My post last May about Amazon’s impact on a Ballard neighborhood street proved quite popular, especially on Slashdot’s: Visual Walk Through Amazon’s Impact On One Seattle Neighborhood. You may remember there were two houses sold as lots:

ballard neighborhood development

Two Ballard Houses Sold as Lots

Here’s what those lots look like now, a third house beside the lot will be torn down shortly:

ballard seattle development

A View of Ballard Neighborhood Development

ballard seattle development

Another View of Ballard Neighborhood Development

You can see originals of all the photos on Flickr.

Word is that the townhomes pictured in the earlier story are experiencing numerous defects from the fast-paced construction including leaky roofs.


Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest.


  1. True fast-paced construction can improve the quality of homes. By using pre-made structural insulating panels (SIPS) or pre-assembled roof trusses, floor trusses, and wall framing panels, it is possible to quickly build a sturdy, well-sealed shell. Getting the shell sealed in quickly (and putting tarps over the window holes before the windows are installed) prevents rainwater from getting into the building while it is under construction.

    An example of a good SIPS project in Ballard is shown at:


  2. I am not surprised that the townhomes pictured in the earlier story are having maintenance problems already. The pictures give the impression that the builder used barely-finished wood for the front porch and front steps. The builder could have used composite decking that costs more and lasts a long time. Instead, he saved money, and gave the owners a choice between frequent maintenance and inevitable failure of the porch.

    If a builder is willing to “go cheap” on the first thing a buyer sees as they enter a house, I have low expectations for the choices they make in the parts of the house that most people never see.


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