Mystery restaurant project Mamnoon planning to go green in Melrose Square

Melrose Square artist rendering

As the Melrose Market put down its early Capitol Hill roots and thrived, another ambitious project has been growing across the street. CHS can now report that the Melrose Square green re-development of its auto row-era building is moving forward with a compelling new restaurant project at its center.

Backed by Wassef and Racha Haroun, the restaurant Mamnoon will stand as the centerpiece of a planned low-energy overhaul of the building that will create a “green lab” showcasing a range of sustainable technology that could include solar panels and urban wind turbines as well as a green roof that produces fruits and vegetables.


Wassef is a local tech entrepreneur who served as chief technology officer in creating Odd Fellows building-headquartered King of the Web.

We have no details of their plans for Mamnoon yet but do know the construction project for the effort lists an ambitious $185,000 budget in city records. According to an ancient Seattle Times feature on the couple from 2000, the Harouns worked at Microsoft at the time and were leaving Seattle for Paris. One might translate Mamnoon, then, to mean merci. Or, thank you.

CHS first reported on the Melrose Square project in spring 2010. Developer Bruno Lambert told us about his plans for a full renovation of the 1928 automotive garage at 1510 Melrose Ave, into what he called “a bit of a green lab.” The Graham Baba-designed overhaul was planned to include ground floor retail topped by 2,800 square feet of office space and a 1,800 square foot residential component. At the time, Lambert said he was frustrated by the city’s energy code as he attempted to pull together plans for an innovative low-energy overhaul. He has not responded to CHS inquiries about the new restaurant project and how any of his plans for the Square may have shifted since 2010.

In the meantime, the most ambitious green commercial project in Seattle history is underway at Madison and 15th as the Bullitt Center comes together. Its progress has also been marked by occasional run-ins with codes and regulations designed around standard energy construction.

This summer, a Melrose Square case study included in a Preservation Green Lab, National Trust for Historic Preservation report (PDF) on green building in Seattle documented some of the eco-friendly progress for the building:

Timing for the project is a mixed prognostication There is a significant build-out to achieve that is still in only the paperwork phases. But Mamnoon already has its state liquor application processed and submitted. We’ll keep you posted.

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6 thoughts on “Mystery restaurant project Mamnoon planning to go green in Melrose Square

  1. but please is there any way to incorporate something like this now:

    http://openalleyways.wordpress.com/melrose-avenue/

    Closing down that section of Melrose (at least by day) would be just so neat. Restaurants could have sprawling outdoor seating and it could just be a nice place to hang out, or even a nice small ped/bike corridor. Maybe even a place to host civic events? It’s just a thought, but it sort of feels right with the Melrose Market and now this coming online.

    I am sure many people might not agree, but it might be worth discussing?

  2. I would be all for that if parking wasn’t such an issue. :( I live around the corner, so personally that would rock, but I would have no one to eat with because they’d be circling the block and swearing at me under their breath for making them come to the hill…

  3. Haha, I already have people swearing at me under their breath when driving here from elsewhere, but I feel you on that front.

    I think it would definitely benefit people in the neighborhood, or even people biking, bussing, or taking the train into the area more than others. That might be the sticking point.

    Who knows though? On New Year’s Eve I had a friend up this way, and we were going to a house party in another part of the city. We took the bus. It was the first time he’d been on a bus since we were both in High School (10 years). He didn’t mind it at all, but has always been a nay sayer about public transport. I think Metro and ST could benefit by better marketing on that front, but that’s a whole different story. “Coming to the city? Don’t mess with parking. Hop on a bus.” etc. (Is it obvious that I am not a “Mad Man?”)

  4. A growing trend in the development/architectural world has been marketing energy saving utilities to the public. This has manifested itself through placing things such as turbines on building facades. It’s signage saying “Hey! We’re Green!” Yes, you’re “green” or “sustainable” or whatever buzz word you want to use, but in my view a windmill, turbine or anything else is no different than a HVAC unit and therefore has no business on the front of a historic facade. Our neighborhood would cause a stink if there were a billboard on that facade and I’d like to see the same stance taken on Turbines and other industrial equipment.

    P.S. I live around the block too, and I’m all for shutting down a street for a festival street type thing. Not sure if Melrose is the right Option. Minor may work better.

  5. I think what you need is a woonerf, a street on which pedestrians and cyclists take priority over–but ultimately share space with–motorists. The street that runs through Pike Place is the nearest thing to that we have currently, but there is an official woonerf being converted from a conventional street on James Court between 12th and 13th Avenues in Squire Park this year, which will be Seattle’s first. It would be nice to see the trend continue!

    Here’s a little more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woonerf

  6. I think a woonerf (same thing as a Zone de Recontre “Meeting Zone” in this link) is something that is a step in the right direction, though only if it were similar to Pike Pl in the market. I think Seattle’s response to the woonerf (festival street) is just…..bad. It’s just bad. There are no visible cues to show that bikes and peds have priority and the speed limits aren’t decreased enough.

    I could get behind a plaza, because this area is ripe with restaurants, cafes, etc and having had the experience to spend many hours in plazas abutting by food and drink establishments, I’ve just grown to love them. They are so lively usually, and are a hub for social activity. This sort of plaza, as opposed to something like Westlake Park, could stay lively as opposed to becoming stagnant simply because there are so many reasons to visit. A wine shop, a butcher, a fresh shellfish vendor, a wonderful cheese shop, a few restaurants, an established coffee house, and an art store bring people to the area every day.

    Westlake is open. There are not really any reasons to go there and hang out. Tully’s and Bubble Tea aren’t enticing. Homegrown, Terra Plata, this new restaurant, and Bauhas – those are all pretty inviting.

    Then again, like I said in my original comment, I know many people value vehicle traffic too much to consider this as a viable option. I wouldn’t suggest Minor for the same reason I wouldn’t suggest going to Westlake. There’s nothing there to activate the space. True, closing Melrose would take away parking, but at least leaving Minor open would keep through traffic going. Then again what’s wrong with taking one block and devoting it to pedestrians? I’m not talking shutting down 3rd. I’m talking about a street with relatively low traffic, and one that is in the most pedstrian and transit centric neighborhood in the city.

    Alas, it’s a pipe dream…..