Rob Toledo's Blog

seattle

Random Wikipedia adventures often lead to some of the greatest, and rather pointless, informational revelations.

As an extremely curious person, I often can’t help myself from researching and discovering as much potential information about any given *thing* as possible; a tidbit of information about some random historical event, a factoid about a piece of pop culture such as a movie or song, a minor detail about something I see every day, the more information the better; I’m really annoying at parties.

For an example, just this evening I ended up on the Columbia Center’s Wikipedia page, the tallest building in Seattle that stands slightly below 1000 feet, with 76 functioning stories, and was a potential target of the attacks on 9/11, pretty well-known facts.

But what I didn’t know was that the original architect of the building was planning to make the building over 1000 feet tall had he not run into permitting issues with the FAA. Turns out with its close proximity to Sea-Tac airport, the tower was not permitted to be taller than 50 stories.

seattle

 

But where there’s a roadblock, there is almost always an alternative route.

Just for a clear picture, the Columbia Center sits between 4th and 5th avenue, one of the highest vertical differences between any two streets in downtown Seattle. As someone terrified of driving his wife’s manual transmission car, I absolutely 100% avoid driving in this area, as I am certain if ever challenged with attempting to get said car into first gear on these hills, I will roll straight back down the hill for several blocks until I either hit something or end up in the water.

source: Seattle by Sarah
source: Seattle by Sarah

With that in mind, there was  (perhaps still is?) a strange land use loophole that if a building includes retail access on the first floor, the architect is granted extra height in the building, allowing it to extend several floors beyond the maximum 50. So with the grade of the city offering THREE street access points on separate floors, developer Martin Selig managed to apply three individual bonuses to the Columbia Center, thus lowering the odds that anyone would be able to make a taller building in Seattle.

So I got curious.

What other real estate loopholes exist? There are quite a few.

Robert Scarano is particularly famous in, ahem, unique designs. Such as adding space for a second bedroom hidden behind a thin layer of drywall in order to conceal square footage for a variety of unsavory reasons.

Or how about in Alabama, where if you build a nuclear fallout shelter you’re given a $1000 tax deduction on your property.

Want to become an expert in navigating permitting loopholes and exemptions? Here’s an entire book dedicated to loopholes when building that exists. It almost comes across as an art form in the architectural community to attempt breaking these rules.

rob rainier 2013

I love writing.

As many of you might know, I have countless side projects where I slam on the keyboard for a variety of reasons, whether that be to rank well for Netflix and Hulu-related search terms, debating everything related to the NFL with random internet citizens, discussing marketing strategy with dozens of other folks in the industry, or spewing random thoughts on Twitter, I just enjoy words and arguments, and creativity, and thoughtfulness, and more words.

Maybe sometimes too often I ramble in non-sequitur fashion, but it brings me personal satisfaction to string my thoughts together. I don’t even pretend to be great at it, but the point is I always enjoy it.

A few months ago I realized how little I was publishing on my own blog anymore, as I had moved most of my thoughts to more lucrative endeavors. But I realized that while making money is certainly fun, nothing beats the occasional free association that comes with staring at a blank slate on a personal blog. So I challenged myself at the beginning of the year to refocus my own publishing a bit into the things I enjoy talking about most. With that in mind, it is also my own goal to publish one blog post approximately every two weeks (give or take) in my own free time.

So what will I focus on? Here is an oversimplified list of the things I enjoy the most that fit best within this goal: marketing theory, current events, my own crazy thoughts and perhaps a bit of general recapping of life experience. No strict rules, and more than anything, my intentions here are solely for my own personal growth and reflection. Translation: I don’t plan on trying to build any sort of personal brand off of this, I’m not trying to make any money or sell you anything, and I’m not trying to stand atop any soapbox.

A few notes:

  • All my old blog articles can be found here because I’m extremely disinterested in exporting and 301 redirecting it all, so I’ll just let them all expire in the old subdirectory.
  • My side projects are still alive and well.
  • A lot of the goofier stuff from my previous site is gone, but the Get Links button will always live on

Climb on,

Rob