Starbucks, Developer Help Boost Sodo Area -- `South Of Dome' Gets Makeover To Become `South Of Downtown'

Seattle's Sodo district received a pick-me-up from Starbucks Coffee yesterday, and we're not talking caffeine.

The gourmet coffee retailer contributed $5,000 to the Sodo Business Association as part of the association's ongoing efforts to upgrade the area south of the Kingdome.

Nitze-Stagen & Co., owner of the former Sears building that yesterday was renamed the Starbucks Center, contributed another $5,000.

Starbucks has selected the complex at First Avenue South and South Lander Street as its corporate headquarters.

The money donated will be used for tree plantings along South Lander, said Michael Peringer, president of the Sodo Business Association. Starbucks previously donated another $5,000 to the association for the Sodo Urban Art Corridor project, a mural-painting and cleanup effort.

Up to 50 murals are planned on the backs of buildings that face the Metro busway along Fifth Avenue South from South Spokane Street to South Royal Brougham Way, said Peringer. Bike paths, picnic areas and benches also are planned for the area, he said.

Peringer is looking for a location to put up the Sodo signs he got from Nitze-Stagen when the bright red letters atop the old Sears building were replaced recently by a new Starbucks icon.

Even with the impending demolition of the Kingdome to make way for a new Seahawks football stadium, Peringer said the district would continue to be called Sodo. Instead of South of the Dome, it

could stand for South of Downtown.