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Ballard ‘Up’ house is up for lease after original owner fought to keep home despite development

SEATTLE — The iconic Ballard house, also known as the ‘Up House,’ named after the famous Pixar movie Up, is now up for lease after the original owner fought to keep the home, despite the new developments around it.

Edith Macefield lived in the two-bedroom, 1,050-square-foot home, and rejected a $1 million offer to sell to developers in 2008, as new developments were being built around her home at 1438 NW 46th Street in Seattle.

Macefield originally purchased the home for her mother in the 1950s and lived inside it until her death in June of 2008. Macefield died from pancreatic cancer. She was 86.

Now the current owner of the property, Regency Centers, said it is putting the property up for lease.

We reached out to the company to get more details behind its plans, including the cost of the lease, the types of businesses it’s searching for and the future of the house.

A spokesperson for the company shared the following statement.

“We are currently marketing the location and are really seeking out something unique and eclectic. We want to be able to keep the character of the area. It took a bit for us to refocus on the property post-pandemic, but we knew we wanted to keep it intact given the history and potential of the site. It’s still in early stages and still need to do some maintenance on the structure, but we are glad that its generating so much excitement, and we look forward to updating as things progress.”

KIRO 7 News spoke with Barry Martin, who said he took care of Macefield until her last breath and was given the property after her death.

“She told me that she all she wanted to do was live there and die there where her mother died,” said Martin.

Martin was the superintendent of the project that became the new developments that now surround Macefield’s house.

He became close friends with Macefield after he had met her at the start of the project in 2007.

“By 10 O’clock, there were bird seeds on the sidewalk. You knew she was up and moving around and she fed the birds. If there wasn’t bird seed on the sidewalk by 10 O’clock, I’d go over and lift the mail slot and holler in at her to make sure if she was okay,” he said. “She kind of started losing weight so I started showing up in the morning feeding her breakfast, and then I started getting her lunch, and the next thing you know, I’m taking care of her all the time.”

Martin said he took care of Macefield until she passed away in 2008.

“I became her full-time caregiver. I fed her. I paid her bills. I bathed her,” he said. “She really changed my life.”

When asked about Macefield’s thoughts on the future of her house, he said she expected changes would come after her death.

“Like she said, 20 years from now, they’re going to tear this place down and build something new. They did it with the Kingdome. That’s exactly what she said.”

KIRO 7 News spoke with people who live nearby about the future of the iconic home.

“Kind of sad that she went through all that trouble,” said Keith Kent.

“I see it all the time. I thought to myself it’s a shame they can’t use this space for something better. I’m sure somebody would want to use that for something. Maybe not a house, it’s pretty busy here. But maybe a business or somebody can make use of it. Kind of a shame the corporation got control of it, but you know, I’d rather see something happen to it than it sit here like this.”

Taneah Kelley, who moved to Ballard in 2020, said, “It’s literally placed right in the center of a bunch of booming businesses around here so I would totally support if they’re honoring her last wishes and I think it’s really cool.”

“In a growing city like Seattle, I think it’s very rare you have this standalone property. It’s pretty iconic,” she added.