing more.
There is indeed some rich history! The store’s original owner, Andy Shiga, was a notable figure in the neighborhood’s past and was a driving force in creating the U District Street Fair. As one might expect for a store that’s been around for some time, Shiga’s Imports recently underwent some renovations.
If you’re interested in learning more about the store, check out this Seattle Globalist article from a few years ago: Shiga’s Imports weathers a half century of changes on the Ave
What is the percentage of non-students who live in the neighborhood?
That particular number is hard to find but the Department of Neighborhoods did release a report on the U District in 2018 that helps give an idea. Compared to the whole city, 95.7% of households are renters. A report from the U District Partnership reinforces the prevalence of students in the neighborhood, finding that the median age is 22 and that the total population is about 31,000. The UW's enrollment is over 40,000.
Will the new light rail station have any open public space?
The U District Partnership recently opened a new outdoor dining plaza at NE 43rd Street! It’s right in front of businesses like Flowers, Cedar’s of Lebanon, and Sweet Alchemy. The street now features a number of benches with umbrellas and is closed off to any traffic. Head over there, say hi to Samir, and go support these local businesses.
What businesses have we lost here in the pandemic?
Here's an incomplete list sourced from various articles:
Floating Bridge Brewery
College Inn Pub (Was purchased by new owners but has yet to reopen)
Jet City Improv (Building demolished but will continue temporarily out of University Heights)
Cafe Racer (Plan to reopen eventually in a new location)
University Temple United Methodist Church (Building to be demoed, moved offices to U Bookstore basement and will resume services at the Masonic Lodge)
Seven Gables Theatre (Burned down)