Broadview / Blue Ridge

By Suzanne Monson
Special to NWclassifieds
Thursday, November 29, 2001

Rumor has it that William Boeing once intended to turn a waterfront section of northwest Seattle into a small airport nearly 80 years ago. Its slope toward Puget Sound, some believed, would provide early planes with the extra boost and lift needed to get them off the ground.

It's good fortune for neighbors who live in what is now the Blue Ridge community that frequent fog back in those days nixed the airplane tycoon's plans. Now this mostly well-to-do 200-acre covenant neighborhood of 450 homes offers breathtaking Puget Sound views, and its own community club with swimming pool, tennis courts and private beach.

Sequestered by Puget Sound to the west, Blue Ridge shares its waterfront with southern neighbor North Beach and popular Carkeek Park. Beyond the 216-acre park, the Broadview community extends to Seattle's north border at North 145th Street. "Blue Ridge is very attractive due to its amenities," said Blue Ridge Realty owner Jon Beahm. "There are people who are waiting to get in."

Even though three of the brick castle-style homes in Blue Ridge date back to the 1920s, many of the other 3,574 houses in this three-neighborhood area feature a mix of styles from the 1940s through the 1970s.

Kay Coghlan, her husband and three children live in a 1929 colonial-style home - one of the oldest in North Beach. "Some people have the old classic homes," Coghlan said. "But that means there's probably not a huge master bedroom or bathroom, no double sinks - things you might find in a new home in Mukilteo. But many of these homes have terrific hardwoods and a lot of character."

North Beach, which has neither the covenant restrictions nor the amenities of Blue Ridge, is a "real mix of architecture and homes of all ages and sizes," said Beahm.

For upper-middle income character - and more modern home features - from the 1950s and '60s, the North Beach enclave of Olympic Manor offers slightly wider streets dotted with homes that often feature full basements with recreation rooms. As many original Olympic Manor homeowners have moved elsewhere, the next generation of homebuyers here are revitalizing a once-popular neighborhood tradition: bright displays of winter holiday lights on the spacious lots. "When these lots were first platted," Beahm said of the entire North Beach area, "this was outside the (Seattle) city limits so consequently the lots are bigger than in Ballard. Some are 6,000 to 10,000 square feet plus they might even have a little ravine."

That kind of elbowroom - plus the waterfront and Olympic Mountain views - was a big draw for the Coghlin family. "My husband is originally from Montana and even though we live in the city, this gives him that feeling of big sky," Kay Coghlin said. "Plus, he likes to run and there are all these wonderful running trails here, plus Carkeek Park and the beach. That was a big issue for us."

Their children, however, learned to ride bikes on the family sports court/patio because there are no sidewalks in North Beach and nearly all streets are sloped.

And while their move to North Beach was also prompted in part by their need for a shorter work commute, Coghlin said she has seen increasing traffic chip away at the in-city convenience.'

"It's much more crowded now," she said. "It used to be I could get to the (Interstate 5) freeway in eight minutes, then it was 10 and now it's more like 12. Even when I use the backroads around Greenwood, there are a lot more condominiums and multi-family units going in so traffic is more congested."

Indeed, much of the Greenwood Avenue North corridor on Broadview's east side is now dotted with apartments, condominiums and multi-unit senior housing. More than 11,000 people - 55 percent of them homeowners - call this area home. That's because many of these homes are well connected to a plethora of businesses along Aurora Avenue North/Highway 99, from car dealerships and fast food to grocery and warehouse stores.

Meanwhile, on Broadview's western-side streets closer to the water, said Beahm, there are many homebuyers who crave a "woodsy setting" in this three-square-mile community.

"It's quiet and there are no curbs or gutters, so it gives it a more rural feeling," he said. "There are a number of pleasant sound and sunset views because homes are built on a hill. From (North) 125th (Street), it feels a little like Magnolia Bluff, moving north to the high-end `gold coast' homes."