Touring the brave new world

On June 16 the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce will meet at Paul Allen's Vulcan South Lake Union Discovery Center. This occasion affords members of the local business community a prime opportunity to (the pun is built right in) discover what is happening in our own backyard.

The Discovery Center features a giant,16-by-12-foot model of the south end of Lake Union, portraying the span from the lake itself to downtown Seattle.

But it's not just a model in space - it's also a projection in time. The artifact offers a dimensional rendering of what the neighborhood would look like in 2010 after the city's proposed transportation changes have taken effect.

In addition to the giant model of South Lake Union, more than a dozen other oversized displays are featured in the Discovery Center. These address such pending developments as a 160-room Pan Pacific Hotel, a Whole Foods Market and 261 condominiums, as well as redefined individual business districts; work, retail and living spaces; and shops and restaurants.

Above all, it's the proposed transportation changes that will have a decisive impact on every other aspect of living and development along the South Lake Union edge of greater Queen Anne. This meeting should constitute the best chance yet to get a comprehensive picture of which way the ground is shifting under our feet, not only for commuters, motorists and transit riders but also for business owners, employees and residents.

Dave Peterson, president of the Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce, said, "One of the chamber's goals is to educate and inform our members ... to give the community a forum, an opportunity to provide input."

Or, put it another way: Vulcan Inc. has built it - will the business community come? Specifically, come have a say about the gathering momentum of development in South Lake Union and the direction this major urban endeavor will take.

The Discovery Center is located at 101 Westlake Ave. N. (at Denny Way). Free parking is available in an adjacent lot off Westlake Avenue.

GQACC members and their guests will gather at 11:30 a.m. June 16 for lunch. A tour of the Discovery Center follows.

Lunch is $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers. RSVP to 283-6876 or Cancellations must be received by Tuesday, June 14, at noon.

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