There is still time to ‘save’ Chop Suey as a Capitol Hill music venue

From the building owner’s perspective, there’s plenty of time to work out a deal to save Chop Suey as a music venue said Scott Shapiro, owner since 2005 of the building that houses the Capitol Hill music venue and nightclub.

In February, the asking price for the business — not Shapiro’s building — had been $375,000, according to a listing on a real estate agent’s site found by CHS. The listing – for an “undisclosed bar and club on Capital Hill” – claimed Chop Suey grosses more than $903,000 annually. Capital, indeed.

In recent weeks, the asking price dropped to $99,950.

The agent did not return calls for comment.

Shapiro said the current tenant has “at least a few more years” left on its lease. The building, he said, already has a Class 1 hood, so a conversion to a restaurant would be eased, but that’s not necessarily what his investment company wants. While Shapiro said he’s not ruling out any prospective tenants, he’d like to see it remain a nightlife destination. Continue reading

City Hall | Minimum wage watchdogs, development fees, Yesler Terrace tech, car share boost

"Councilmember Licata presents Jim Page Proclamation recognizing 40th anniversary of street musician ordinance and 2014’s Busker week" (Image: City of Seattle via Flickr)

“Councilmember Licata presents Jim Page Proclamation recognizing 40th anniversary of street musician ordinance and 2014’s Busker week” (Image: City of Seattle via Flickr)

When they were done pounding out Seattle microhousing regulations after years of negotiations, here is what the public servants of City Hall have also been working on.

  • Minimum wage enforcers: Mayor Ed Murray and City Council member Nick Licata announced a plan for a new Office of Labor Standards with seven full-time employees to help enforce the implementation of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage plan and workplace regulations.
  • Budget season: The money to pay for the new minimum wage watchdogs and other early announcements like the promise to beef up SPD hiring and technology spending will be part of Murray’s 2015 budget plan to be announced next Monday, September 22nd.
  • "All those construction cranes mean more than jobs/housing - it also means revenue to pay for parks/police/libraries! " (Image: @SeattleCouncil via Twitter)

    “All those construction cranes mean more than jobs/housing – it also means revenue to pay for parks/police/libraries! ” (Image: @SeattleCouncil via Twitter)

    Boom fees: Reportedly, City Hall is considering more ways to try to move some of the cash from the Seattle development boom into providing city infrastructure and services. First, the City Council has started to look at “growth impact fees when developers build new projects that put additional demand on public roads, schools, parks and fire departments.” Continue reading

Seattle Fringe: ‘a toehold in the neighborhood for risky, unusual, challenging, non-commercial arts’

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour is part of 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour is part of 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival


The marquee at the Northwest Film Forum advertising the Seattle Fringe Festival in 2013. The Film Forum is a Fringe Festival site again this year. (Image: Seattle Fringe Festival)

Ever-increasing pressure from commercial growth and development unfriendly to cash-strapped artistic ventures, venue allocation shifts and the logistics of having committed producers and planners who can keep things running year after year may keep it in a relatively constant flux. Despite these challenges Capitol Hill’s theater scene is showing some signs of renewed vitality in 2014 including the return of the reincarnated Seattle Fringe Festival that kicks off its third consecutive year with performances Wednesday.

The festival is bringing another five-day September wave of unpredictable performances to Capitol Hill venues just a few months before 12th Ave Arts is scheduled to open and provide dedicated homes to three small companies which will join the likes of Annex Theatre and the Eclectic Theater in producing smaller-scale theater in neighborhood’s core year round.

“The more Capitol Hill edges toward the mainstream, the more important it is to keep a toehold in the neighborhood for risky, unusual, challenging, non-commercial arts and entertainment,” Pamala Mijatov, a member of the Fringe Festival’s steering committee and artistic director at Annex told CHS in an email. “Seattle is growing and changing rapidly. As rents escalate, artists are getting squeezed out of the central neighborhoods, and there are fewer small production venues, which means fewer opportunities for artists to take risks on unproven work,” she wrote. “The Seattle Fringe Festival is maintaining a platform for those self-producing artists.” Continue reading

CHS Crow | Fringe edition — Leroy, Kelly, Mara & Benjamin

With the Seattle Fringe festival again playing out on Capitol Hill, the crow talked with some of the artists on the bill in 2014.

Leroy Chin, writer and director – Children of This Universe

What inspired this new work? It sounds like pretty intense material.
On Christmas Day of last year my ex committed suicide. I was completely distraught about it. And one of the ways I deal with things is I create stuff. And I ended up writing a play based on the experience. I think it was different for me this time, it just seemed to be so natural — it flowed well. I was inspired. And think it had to do — there must have been some sort of spiritual element about it that made it so easy to write.

… can you say more about that?
You could say he probably helped me from the other side, if you will.

Is this pretty raw for you to put out in front of an audience so soon? Or is that just part of your process?
I’m used to it by now. I think when I first started writing years ago, ’96 or so, that rawness was intimidating. I now I realize it has to feel that way to be effective. I think that’s where the real sharing of experience is. If it’s not that raw, it’s probably not worth sharing. Continue reading

Hot Cakes to open Capitol Hill ‘cakery’ where B&O Espresso once stood

Images: Hot Cakes via Facebook

A Ballard-born purveyor of decadent desserts, sweet treats, and boozy shakes, Hot Cakes is coming to Capitol Hill in the new development on the corner of Belmont and E Olive Way that was once home to B&O Espresso.

The full announcement on the new Capitol Hill “cakery” is below.

Owner Autumn Martin’s next creation is slated to debut on E Olive Way in early 2015. The new venture will be the second Hot Cakes in the city. After a pop-up start, Martin opened the first in Ballard in 2012.

8445778417_333161bfcc_o-400x243B&O Espresso had called the corner home from 1976 to 2012 before being displaced by the planned six-story development. Jane and Majed Lukatah opened a Ballard location but it, too, shuttered earlier this yearAt one point, the much loved coffee shop and cafe were planned for a return to Capitol Hill when the new construction was completed. Architects went so far as to include the cafe’s iconic train logo in renderings of the six-story building’s design used in public meetings. Continue reading

Capitol Hill developer with knack for making room for more has plans for addition to 91-year-old 13th Ave apartments

The proposed project will neighbor 13th Ave's St. Nicholas Cathedral which went through some construction of its own in 2013

The proposed project will neighbor 13th Ave’s St. Nicholas Cathedral which went through some construction of its own in 2013

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 2.59.45 PMA Capitol Hill developer experienced in squeezing new units into some of the oldest apartment buildings in the neighborhood brings a new project to the East Design Review Board Wednesday night that will add an entire apartment building next to the 1923-built Washington Irving apartments at 13th and Howell.

With the continued demand for apartments on Capitol Hill, it’s not surprising that prolific Capitol Hill real estate investor Morris Groberman and development partner Dan Ronz Ron Danz are making plans to demolish an old garage and construct a new apartment building just south of the existing 39-unit, 1305 E Howell building. What might be more surprising is that the developers and architect Neiman Taber are proposing a two-story building where they could build four. Continue reading

First Hill Streetcar ready for November rides?

We don’t yet know exactly when the first First Hill Streetcar will travel Broadway. But we’re getting there. This week, a Seattle Department of Transportation official is visiting with the Czech manufacturer of the streetcars that will serve the First Hill line. Following that status check, SDOT officials should have a better idea of when service will begin.

Earlier this year, CHS reported on an issue with fire testing that caused delays in manufacturing the six streetcars ordered by SDOT for the line. Czech Republic firm Inekon partnered with Seattle-based Pacifica to build the trams that were to be manufactured in the Czech Republic but assembled, painted, tested, and maintained in Seattle. Initially due to arrive from the manufacturer by April, CHS was told SDOT expected the streetcars to be delivered between June and October. SDOT was evaluating options including “ramping up service as vehicles are delivered, or beginning service after all six vehicles have been delivered.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill is old

CHS was performing manual labor recently in the shadow of St. Joe’s near 19th and Aloha when we found this buried in the dirt: a Washington sales tax token –IMG_2355

Wikipedia says:

Sales tax tokens were fractional cent devices used to pay sales tax on very small purchases in many American states during the years of the Great Depression. Tax tokens were created as a means for consumers to avoid being “overcharged” by having to pay a full penny tax on purchases of 5 or 10 cents. Issued by private firms, by municipalities, and by twelve state governments, sales tax tokens were generally issued in multiples of 1 mill (1/10th cent).

You can buy one on Ebay for a $1. Plus shipping and handling.

Meanwhile, a local dendrologist has done some street science to determine the age of the old crooked tree of Broadway chopped down earlier this year.

Wanna go way back? Here’s a visit to Capitol Hill, November 1851.

21 Capitol Hill restaurants, bars & food trucks ready to serve at Capitol Hill Housing benefit, 39 lined up for Eat Out on Capitol Hill

Eric Banh doled out the pho at a past Omnivorous (Image: CHH)

Monsoon’s Eric Banh doled out the pho at a past Omnivorous (Image: CHH)

$91 and 12 cents will get you a ticket to Thursday’s Capitol Hill Housing benefit that has turned into an annual showcase of the best — and most generous — in Capitol Hill food and drink. The fourth Omnivorous benefits the nonprofit developer and will bring together more than twenty great food and drink providers in 2014 — including two food trucks.

You can buy tickets here via The Stranger:

Thursday, September 18th 5:30 PM / The Summit 420 E Pike
For one night, enjoy an array of fabulous food and drink by some of Capitol Hill’s best restaurants and bars – all under one roof!

Featuring Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Cafe Presse, Corretto, Feed Co. Catering, Fran’s Chocolates, Hello Robin, Marjorie,  Poppy, Poquitos, Quinn’s Pub, Restaurant Zoe, Skillet, Tango, Taylor Shellfish, Terra Plata and The Tin Table.

New this year: Jemil’s Big Easy and Off the Rez food trucks

Plus wine and specialty cocktails courtesy of Okanogan Estate Winery, Oola Distillery and Sidetrack Distillery

Your ticket gets you:

  • Unlimited plates of culinary creations

  • Excellent Northwest wines and imaginative specialty cocktails

  • A fun evening with your Capitol Hill neighbors and friends of affordable housing

2014-eatOutCapitolHillaYou can also mark your calendar for another Capitol Hill food+drink fundraising tradition. The annual Eat Out on Capitol Hill to benefit the nonprofit Country Doctor returns Thursday, September 25th with a roster 39 Capitol Hill restaurants and bars strong:

Benefiting Country Doctor Community Health Centers-Providers of Accessible Healthcare to Everyone Regardless of Ability to Pay.
A Portion Of Your Bill Be Donated To Ensure Everyone Has HealthCare Home At Country Doctor Community Health Care Centers

ADA’S Technical Books and Cafe | Altura | Barrio | Be Bar | Bimbo Cantina | Broadcast Coffee, Bellevue Ave. | Broadcast Coffee, Yesler | Cafe Vita | Cha Cha Lounge | Cherry St. Coffee | Coastal Kitchen | Cupcake Royale | Good Citizen | Hello Robin | Hopvine Pub | Liberty | Lost Lake Lounge | Mamnoon | Manhattan | Mioposto Bryant | Mioposto Mt. Baker | Molly Moon Ice Cream | Monsoon | Oddfellows Cafe | Poppy | Poquitos | Quinn’s Pub | Restaurant Zoe | Ristorante Machiavelli | Sitka & Spruce | Skillet Diner | Smith | Tallulah | The Tin Table | Van Trapps | Victrola Coffee | Via Tribunali | Vios | Witness

You’ll find more information at

Seattle’s new regulations leave space for densest microhousing to continue in Capitol Hill’s core


This 12th Ave microhousing project will have room for a Basque restaurant. This one will have beer. Put that in your regulations! (Image: CHS)

34 pages of legislation ( here in PDF) — plus a few possible last minute additions related to elements like defining exactly how many sinks an aPodment-style unit should have — are ready to move on from City Council as Seattle seeks to complete a long, drawn-out quest to regulate microhousing developments. Meanwhile, a legal battle that had a seeming happy ending for neighbors fighting a Capitol Hill microhousing development near the tony Harvard-Belmont Historical District will have a judicial epilogue.

DPD "congregate housing" related permit activity, 2010 to present. Big clouds of microhousing headed your way!

DPD “congregate housing” related permit activity, 2010 to present. Big clouds of microhousing headed your way!

Tuesday afternoon, the City Council’s land use and planning committee is expected to unwrinkle a final set of amendments before sending the bill onto the full council.

“People living in smaller units is a choice,” planning committee chair Mike O’Brien said. “What we really care about is how big the building is on the outside.”

UPDATE: The committee approved the legislation Tuesday afternoon and the bill will move to the full council for a vote on October 6th.

The new rules pounded out after over years of debate will continue to allow microhousing development in dense areas like Capitol Hill while setting a new average size requirement for the apartments built in lowrise-zoned areas. Under the compromises forged by O’Brien, Seattle will end up with two types of microhousing. In areas zoned lowrise where you’re more likely to find single family homes or small apartments, microhousing units must average 220 square feet — though Tuesday’s amendments may adjust size thresholds.Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 4.19.29 PM

But buildings within “urban centers” like the western core of Capitol Hill and “urban villages” like E Madison, Miller Park, and parts of the Central District will be open territory for good ol’ fashioned microhousing with shared, congregate elements and units that can average smaller than 180 square feet.

But we're only talking about 100 or so projects and no massive uptick through 2014's partial year tally

But we’re only talking about 100 or so projects and no massive uptick through 2014′s partial year tally even as Seattle still doesn’t have a plan in place to tackle housing affordability. It’s OK, though — at least somebody is thinking big

“My proposal will allow these to continue to be built as congregate housing, but specifies that they can only be built in higher density zones in our urban villages and urban centers,” an O’Brien statement on the legislation states. “These are the places that most likely have access to transit and amenities to support a higher density community.” Continue reading

By the way, Capitol Hill’s The Sterling is also not a landmark

Screen-Shot-2014-08-18-at-7.40.53-AM-367x550The Sterling — the 1950s-era 323 Bellevue Ave E apartment complex CHS called the “anti-aPodment” for its design mimicing the privacy of a single family home environment — is not an official Seattle landmark.

The Landmark Preservation Board rejected the property from the city’s protection and monitoring program last month.

While landmark nomination activity in Seattle is often connected to pending sales and development plans, there are no records of any transactions or construction planning currently filed for the address.

The Sterling was completed in 1956 and named for original owner Sterling Taylor, “a Seattle attorney and polio survivor who worked as an advocate for people with disabilities,” according to the nomination. He and his wife, Frances Taylor, developed the property and managed the apartments until his death in 1972. In 2005 after a series of owners, Dan Chua bought the property for $1,050,000.

Police investigate reported Cal Anderson gunpoint robbery — UPDATE

A victim told police he was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in Cal Anderson Park early Monday evening despite ongoing emphasis patrols in the area.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the victim fled to Seattle Central where he reported the hold-up to 911. Police were called out around 5:20 PM.

According to the victim, the hold-up occurred near the basketball court off Nagle Place. The distraught victim told police his assailant threatened him with a 9 MM pistol during the robbery.

Police were looking for black male, bald, with a chin-strap style beard and wearing a light blue plaid shirt with navy or gray pants. Police believed he may be a person known to area officers who has previously been trespassed from the park.

Seattle Police say East Precinct and gang units are continuing emphasis patrols in the Pike/Pine area. Last week, precinct officials asked Seattle Parks to leave the lights on around Cal Anderson until 2:30 AM on the weekends to help quell a wave of street crime. Meanwhile, the mayor has announced he plans to hire more officers and give them better crime fighting intelligence.

UPDATE 9/16/14: SPD has so far been unable to track down the suspect in Monday’s reported armed robbery. Records show he was arrested this summer on a weapons charge and for harassment.

Meanwhile, CHS has learned of an additional robbery reported near the park over the weekend.

According to radio dispatches, several SPD units including officers on foot patrol, and a K9 officer were in the area of 11th Ave at the time of a reported 12:45 AM street robbery just outside the park early Saturday morning. Several units responded to the area to search for the mugging suspect described as a heavyset Latino male in his 20s, around 6’1″ and wearing a blue button-up shirt.

A search of the area was not immediately successful. No further details are available at this time.

Wounded teen shows up at hospital as police investigate Central District gunfire incidents

Police found more than 30 shell casings in the street near 21st and E Fir after reports of gunfire in the Central District rolled into 911 late Sunday night. As police investigated, a 16-year-old suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound arrived at Harborview. Meanwhile, Monday afternoon, police rushed to the area around Judkins Park following a report of a gunman shooting at another vehicle from a window of a speeding SUV.

In the Monday afternoon incident, police swarmed the area around Judkins Park just before 2:30 PM and found shell casing strewn across 23rd Ave at Dearborn and at least one uninvolved vehicle hit. There were no immediate reports of any injuries involved with the gunfire. Traffic in the area was diverted during the investigation. UPDATE: SPD has posted a report on the Monday afternoon incident: “One vehicle was damaged by the gunfire. There were no reports of injuries. The roadway was reopened just after 3 pm.” More here.

Police say they are still investigating the Sunday night shooting incident:

Around 11:15, police received a number of 911 calls about gunshots near 21 Ave and East Fir Street. At the scene, officers recovered more than 30 shell casings from different guns and found several buildings and cars had been struck by gunfire. Police weren’t able to locate anyone with injuries at the scene.

Continue reading

With 88 performances in 5 days on Capitol Hill, Seattle Fringe Festival 2014 starts Wednesday

10633789_346196662204786_5486770815533513259_oAt $10 a pop, tickets to the productions in the Seattle Fringe Festival provide an excellent level of return on investment as measured by serendipity.

Beginning Wednesday, the festival will roll out 88 performances by 22 producing companies in 5 Capitol Hill venues over 5 days. Organizers call it “a port of call for exceptional artists from the touring circuit.” 2014′s performances have roots in productions from from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, CA to Lafayette, CO and New York, NY.

10540815_651986838232882_1018989245850765633_nYou can view the 2014 schedule and purchase tickets at

The Seattle Fringe Festival (SFF) returns to Capitol Hill September 17-21, 2014. SFF will feature an amazing 88 performances by 22 producing companies in 5 venues over 5 days. The Festival is a showcase of exciting new work by local and touring artists in an eclectic and engaging variety of performance styles.

This year, in addition to favorite venues from prior years (Annex Theater, Eclectic Theater, and two venues at NW Film Forum) SFF will be presenting work at the newly-opened Calamus Auditorium at Gay City Arts. Centrally located on Capitol Hill, all performances will be within walking distance of one another — and of the Festival Bar, St John’s. Every show runs an hour or less, and tickets are priced affordably at only $10. All ticket revenue is returned directly to the producing artists.

In 2012, CHS reported on the return of the festival after a nine-year hiatus.

In legal battle over stripped ‘Bettie Page’ branding, fashion chain shutters Broadway boutique — UPDATE: ‘It was the traffic’

Back in the Bettie days on Broadway (Image: CHS)

Back in the Bettie days on Broadway (Image: CHS)

(Image: Tatyana Boutique)

(Image: Tatyana Boutique)

Broadway’s old state liquor store location will again be empty. Tatyana Boutique, the Las Vegas-based women’s fashion chain stripped of its right to use the Bettie Page name this summer, has suddenly closed its Capitol Hill store.

A sign posted at 400 Broadway E inelegantly shared the news over the weekend. We have not yet heard back from company officials about the abrupt closure. Thanks to tipster Tim for bringing it to our attention.

UPDATE: The company’s co-founder Jan Glaser tells CHS that the closure is not part of a wider pullback by the company. “We just opened in Toronto,” Glaser said. Instead, Glaser said a lack of Broadway foot traffic was to blame. “From the beginning, traffic was an issue there. Even before the name change,” Glaser said. The entrepreneur said he may be looking for a new place in Seattle for a Tatyana store. CHS suggested E Pike below Broadway. Let us know if you have any ideas for Glaser. Continue reading

First look: Completing the overhaul of a Capitol Hill auto row building, Trove ‘fourplex’ debuts on E Pike

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Over the weekend, Rachel Yang finally got to see the pieces of her new food and drink puzzle come together on E Pike as the last step in the preservation-minded overhaul of one of the neighborhood’s remaining auto-row buildings. Trove, a gastronomical “fourplex” of concepts, brings the couple and the teams behind Seattle favorites Revel and Joule to Capitol Hill for the partnership’s first foray in the neighborhood’s booming nightlife economy.


Continue reading

CHS Pics | Round and round Cal Anderson for first annual Red Door 5K

IMG_2457IMG_2507The first ever Red Door 5K Run/Walk to benefit Broadway at Union’s Gilda’s Club sent runners and walkers big and little around and around Cal Anderson on a sunny Seattle September Saturday.

CHS wrote about the new fundraiser and “red door” campaign to support the organization and Camp Sparkle, a day camp for kids 4-12 affected by cancer. On Saturday, some of that support was paid $5 at a time thanks to the Red Door 5k “shortcut” donation box.

In two weeks, one of the inspirations for Saturday’s Gilda’s Club event will add its start and finish lines once again to Volunteer Park as the annual Seattle AIDS Walk returns. You can learn more about the September 27th fundraiser and E Pike-based organizer Lifelong at CHS is proud to once again be a community sponsor of the event.

More pictures below.IMG_2288 IMG_2348

Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Capitol Hill’s crow commuters

We may have a remaining few weeks of summer, but I know better than that. September hit and there’s a nip to the air, leaves are starting to fall, and the vast majority of birds have stopped singing. Territoriality is of moot importance for most birds when breeding isn’t a factor for concern but I see fall signaled best in the city by a rapid change in a specific birds’ behavior: crows.


An American Crow in transit. Credit: Brendan McGarry

Like all our breeding birds, crows breed at a specific time of year, and that time is past. However, unlike neotropical migrants and many other resident species, which make a rather quiet pass between breeding and non-breeding, crows make quite the splash. Once they’ve reared their young to the point of self-sufficiency (though they may stay with their parents and a larger family group for some time), most of our local crows no longer sleep in their breeding territories but repair to a local roost site at night.

You have almost certainly seen behavior associated with this phenolocial switch. On either end of your day, you may have noticed commuters in the air. Continue reading