Magnus Mansson lives in Bellevue, but he feels more at home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle.
One recent Sunday, Mansson drove to Georgetown for breakfast at Smarty Pants, a restaurant where the owner also is a motorcycle enthusiast.
"My wife and I have been looking at different neighborhoods," Mansson says.
They like the old, industrial feel of Georgetown.
"There are a lot of artists and cool bars. And we notice if you go to the coffee places, everybody seems to know each other," he says.
Georgetown, with its brick factory buildings and modest, relatively affordable homes, is a South Seattle neighborhood that has sparked a lot of interest of late.
Boundaries of area
It's roughly bordered by Interstate 5 to the east, Boeing Field to the southeast, the Duwamish River to the west and the railroad mainlines to the north. It's the home of many manufacturing, distribution and wholesaling businesses.
Its small shopping area, along Airport Way South, has in recent years been revived by new restaurants, bars, a record store, a bakery, coffee shop and gift shop, though there remain vacant storefronts and fenced off lots with rusting machinery in the same area.
"The things going for Georgetown are an easy commute into Seattle, affordability, and a lot of cool prewar homes with architectural integrity," says Janine Duncan, an associate broker with Windermere Real Estate who's active in the Georgetown real-estate market.
A typical Georgetown home is about 1,100 square feet, with two to three bedrooms and sells for about $280,000, according to Janine Duncan, an associate broker at Windermere Real Estate and expert on real estate in the neighborhood.
A strong arts community also distinguishes Georgetown. "It's really become an artist enclave, with everything from industrial art to fine art," Duncan says.
The neighborhood attracts artists for both work and home.
"There's just a fabulous cross-section of people moving in. Young architects. Young clothing designers. Tattoo artists."
The notes on the bulletin board at All City Coffee on South Vale Street reflect the interest in Georgetown from artists.
"Artist [oils] wants to share your studio/work space," one reads. Another says, "I'm an artist looking for a live/work space. Quiet painter with a chop saw, dog and cat."
Chad McMurray recently opened an art gallery, Christoff Gallery, and lounge, 6K4, where he regularly hosts live jazz, stand-up comedy and other performances. He's finishing work on a 2,000-square-foot music studio in the space behind the gallery and lounge.
McMurray explored Georgetown as part of his hunt for adequate warehouse space. "I never quite knew what to think of it," he says.
Now, he says he loves the neighborhood that he considers a sleeping giant. His businesses are on 12th Avenue South, across from a retail space where a hair salon and clothing store are opening soon. "Someone else is hoping the same thing I'm hoping," he says.
Proud of park
Many residents are also pulling for Georgetown. Their dedication to increasing green space paid off with the opening of Oxbow Park last year at a vacant lot on the 6400 Corson Avenue South block.
"People in the community actually planted trees and donated their labor to get that park put together," Duncan says. "Where else does that happen? There's a real sense of community.
The park's most prominent feature is the relocated Hat n' Boots structures. The cowboy hat, measuring 44 feet in diameter, and the boots, standing 22 feet tall, originally were part of a gas station that opened in the 1950s.
Schools: Georgetown is served by Seattle Public Schools.
Housing: Of 793 total housing units, 362, or 45.7 percent are owner occupied, 338 or 42.6 percent, are renter occupied, and 93 or 11.7 percent are vacant.
Nearby medical facilities: Harborview Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center
Shopping: "The strip," a stretch of Airport Way South — galleries, retail shops, restaurants
Public facilities: Oxbow Park — 6430 Corson Ave. S., home to the Hat n' Boots; Gateway North Park — Eighth Avenue South; Georgetown Power Plant Museum; Ruby Chow Park — at the north end of Boeing Field with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier and Boeing Field; Georgetown Playfield — 750 S. Homer St.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf