Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Seen or heard in the 'hood

New restaurant to take MP Conservatory space

Though we don't yet have the details, we do know that the space on 43rd Avenue E. vacated by Madison Park Conservatory in February will soon be the site of a new restaurant.  Owners Maria and Ricky Eng, doing business as Eng Seattle Restaurants, Inc., applied earlier this month for a liquor license for the site. Ricky Eng confirms that while the name is yet to be determined, the restaurant will definitely be a full-service, sit-down affair. We'll give you the full scoop when we have it.

Founder moves on but pizzeria still going strong

Tom Siegal, who created The Independent Pizzeria in 2010 and who has been the mainstay pizza maker ever since, moved to Providence, Rhode Island earlier this summer.  His wife was admitted to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design--and Tom, quite naturally, decided to relocate to the East Coast to be with her while she's in school.

While Tom is maintaining his ownership of our neighborhood pizza joint, Joe Heffernan and the rest of The Independent Pizza crew are carrying on the four-year tradition of making excellent Neapolitan pizza in Madison Park.  National foodie website Epicurious tapped The Indpendent as having one of the 10 Top Pizzas in the U.S. last year.

Former Mad Pizza space undergoing refurbishment

Construction of a new interior, along with some exterior refurbishment, is underway at the old Mad Pizza location on E. Madison St.  So it looks like what's rumored to be an Asian eatery is going to be part of Madison Park's future.  What's apparently not in our future, however, is a taco stand at the location of the old Best Buds flower shop on E. Blaine.  Nothing much happening there since the notice was taken out of the window months ago.   Both sites have been vacant since last year.

Ann Marie elects to stay

Although Ann Marie Lingerie announced during Spring that it was giving up its "bricks and mortar" in the neighborhood and migrating to an exclusively on-line business, apparently the moving-out sale and the interest generated from the publicity resulted in a re-thinking of that business strategy.  Manager Felicia Klabo reported to us earlier this month that the shop is staying in place.  The efforts to increase Ann Marie's on-line presence continues unabated, however.

HomeStreet almost ready to enter banking scene

It's taken a long, long time to get to this point, but the new Madison Park HomeStreet Bank branch seems to be nearing completion, with an anticipated late August/early September opening date.  The one-time Tully's site, which was vacated in October 2012, has been under such an extensive repair program that it could almost be argued that the result is a new building.  The original structure is over one hundred years old and has served host to many different businesses along the way, but never a bank. What's happening to this space is part of a trend, however, of Madison Park becoming a banking hub. HomeStreet, when open, will be Bank Branch Number Five.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feds shut down Lakeside Capital

Firm's principal misused client funds says SEC

Madison Park's Lakeside Capital Management, founded in 1997 and solely owned by portfolio manager Dennis Daugs since 2010, is ceasing its operations as a result of a recent action by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  The SEC, in an order today instituting administrative "cease and desist" proceedings against both the firm and Daugs, states that Daugs "used over $8 million in client advisory assets to conduct undisclosed actions that fraudulently breached his fiduciary duty."  (The full text of the SEC order can be found here.)

Daugs, according to a report by Reuters, neither denies nor admits the allegations of the SEC but agreed to be barred from the industry.  A separate news report on the website FinancialPlanning.com states that Daugs is paying $590,000 to settle the SEC charges.  The website states that Lakeside has paid out almost $15 million in customer settlements over the past nine years (though we could not independently confirm this based on the information the SEC released today).

Lakeside has been a prominent neighborhood business, making real estate investments in this area and elsewhere on behalf of its well-heeled clients.  It recently negotiated the sale of the investor-owned Villa Marina apartment building on 43rd Avenue E. at the foot of Madison, which is next door to Lakeside's headquarters (shown above).

According to the SEC, "Daugs breached [his fiduciary] duty beginning in 2008 and 2009,
when he invested a senior citizen Lakeside client in $3.1 million in personal loans to himself. Daugs used the loans to buy a vacation home and refinance his purchase of a rare automobile, and the loans involved a material conflict of interest between Daugs and the client. Yet Daugs did not disclose the loans to the client until early 2010."  The auto in question, according to the SEC, is a rare 1955 "Gullwing" Mercedes, similar to the one shown below:

Also, says the SEC, "Daugs used over $5 million from [a Lakeside managed] fund in undisclosed self-dealing."  These and other compliance violations, say the feds, constitute willful violation of securities laws by the respondents, Lakeside Captial Management and Dennis Daugs, who have therefore been censured by the SEC for their conduct.

Daugs has six months to wind down Lakeside's operations.  The press report by Reuters notes that Daugs, in a recent letter to the firm's investors, states that their investments are not at risk.  The SEC reports that Lakeside had approximately $150 million in assets under management on average and served as investment adviser to about 100 individuals and over thirty private real estate funds during the period the alleged violations occurred.

[Gullwing photo from Wikipedia.]

Fat Salmon here Saturday

Expect neighborhood parking to be impacted

The annual Fat Salmon Open Water Swim will be returning to Madison Park this weekend, brining hundreds of swimmers, kayakers, and spectators to the neighborhood Saturday morning.  Check-in for participants starts at 6:15 am and the first swimmers are expected to arrive at Madison Park Beach at around 9:15. The 3.2-mile race begins at the Day Street Boat Ramp, just north of I-90.  Following the Swim there's the awarding of the fat salmons, so expect the crowd to remain around the 'hood through late morning.  It's always a fun event.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Welcome to Summer!

Bastille Bash returns

Bastille Day is just around the corner, so get prepared to enjoy a brief dip into French culture with Bastille Bash, Madison Valley's tribute all things francaise. The fun begins at 3 pm on Saturday, July 12, and continues until 8 pm.  Events will occur up and down Madison Street between 27th and 30th Avenues in this, the third year for the French-themed walkabout. There will be plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, listen to live entertainment, and shop the sidewalk sales. You can get the full rundown of participating establishments, slated entertainment, and how to purchase food and wine tickets here.

Who dosn't love a parade?

It always ends almost before it begins (the waiting time for participants is generally several multiples of the parade's duration), but it's an annual neighborhood event that is much enjoyed by participating and onlooking kids, parents, grandparents and (presumably) the assorted pets and occasional farm animals that (sometimes literally) get roped in to walk the five- or six-block route.  We are of course speaking of the Kids Parade, a part of Madison Park Days, sponsored each year by the Madison Park Business Association. This year the parade happens on Saturday, July 12.

Madison Park Days also includes sidewalk sales, beginning on Thursday July 10, and it ends with a picnic in the park following the big parade.  Those wishing to walk the parade route behind the fire engine may begin lining up in front of the Madison Park Wells Fargo branch at 11:45 am.  The parade begins at noon.  Straight down Madison Street to the park.

Park in the Dark! 

The Washington Park Arboretum, an easily accessible amenity for those of us lucky enough to live in Madison Park, has many programs and events each year that are designed to enhance our understanding of the the plants and animals with which we share the planet.  A great example is the UW Botanic Gardens' Park in the Dark series which takes place this year at each full moon during July and August.  Where else are we going to learn first hand about the crepuscular  creatures that inhabit the Arboretum if we don't search them out at night?  Park in the Dark is a bring-your-own-flashlight opportunity, especially for families with kids aged 5-12, to see the animals in their nocturnal environment and learn about their adaptation to the dark.  Information on the program is available here.  Registration is required.  The first full moon this month is on Saturday, July 12.