The empty Ballard Blossom building has been given new life: It's being filled with temporary commercial tenants while the development plans are stalled for a couple of years.
The Ballard Blossom has been empty since the owners relocated in 2018. Last year, the Ballard Alliance and the Ballard Public Art Committee commissioned several artists to cover the building in murals, replacing some of the graffiti and vandalism that had been accumulating while the building sat vacant.
Now, Ballard Alliance is once again hoping to revitalize the NW Market St building while the owners pause their 7-story boutique hotel development plans. Ballard Alliance Sr. Manager of Economic Development Devin Reynolds worked with the property owners to hatch a plan for temporary tenants while the building sits empty. Reynolds reached out to his network to find startups and small businesses to fill the Ballard Blossom space on a temporary basis, turning the old flower shop from a vacant shell into an incubator space with short-term pop-up tenants.
The pop-up tenants are taking over the ground floor space of the building, with three businesses already on board and a few others on the horizon. The first businesses to set up shop are Zuri's Donutz, Nomad Boxing Club, and Ruby Laine Apparel.
Zuri's Donutz is one of the first pop-up tenants in the building. Zuri's is a Seattle-area donut shop that has another brick-and-mortar in Lynnwood. Zuri's owner and baker Davis Vincent is known for thinking outside the box for his multi-colored creations. Flavors range from chicken and waffles to dragon fruit to a margarita-flavored donut.
Nomad Boxing Club is a non-profit boxing club that has been operating out of Gas Works Park. The club, which mainly serves youth and young adults from underserved and minority populations, now has their boxing bags and other equipment hanging from the rafters of the old flower shop, and classes are set to begin May 1. Owner and retired boxer Manny Dunham told the Ballard Alliance that classes will be a mixture of technique, strength training, and "a whole lot of cardio."
"Boxing is the only place where you can find so many people from so many different backgrounds, all in the same place working towards the same goal. A boxing gym, in short, is what America is supposed to look like," Dunham told the Ballard Alliance.
One of the other tenants is Ruby Laine Pope, owner and founder of Ruby Laine Apparel. Pope is a Ballard High School senior and fashion designer who created a clothing business during the pandemic.
"We always knew that the next step would be to open some type of retail space, but we were doing so well selling directly from our website that we put off even thinking about making this type of commitment," Pope told the Ballard Alliance. Since launching the brand in November 2020, Pope has sold her clothing line to customers across the country with several international orders as well.
"In the past several months, we experimented with hosting a couple of pop-ups out of our garage and were surprised at how well we did. When we received a phone call from the Ballard Alliance to check out the Ballard Blossom space, we got pretty excited about the idea of opening up a little shop in Ballard," Pope told the Alliance. Her shop will only be open on the weekends but will expand its hours after Pope graduates from BHS.
The tenants will be on a rotating basis; we'll try to keep you updated as new businesses cycle through.
Featured Photo by Zuri's Donutz on Facebook