Semi-monthly news and updates about the homes, people, businesses and communities that are featured in Lake Washington 130 Homes. This covers the Lake Washington waterfront in Seattle’s Madison Park, Denny-Blaine and Madrona neighborhoods, Mercer Island, and The Eastside communities of Bellevue, Medina, Hunts Point and Yarrow Point.
(The above home belongs to Charles Simonyi. See 5/31/11 post.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Seattle Boat Sales Jumping

Seattle Boat Show 2012
The Marine Industry Association announced (5/16/12 Sport Fishing Magazine) the first jump in annual boat sales and boating participation since 2006. 2011 U.S. retail sales for boats, accessories and services jumped 6 percent to $32.3 billion, according to the organization’s latest Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract. In addition, boating participation increased 10 percent to 83 million (or 34.8 percent of adults, the highest since 1997). “The data signals the beginning of a recovery for the U.S. recreational boating industry,” the NMMA press release states. 2012 sales are running ahead of 2011.
Seattle area boat dealers are also seeing a major increase in sales and activity. The fastest growing segment of the recreational boating industry is pontoon boats. Pontoon type boats have evolved dramatically over the past years. They have come from spartan, low-performance, low cost water transportation and fishing platforms to high performance trimarans with a flat deck, very comfortable seating and luxurious features. These are the most versatile, stable and economical runabout boats. The top-of-the-line trimaran design provides outstanding performance with reduced water resistance and low fuel consumption. These boats are perfect for activities ranging from high speed (up to 50 mph) water sports (water skiing, tubing, etc.) to relaxed cocktail cruising and dock parties.
Dykstra’s Happy Hours
My boat, Happy Hours, is a new super-luxurious Avalon tri-toon boat. It includes an upper deck with seating, a sunbathing area and a water slide. The main level includes luxurious seating for 14, 2 drink and appetizer tables, multiple cup and drinking glass holders, a wine and storage cellar, a privacy (porta-potty) station plus a wet bar with a blender, an electric wine and glasses rack and a refrigerator. We, our family and our friends are having fantastic great times with it.
Avalon Paradise Sandbar
Tom’s Boats, the area’s leading pontoon boat dealer stated: “The increase in sales this year is amazing. It’s across the board from $14,000 easy to trailer runabouts and fishing boats to the $90,000 deluxe party and water sports boats.” He is currently showing over 50 listings on

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Obama Mercer Island Advisor Joseph Schocken

Joseph and Judy Schocken’s Mercer Island Mansion
This modern mansion, 0.4 miles north of Paul Allen’s (12/28/10 post for viewing guide) campus/compound, is 5,400 sq ft on 0.87 acres with 200 feet of waterfront and a private beach. An information and viewing guide for the neighborhood is in a 2/27/12 “Cruising South Lake Washington” post.
President Obama selected Joseph Schocken from Mercer Island as an advisor for the Administration’s JOBS Act signed into law last month. A 4/7/12 feature article in The Seattle Times by Jon Talton has more information. Schocken attended the Rose Garden bill-signing ceremony.
Back in 2004 a 7/27/04 feature article in The Seattle Times by David Postman highlighted Schocken’s rise to the Democratic Party’s elite. Joseph and his wife, Judy, have raised millions of dollars for the Democratic Party. This includes fundraisers at their beautiful Mercer Island waterfront mansion. They have personally donated close to a million dollars over the years. They personally know the last three Democratic presidential candidates and spent weekends on Nantucket with John and Teresa Heinz Kerry during the Edwards-Kerry campaign. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and attends dinners with the Committee’s high-level National Advisory Board. The Board has about 30 members that are at the highest level of the Party. The Schocken’s four children are also political activists.
Joseph is president and founder (1987) of Broadmark Capital, LLC, a prominent Seattle investment bank. The firm has raised more than $1 billion for investment in more than 75 (and growing) regional businesses. Most of these are technology related and the investments can be for start-up or secondary stages. Bennett Environment, Optiva and Universal Access are some of the firm’s client companies. Joseph is on the boards of numerous companies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ballmer Worst CEO - Forbes

Steve Ballmer’s Hunts Point Mansion
“#1 – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft. Without a doubt, Mr. Ballmer is the worst CEO of a large publicly traded American company today.” This is the first sentence about Steve Ballmer in a 5/12/12 Forbes article by Adam Hartung titled: “Oops! Five CEOs Who Should Have Already Been Fired (Cisco, GE, WalMart, Sears, Microsoft)
The article continues: “Not only has he singlehandedly steered Microsoft out of some of the fastest growing and most lucrative tech markets (mobile music, handsets and tablets) but in the process he has sacrificed the growth and profits of not only his company but “ecosystem” companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and even Nokia. The reach of his bad leadership has extended far beyond Microsoft when it comes to destroying shareholder value – and jobs.
“Microsoft peaked at $60/share in 2000, just as Mr. Ballmer took the reins. . . only rarely made it back to its current low $30s value. . . execution of new rollouts were constantly delayed, and ended up with products so lacking in any enhanced value . . . as Apple took the leadership position in personal technology.
So today . . . Microsoft is a PC company, nothing more, as demand for PCs shifts to mobile. . . An insane bet for any CEO – and one that would have been avoided entirely had the Microsoft Board replaced Mr. Ballmer years ago . . .
Although he’s #19 on Forbes list of billionaires, Mr. Ballmer should not be allowed to take such incredible risks with investor money and employee jobs. Best he be retired to enjoy his fortune rather than deprive investors and employees of building theirs.”

Steve joined Microsoft in 1980 for a percentage of the company, a $50,000 annual salary and stock options. He was Microsoft’s 24th employee and first manager other than Gates and Allen. The Hunts Point mansion of Steve and Connie Ballmer is pictured above. They purchased the estate in 1987 for $1.3 million and extensively renovated the buildings, but maintained their charm, in 1991. The mansion and property has a $10 million estimated value. The main house is 4,175 sq ft and the property is 2.09 acres with 160 feet of waterfront. It is adjacent to the south of Craig McCaw’s (formerly Kenny G’s) mansion (4/30/12 post). The neighborhood is covered in a 2/16/11 Lake Washington Cruising post.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

President Obama at Blumes’ Seattle Mansion

President Obama returned to the Seattle area last Thursday for a lavish fundraiser at a prominent waterfront mansion. The event was covered in a Seattle Times 5/10/12 article. The $35,800 per plate lunch was at the mansion of Bruce and Anne Blume in the Denny-Blaine neighborhood of Seattle on Lake Washington waterfront. The article reported the Blumes are major Democratic donors, who have given more than $118,000 to federal Democratic candidates and committees since 2008, including $50,000 they gave to help finance Obama's inauguration party. President and Michelle Obama have attended previous lavish Lake Washington waterfront mansion fundraisers at the homes of Costco Co-Founder Jeff Brotman (12/18/12, 2/9/12, 10/24/10 posts), former Microsoft President Jon Shirley (10/5/11 post), and RealNetworks Founder Rob Glaser (9/27/10 post).
This $20 million mansion was built over a period of three plus years for the Blumes by Charter Construction. The mansion is on page 37 in Lake Washington 130 Homes. The neighborhood includes numerous prominent mansions including two that formerly belonged to two of the famous McCaw brothers. Neighborhood information is in LW Cruising 4/19/12 and 4/24/12 posts.
The Blumes’ former residence in Broadmoor is listed for sale for $3 million. Bruce is a prominent commercial real estate developer. His firm, The Blume Co., is a major developer in the South Lake Union and University of Washington districts. He founded the company in 1982. The company owns 16 buildings on 10 acres in 6 centers. The centers are Yale Campus, 1100 Eastlake, Eastlake Center, University Center, 45th Street Place and Northlake Place.
The mansion is 13,300 sq ft on 1.0 acres with 160 feet of waterfront. This is the former site of the Canadian Consulate. Blume acquired the property from Canada 1/18/05 for $7.8 million and, in 2006, demolished the consulate and started construction on the current mansion. The seller is listed as “Her Majesty Elizabeth II – Queen of Canada.” This is the way Canada lists its foreign properties but the Queen was never here. Some tours incorrectly tell their groups this was the site of the Seattle vacation home for the Queen. The Canadian Consulate is now located in downtown Seattle in the 30 story Century Square building at the corner of Pike and 4th Ave.