Shorewood Apartments Redux

Twenty-two years ago I moved with my husband and our one year old son to Seattle from Los Angeles, into the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island. I loved our apartment in a bucolic setting with its winding roads and vintage apartments shaded by old oak trees. Ours had hardwood floors throughout, a brick fireplace, the original kitchen and bath, three bedrooms. I remember we paid $1200 a month for rent.

The complex, built in 1949, is located at the north end of Mercer Island, forty buildings on 44 acres of land with views of downtown Seattle. I sort of stumbled upon it again today when exploring the neighborhood east of Luther Burbank Park. In the years since I lived there, Shorewood Apartments has had a bridge built over I-90 with a road that enters right into it.

My delight at finding myself there this afternoon diminished quickly, though, when I realized, after circumnavigating the main road twice, that the charming four-unit building we once lived in has been demolished, along with several others in the middle of the complex. In their place are these generic four story apartments, complete with their own Coca-cola vending machines.


Ugly! And certainly far less enchanting than I used to think it was when Shorewood Apartments was my home.

Apparently, this reconstruction happened in 2002, and the property has changed hands several times since we lived there, most recently selling for $110 million in September. Somewhere along the way became Shorewood Heights with amenities and a decidedly corporate feel.

I have been told on more than one occasion that everyone lives at the Shorewood Apartments when they first move to the area. It’s a tradition.

Somehow, though, I just don’t think I’d choose it today, even if I could live in one of the remaining original buildings. It seems to have lost something pretty sweet along the way.


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