Only four firms left in bid to build Capitol Hill Station housing+retail sites

And then there were four. Following one bidder’s public drop from the running to develop the Capitol Hill Station housing and commercial sites, CHS has learned five other firms have also pulled out of the project. The Wolff Company decided not to submit a final proposal earlier this month, citing uncertainty around ownership and retail constraints leaving just four developers in the running to build all or part of the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces:

Capitol Hill Housing – Site B North

Gerding Edlen – Master developer for all sites

Jonathan Rose Companies/Capitol Hill Housing – Master developer for all sites

Lowe Enterprises – Sites A, B-South, and C

Dropped out of the race are The Wolff Company which had been pondering joining the competition for Site A, MacFarlane Partners which was making plans around a master developer role, Lennar Multifamily which dropped from Site B-South and Site C competition, Belwether Housing which cleared out of the Site B-North run, and Security Properties which dropped its bid for Site A.

The list of remaining bidders was the second part of CHS’s request to Sound Transit to obtain copies of the firm’s actual proposals. Sound Transit eventually denied the request. In an email to CHS, Sound Transit’s senior legal counsel Loren Armstrong explained why the proposals are exempt from public disclosure.

“This procurement is slightly different from a typical request for proposals,” she said. “Specifically, the submission and evaluation of proposals in this procurement is the first step in a process that for each parcel will culminate with the negotiation and execution of a unique purchase and sale agreement, with terms that are not yet defined.”

Sound Transit is expected to pick its developer(s) by January, at which time we should have some fresh project renderings in addition to details on how the project will take shape. Appraisals have placed the value of the Sound Transit properties at a combined $25 million. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Cosmopolitan mushrooms on Capitol Hill

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Mushrooms found in Interlaken Park. Credit: Brendan McGarry

When we think about nature in Capitol Hill, I bet you only certain organisms come to mind. On the larger end of the taxonomic organization, main branches house groups we call kingdoms. Plantae and Animalia are obvious staples for they’re the easiest to comprehend and are encountered when stepping out our front door. No matter how urban it may seem, even deepest Broadway has much plant and animal life. However, there’s an entire common kingdom that doesn’t require a microscope or advanced knowledge to appreciate; fungi.

The main part of the Fungal Kingdom we notice are mushrooms, but what exactly is a mushroom? In the not too distant past, taxonomists still considered mushrooms odd plants, but they are actually the reproductive arm of a variety of fungi. Mushrooms protrude from the ground, leaf litter, dung, or appear on logs, trees, and unfortunately sometimes our homes, with the hope of spreading of their spores about. Spores are dense clusters of cells that eventually spawn more fungi. Most of a fungus we never notice because these non-reproductive mycelium (as they’re called) stretch like roots in mostly dark, unseen places.

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One year ago this week on Capitol Hill

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(Image: Library of Congress)

Here are the top CHS posts from this week in 2013:

  1. Police shoot and kill armed suspect in 23rd/John standoff
  2. E Pike ch-ch-changes: Super Genius move, Boom goes Blue C, Comet overhaul, 12th/Pike demo
  3. National beer chain makes debut on Capitol Hill
  4. A visit to Capitol Hill, November 1851
  5. Dinette decides it’s ready for new home — Revolver next on E Olive Way

Seattle Fire takes care of Belmont Ave basement kitchen fire — UPDATE: Another Sunday morning fire

The fire marshal was called to investigate a small kitchen fire in a Belmont Ave apartment building that drew a large Seattle Fire response early Sunday. There were no reported injuries.

Firefighters were called to the 1600 block Belmont Ave structure just after 3 AM to a report of a “rubbish fire” and a burning pan in the three-story building’s basement. The small fire was under control after 15 minutes. A person found in the basement level was able to walk out during the response.

We do not yet have details on any damage to the 1914-built, 33-unit apartments. The fire marshal was called to the scene to investigate the blaze.

UPDATE 11:22 AM: 18th/Madison fire
IMG_6240SFD’s Fire Station 25 had a busy Sunday, battling a second apartment fire in the area after smoke was reported billowing from the second floor of the Ponderosa Apartments, a Capitol Hill Housing building on 18th Ave at Madison.

Firefighters had the blaze extinguished within 20 minutes of arriving at the fire first reported just before 11 AM.

The fire was contained to one second-floor unit but SFD was checking other units for possible damage from the flames and the water. The Red Cross was called to assist a male resident whose unit was damaged in the incident.

The fire marshal was called to investigate. There were no serious injuries reported.

CHS Crow | Lily, Kevin, and D-Nice — ‘Good things come and go’

The last call at the Lobby Bar‘s 916 E Pike incarnation will happen this weekend. Swooping in for the final Thursday at the original space of this “bastion of LGBTQ nightlife” in Pike/Pine, the CHS Crow shared bittersweet moments with a Seattle drag star with words of caution and of hope, a Movember’d IT pro with fond Lobby memories and a student and sound engineer with words about making the most. Cheers friends ~

 Lily

Who are you?2014.11 CHS Crow portrait, Lily -- by Jacob Olsn
My name is Lily Armani. I’m a female impersonator. I’m also a stand-up comic. And I’ve been here with The Lobby for five years now. We started with RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 2, and I’ve been co-hosting with Glamazonia, my life partner, ever since then.

We’ve been together almost nine years, and we’ve hosted every single season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag U. All the things nobody watched, we were hosting.

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CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 18,000 19,000 20,000 21,000  22,000 23,000 24,000 photographs -— most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea.

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Also not opening on Capitol Hill: St. Noah — ‘a sk8 bar’

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The former E Olive Way home of the Bus Stop will not become “sk8″ bar St. Noah.

We think.

But who can say anymore.

CHS has been fielding questions about what is happening in the space in recent weeks after the convincing-enough tagging went up on the former bar’s window. A check of permits and license applications doesn’t show anything in motion at the site, if you’re still wondering.

The Bus Stop shuttered in spring 2013 and the space has sat empty since.IMG_6218

Shop the Hill 2014: Deals and holiday shopping ideas from 50+ Capitol Hill businesses

LSXhJx_10418904_969449039736317_881034204080337542_nCHS has been supporting Shop the Hill for years now. It started as a mostly last-minute response by a few Capitol Hill shops to the wave of “small and local” holiday shopping promotions from champions of “small business” like American Express and Bank of America. Even University Village is in the game this year. Shop the Hill finally got its act together a little more seriously when the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce got involved two years ago. It is still 100% free for Capitol Hill businesses to be part of. And businesses are still welcome to cut up and modify the posters we print ever year to customize the message and dates of the promotion. I still see the posters from 2012 in use around the neighborhood here and there.

Promotions and messages from local merchants are already being added to capitolhillseattle.com/shopthehill/ along with some business profiles provided this year by the chamber. The grassroots “small and local” shopping guide will continue throughout the holidays but the big focus for Shop the Hill is the weekend after Thanksgiving starting  November 28th:

Shoppers will receive deep discounts and great giveaways at local retailers on Friday, November 28th through Sunday, November 30th. Find what makes Capitol Hill great – unique, unusual and hip offerings. With more than 60 independent businesses expected to participate, the neighborhood is bound to be a mecca for holiday shoppers. Whether hunting for a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one—or a cherished item for oneself—everyone is bound to find some treat to get them in the spirit.

The roster for this year’s planned promotions for the weekend are below. You’ll find the flyers at stores throughout the area next week. If you’re staying in town for the holiday, consider heading out for a deal or two and a chance to check out some favorites old and new.  Continue reading

SPD uncovers large stash of guns, drugs in Capitol Hill storage facility

Police uncovered a major stockpile of drugs and guns after the drama-filled apprehension of a wanted felon outside a Capitol Hill storage facility last week.

According to SPD, detectives seized two assault rifles, ammunition, stolen credit cards and checkbooks, a dozen stolen laptops, 30 stolen smartphones, passports, expensive handbags, $5,600 cash, power tools, a bicycle, more than 20 fake ID cards, and a motorcycle from inside the man’s 13th Ave storage units. 


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PUNK’D: Starbucks **NOT** creating The Daphne — coffee, coffee and booze, and music — on Capitol Hill in former home of Chop Suey

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Santa Monica's Hear Music (Image: blocksnap.com)

Santa Monica’s Hear Music (Image: blocksnap.com)

UPDATE 10:53 AM: A company spokesperson said the announcement sent to CHS is “absolutely not true.” CHS apologizes for the mistake in reporting.

UPDATE 3:45 PM: CHS has donated $175 (a nickel per pageview on this rather popular story) to Northwest Harvest to make good (or better) on getting duped. You can donate here.

UPDATE 10:15 AM: We’re working to confirm details. The Starbucks announcement was sent to us by a third party PR agency so have not yet confirmed with company officials.

UPDATE x2 10:24 AM: There are no construction records on file for the address and Starbucks company officials have not yet returned our messages. There are also no records of sale for the property.

UPDATE x3 10:30 AM: The building’s owner says the announcement is “news” to him.

Original report: Global coffee giant Starbucks announced Friday morning it is again ready to launch one of its massive experiments on Capitol Hill. The Chop Suey? It’s no longer for sale.

The Daphne is planned as “the evolution of their entertainment customer experience” and “a one-of-a-kind interactive Starbucks showcase venue” to open on the Hill in 2015. Continue reading

I-502 permit holder hopes to open Capitol Hill’s first pot shop in February

If all goes according to plan, Capitol Hill will have its first retail marijuana shop this February. But that’s a big “if” for shop owner hopeful Samuel Burke.

After failing to get the city’s approval in three Belltown locations, Burke is cautiously awaiting the city’s response to his proposed location at 15th Ave E and E Republican, currently home the the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic. According to state law, a retail marijuana shop must keep a 1,000-foot buffer from schools, parks, or community centers.

“Each time the city objected and we couldn’t over come it,” Burke told CHS of his previous three proposals. “It’s just such a privilege to think I could locate on Capitol Hill.”

Right now, things are looking good for Burke. Continue reading

There’s a better use for this: The marquee lights up at 12th Ave Arts

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_0916UPDATE: With speeches from a stage full of the movers and shakers who made the project happen, artists, and city and state officials, 12th Ave Arts opened its doors Thursday night.

Calling the project a new “center of community life” for Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill Housing CEO Chris Persons thanked the more than 200 capital donors who made the project possible and made way for a long roster of speakers there to introduce the project to the neighborhood. Rep. Frank Chopp got the audience on its feet to applaud “the Seattle spirit” and christened the largest of the two theater spaces in the facility with its first performance — his reading of the James Oppenheim poem Bread and Roses. The dignitaries even threw a few lines to the theater folk. Strawberry Workshop’s Greg Carter said he was ready to get to work in a building emblematic of Capitol Hill — a neighborhood with an environment open to creating “things that don’t make sense.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Rachel’s Ginger Beer comes home to 12th Ave Arts

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Going to dinner and the theater at Capitol Hill’s 12th Ave Arts might not be the fancy-pants event some might expect. Capitol Hill farmers market born and bred Rachel’s Ginger Beer is finally opening a shop in its home neighborhood with a ginger beer and fry bar inside the new affordable housing + East Precinct parking + theater space + nonprofit office space + three food and drink space development.

“That was so a part of the drinking culture,” the Rachel in RGB told CHS while apologizing for being “boring” with a story about traipsing through Europe. “You get a beer and a bowl of fries.”

Hey, anytime there is traipsing involved, we’re interested. Especially when you’re talking les pommes frites.

Oh là là. Rachel Marshall’s latest Capitol Hill joint is slated to open this spring with all the goodness of Rachel’s Ginger Beer plus “a menu of crispy, hand-cut fries and 15 to 20 dipping sauces, including a fancy ranch.” The bar will serve ginger beer-based and carbonated cocktails. The bubbles will tickle. There will be ice cream for floats and, if you’re an animal, dipping fries. And you’ll be able to fill your growler or grab RGB to go.

“What I picture is kind of a place where you can go during the day and really feel comfortable opening your laptop but can also have a drink,” Marshall said. “And we can go into the night.” Continue reading