Wednesday, March 14, 2007

T minus two weeks? (to start construction)

I went by my site today – and was so very very excited to see how wonderful and high the ceiling looks now that the massive, cumbersome duct is gone (if I can ever remember to have a camera with me when I visit the site, I'll post some pictures).

To recap, over the past two months, the finalization of my lease has been held up because of the surprising appearance of an enormous duct snaking through what seemed to me the entirety of my lovely high ceiling that I was planning on having exposed.

To his credit, the developer has been a great partner in problem-solving this (highly unusual for a developer, I understand). Initially, he asked me to bring him some ideas for options that would not require moving the duct. Tom (my architect) and I sat down and came up with a very creative solution for putting up a ceiling that would conceal the duct but stay true to the original concept. (Okay, okay, in reality, Tom came up with the idea while I just sat next to him and oohed and ahhed).

Unfortunately, this very creative solution also ended up being very expensive. And while the developer and I never talked about it explicitly, I think the floating assumption was that he would have to cover at least a sizeable chunk of the cost. Fortunately, we never had to cross that pricey bridge.

In the end, he decided to move the duct, and now there is space to breathe when you walk in. 12 feet high of space, to be precise.

I can only say this in retrospect, but looking back on this one issue, it seems to me that the very best “negotiation” happens when both parties are making their best attempt to be collaborative problem solvers. Obviously, we were each looking out for our own interests first and foremost, but I think we were also genuinely trying to explore alternatives that might be reasonably acceptable to the other. Or at least it seems from my position, especially since the duct is gone.

So I hope I’m not jinxing my progress by writing that I hope to finally, finally, have my lease signed this week (since only a handful of relatively small “i”s remain to be dotted) – which is a good thing because I’ve already submitted for permitting and am planning to start construction in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Which means that Julep will be open, beautifying Seattles hands and feet by late May/early June. I’m meeting with my general contractor tomorrow for specific project details. I’ll keep you posted.