Belltown is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Seattle, Washington, United States, located on the city's downtown waterfront. Formerly a low-rent, semi-industrial, artsy district, in recent decades it has transformed into a neighborhood of trendy restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs, and residential towers. Although many new businesses have eclipsed older ones, some venerable establishments still draw crowds of loyal patrons. It is possible both to purchase bed linens and bathroom fixtures and to dine at a cheap restaurant open twenty-four hours a day after frequenting the area's nightclubs. The neighbourhood has recently experienced an increase in its population of retirees, young office workers, and gays and lesbians on top of its mixture of factory and migrant workers, artists, and bohemians.
The area is named after William Nathaniel Bell, on whose land claim the neighbourhood was built. The neighbourhood is bounded on the north by Denny Way, beyond which lies Seattle Center, Uptown, and Queen Anne Hill, on the southwest by Elliott Bay, on the southeast by Virginia Street, beyond which lies the Pike Place Market and the rest of Downtown, and on the northeast by 5th Avenue, beyond which lies the Denny Triangle. All of its northwest- and southeast-bound streets are major thoroughfares (Alaskan Way and Elliott, Western, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Avenues); major northeast- and southwest-bound thoroughfares are Broad, Wall, and Battery Streets. The Battery Street Tunnel runs under Battery Street from Western Avenue to Denny Way and connects the Alaskan Way Viaduct to Aurora Avenue N.
The Olympic Sculpture Park, an eight and a half-acre outdoor sculpture museum and beach designed by Weiss and Manfredi Architects, is expected to open on the Belltown waterfront in Autumn, 2006 at the northern end of the Seattle seawall and the southern end of Myrtle Edwards Park. The former industrial site was occupied by the oil and gas corporation Unocal until the 1970s and subsequently became a contaminated brownfield before the Seattle Art Museum proposed to transform the area into one of the only green spaces in Downtown Seattle. The park will be operated by the Seattle Art Museum, which also operates an expanded main branch at First and University Streets and the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill.
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