Capitol Hill, you used to be such a thrill: Rents won’t increase at the rate some sources say they will

Oh, Pike and Pine, remember when you were mine? (Image: Stacy Peck)

Oh, Pike and Pine, remember when you were mine? (Image: Stacy Peck)

Just as the Wimps have given up on Capitol Hill, comes a sign that those bullying developers and landlords are increasingly worried that the days of easy pickings in the neighborhood are over.

“In our portfolio, we’re starting to see signs of things slowing down a little bit,” Billy Pettit, senior vice president at Pillar Properties, said Monday. While demand remains high, he said the large number of new units coming to the market is reason to pause, especially since the increase in supply is slowing down rent growth. There are 22,000 units projected to open this year and next. Combine that with the 7,400 units developers opened last year. – the highest level of production seen locally since 1991 – and it’s easy to see why landlords are concerned.

“This means rents won’t increase at the rate that some sources say they will,” the Puget Sound Business Journal concludes.

In September, CHS reported Dupre+Scott analysis showing rents across Central Seattle including Capitol Hill were up about 4% for the year — down from 8.4% a year earlier. Following a spike of new units coming online in 2014 Capitol Hill is poised to add at least 560 new apartment units in 2015 and more than 1,500 more in the next three years, according to Dupre+Scott. Meanwhile, 2016 is set up for a year of progress on a plan to create 20,000 affordable apartment units in Seattle by 2025. Continue reading

Visette on E Pike wants to be Capitol Hill’s first dress shop

Visette opened Sunday -- just in time for holiday parties (Image: CHS)

Visette opened Sunday — just in time for holiday parties (Image: CHS)

Visal Sam (Image: CHS)

Visal Sam (Image: CHS)

Visal Sam wanted to make fashion her life and her new boutique Visette now open on E Pike, she’s making that dream come true.

“I’ve been in the corporate world for a long time, but I always wanted to be in fashion,” she said.

Visette will exclusively sell dresses.

“I’m a woman, I don’t want trendy — I want my own style,” she said, wanting to bring that same mentality to the dresses she will sell at Visette. “It’s going to be always unique.”

With beginning prices ranging from $100 to $2,000, the dresses on show will be of limited quantity but constantly being replaced with new styles.

Sam said she had long enjoyed helping to dress her friends, both men and women. She had many stories of them having success or merely receiving compliments based on her keen eye.

“Ultimately, I would love to have a client come in and say ‘Hey, I need to look like this,’”she said. “And I would know how to dress them.” Continue reading

In fight against HIV, First Hill pharmacy reports success with simplified PrEP

(Image: The Polyclinic)

(Image: The Polyclinic)

The 27th year marking World AIDS Day comes with news from Madison St. of a new streamlined process for making a breakthrough measure in the fight against HIV more accessible. It’s an efficiency that could save lives.

First Hill-headquartered Kelley-Ross Pharmacy announced this week that its streamlined HIV prevention program to provide patients with PrEP — pre-exposure prophylaxis — completed a successful pilot earlier this year:

One-Step PrEP is unique because it takes a two or three-week waiting process and condenses it to 45 minutes. Instead of making an appointment with a primary care physician, who may or may not be familiar with PrEP, waiting for labs, and navigating alone the complexity of insurance and/or state-funded medical coverage, patients come to the pharmacy and have a detailed conversation with a trained pharmacist about their risk factors and side effects, while lab results are processed and payment methods are researched.

Kelley-Ross will present findings from the pilot at next week’s CDC National HIV Prevention Symposium.

Starting in 2012, PrEP has proven to be extremely effective in preventing HIV transmission. PrEP is a prevention method for people who don’t have HIV that has involved taking a daily pill to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus. New research indicates that the Truvada medication could also be taken “on demand” — before and after sex — and still be effective.

Meanwhile, PrEP remains expensive — around $13,000 a year — but most insurance covers the medicine as do drug assistance and compassionate care programs in the state.

You can learn more about Kelley-Ross at

Meanwhile, you can learn more about how to get involved with local nonprofits fighting AIDS and HIV here: 2015 donation drives, feed the hungry, and volunteer opportunities around Capitol Hill

SPD report on Broadway/Pike shooting released

The motive behind the November 22nd drive-by shooting outside the Broadway and E Pike QFC remains unclear, but a police report from one of the responding officers lays out some basic facts about how the incident response unfolded and provides a few additional details about the assailants witnesses saw open fire and speed away.

Details about an argument reported to have happened just prior to the shooting, as briefly mentioned in SPD’s Blotter, are not included in the report. An SPD spokesperson told CHS those witness accounts may have been recorded in officer statements not yet available to the public.

Seattle Police have not announced any arrests in the ongoing investigation into the early morning Sunday, November 22nd drive-by that resulted in four people suffering gunshot wounds and a fifth person injured by flying glass.

While the report obtained by CHS doesn’t provide new details about what led to the shooting, there are some elements of the incident that have not yet been widely disseminated including limited eyewitness descriptions of the suspects. According to the witness descriptions, the shooter was a black male with a beard or possibly a goatee while the driver of the silver sedan used in the shooting was female.

The full report is below. The redactions were made by SPD to comply with department policies.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.10.04 PM Continue reading

Redhook announces plans for a Capitol Hill brewpub inside Pike Motorworks

Putting up the Redhook sign in Fremont in 1982.

Putting up the Redhook sign in Fremont in 1982.

Capitol Hill’s newest king of beers hasn’t even held its grand opening and already a local-gone-national brewery has stepped up to take the crown. The Woodinville-based, Seattle-born Redhook Ale Brewery announced plans Monday to open a new brewpub inside the nearly complete Pike Motorworks project on E Pike between Harvard and Boylston.

“I’m looking forward to my first ESB in the new brewpub on Capitol Hill,” said Redhook co-founder Paul Shipman. “This new location is a perfect opportunity for Redhook to brew great-tasting, local craft beer in one of Seattle’s most vibrant neighborhoods and to help celebrate Redhook’s 35th anniversary since it first introduced Seattle to craft beer in 1981.”

Redhook said they plan to open the new brewpub in fall 2016 to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the brewery’s launch in a Ballard garage. Redhook moved its operation from Seattle to Woodinville in the mid ’90s. It also operates a brewery in New Hampshire. The company is owned by the Craft Beer Alliance, a company partly owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The new brewery at 714 E Pike will feature a 10-barrel brewing system, about half the size of Optimism Brewing, which opens this week just a few blocks away at Broadway and E Union. According to Redhook, brewer Nick Crandall plans to use the space to create small-batch beers with neighborhood partners like Caffe Vita.

The new brewpub will reflect the spirit of Redhook’s beginnings and create a unique opportunity to experience some Redhook classics such as ESB and Ballard Bitter, alongside innovative small-batch brews, some of which will be available exclusively at the new brewpub location.

Continue reading

Bus Stop | Madison BRT details — Plus, the Metro restructure that wasn’t

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 1.37.32 PMPresentation (7)For those that couldn’t make it to the downtown library for November 16th’s SDOT open house on the latest Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan, we have the department’s briefing on the project from last week’s City Council meeting, below — plus some non-BRT news from the open house about a rollback on one of the most significant changes that had been planned for Metro routes to better align service around the opening of Capitol Hill Station and the U-Link light rail expansion in early 2016.

BRT presentation
SDOT officials presented details on the latest plans for Madison’s overhauled bus route in a session with the City Council’s transportation committee last week before the Thanksgiving holiday. The information presents an opportunity to see the plans shared at the public open house earlier in November.

Presenting the material, SDOT officials described the future Madison bus lane as part of a citywide “network of BRT” and said they were pleased to find “the biggest complaints” at the open house had been that planned “transit lanes don’t extend far enough.” “There’d be relatively limited benefits” but “significant capital costs” to extend the dedicated BRT lane all the way to MLK, one planner said. Continue reading

Bill dancing into the Century Ballroom for Hillary Clinton campaign fundraiser

While Bernie Sanders Democratic Partied at the Comet, 2016 US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sending Bill to a classier Pike/Pine joint.

Ex-president Bill Clinton will be on Capitol Hill Thursday at a $500 and up fundraiser held at 10th and Pine’s Century Ballroom:

Please join us for a Reception in support of Hillary for America featuring special guest President Bill Clinton Thursday, December 3, 2015 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Century Ballroom Seattle, Washington

“No public events have been announced and a Clinton campaign spokesman said the event would be closed to the media,” the Seattle Times reports. A $250 “young professional” rate is also available for the Century Ballroom event.

In his August fundraising visit to the Comet, Sanders spoke on themes of economic equity and social responsibility. “This income and wealth inequality is grotesque, it is immoral, it is unsustainable,” Sanders said.

Century and owner Hallie Kuperman represent the only arts-related group to remain in the Odd Fellows building as it transitioned to retail and office space in the late 2000s. In 2012, we spoke to Kuperman about the 15-year anniversary of her ballroom. It’s not clear if Clinton will include a saxophone performance in his Century Ballroom visit but one can hope.

Tech powered Optimism Brewing is the new king of beers on Capitol Hill

Optimism Brewing - 24 of 24
Optimism Brewing - 4 of 24The ultimate home brew fantasy has come to life at the corner of Broadway and Union. After spending years at Microsoft then striking it big with an online venture of their own, husband and wife Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore have gone all in with their first non-tech venture overhauling a $6.5 million auto-row era building on Capitol Hill at Broadway and Union.

“We decided we didn’t want to do software, we wanted to do something we could see,” said Gilmore. “We just ran out of reasons to not do a brewery.”

The result is Optimism Brewing, a 16,000 square-foot brewery designed by Olson Kundig Architects that will create a major destination on rapidly changing E Union and give Capitol Hill its second cathedral of beverage. Optimism combines Hakala’s longtime passion for home brewing beer, the couple’s penchant for analytical tinkering, and a generous dash of entrepreneurial risk taking.

Optimism will hold its grand opening on Saturday, December 5th to coincide with the anniversary of the end of Prohibition. The brewery will start out slow with limited hours and days of operation. Check for details.

The new brewery also will give Capitol Hill a new leader in independent beer brewing following 2014’s takeover of Hill-born Elysian Brewing by global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev that split the Seattle beer community — and Elysian’s founders.

Since CHS first reported on Optimism in 2013, Hakala and Gilmore stayed relatively quiet on their bubbly vision for a “brewery, not a beer pub.” It’s a vision that has now materialized on multiple fronts.Optimism Brewing - 19 of 24 Continue reading

Your post-Thanksgiving 2015 Capitol Hill briefing

Thanks to a CHS reader for this picture of QFC's new Harvard Market hours

Thanks to a CHS reader for this picture of QFC’s new Harvard Market hours

Here is the news you may have missed during the holiday week.

Broadway/Pike shooting investigation: No arrests have been announced in the Sunday, November 22nd shooting that hit four victims and injured a fifth in the middle of Pike/Pine nightlife crowds outside the Harvard Market QFC. Police were looking for a silver sedan used in the drive-by that was caught on video. Seattle Fire said none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries but one woman who was shot posted to Facebook saying that a bullet and glass entered her chest.

Mayor Ed Murray and East Precinct commander Capt. Paul McDonagh talked to community representative and members of the neighborhood chamber of commerce about the shootings, the emphasis patrols, ongoing gun violence across Central Seattle, and new tools coming to Capitol Hill in 2016 to free more time for cops to focus on policing while moving more drug and mental health issues toward services and programs. Continue reading

Capitol Retrospective | The Bluff Building: A lesson in escapism at 10th and Pike

The Bluff Building.  Oct. 2015.  Photo by Tom Heuser.

The Bluff Building. Oct. 2015. (Image: Tom Heuser)

On May 29, 1889 the graduating class of MIT in Boston gathered in Huntington Hall to hear the commencement speech of the renowned reverend Phillips Brooks. Towering over them at 6’3” and 300 pounds, he thundered “the water of the river is at first distinct and separate from the sea, but with time… is embodied into one vast whole; and so… will your course in life pass away until nothing but the knowledge that something of new good and of new strength has been added to the world will remain.” A straightforward metaphor for life, death, and the contributions one leaves behind, but who was to say one couldn’t take their existing course, cast it into the void, and anonymously reemerge on a distinctly new one all in a single lifetime?

Huntington Hall, MIT. Estimated early 20th century. Image: MIT

Huntington Hall, MIT. Estimated early 20th century. Image: MIT

Reverend Phillips Brooks circa 1891

Reverend Phillips Brooks circa 1891

One of the graduates that day, named Charles Dodge, eventually believed exactly that and it led him to Seattle where he ran off with his mistress 13 years later. Together they established a considerable real-estate empire that included the land on which the Bluff Building stood at the northwest corner of 10th and Pike: home of the Comet Tavern since the early 1950s. Even here, Dodge’s ethos of escapism has endured in one form or another through its well documented history as a popular dive bar and music venue where many have gathered to escape everyday life through loud music, alcohol, and often illegal drugs. But long before Nirvana performed there in 1988, the whole building was a hub for many who shared Dodge’s outlook on life.

His life began in Skowhegan, Maine where Charles Benjamin Dodge was born on July 13, 1867 to Benjamin Franklin Dodge, a harness maker turned banker, and his wife Jane Philbrick. After earning his degree in the since discontinued “general course” at MIT, Charles joined the ranks of Boston real-estate brokers working for the New

The red arrow points to the estimated location of the New England Real Estate Agency.  Circa 1906. Image: Shorpy

The red arrow points to the estimated location of the New England Real Estate Agency. Circa 1906. Image: Shorpy

England Real Estate Agency at 258 Washington St. Here he amassed considerable wealth over the next decade during which he met and married the highly-cultured and progressive Willietta Johnson in 1893 who was an active suffragette and world traveler. They reared two daughters, Dorothy and Katherine, and lived together on a 30 acre farm in Concord where the Revolutionary War began. A seemingly happy life from an outsider’s perspective, which it very likely may have been.

However, by 1901 that all changed after Charles had fallen in love with another woman named Annie MacConnell who positively dazzled him with her compassion, ideals, and youthful beauty (she was 10 years younger) and so much so that they ran away together later that year and reappeared in Seattle in early 1902. No lengthy divorce or custody battle, nothing. So what happened?

One can speculate that Charles must have been deeply conflicted, ashamed, and fearful of the consequences. He really did have a lot going for him, but perhaps there was just an element of banality and resignation to it all. For one can imagine that his career and Concord estate were effectively handed to him by his parents–and perhaps his wife, while certainly dazzling in her own right, was a bit too strong and intimidating for him, such that he feared she’d destroy him in a divorce. So what did he do? Continue reading