$2.65M deal for affordable housing site puts Capitol Hill Station development in motion — UPDATE

Early concept of the development coming to "Site B North"

Early concept of the development coming to “Site B North”

Sound Transit is finally ready to sell off the first of five properties surrounding the Capitol Hill light rail station that will transform Broadway and serve as a new gateway to Capitol Hill.

The board is expected to approve the $2.65 million sale (PDF) of Site B-North to developer Gerding Edlen during its Thursday afternoon meeting. The Portland-based developer previously selected Capitol Hill Housing to develop and own an 86-unit affordable housing project on the site, which runs along 10th Ave between John and Denny Way.

UPDATE (4:35 PM): Sound Transit board members approved the Site B-North sale agreement during their Thursday afternoon meeting. Despite a Sound Transit staffer reminding the board the action was “a very, very big deal,” the approval was rather unceremonious as one member had to be pulled in from the hallway to make a quorum for the quick vote. There was no board discussion of the measure.

“The Capitol Hill community has repeatedly and strongly expressed its desire for affordable housing,” said Brie Gyncild, co-chair of the Capitol Hill Champion community group. “We need truly affordable housing as soon as possible and we near it near the light rail station.”


(Image: Gerding Edlen)

According to Gerding’s winning proposal, half of Site B-North’s units will be restricted to households making no more than 30% of the area median income. The other half will be made affordable to households at or below 60% of AMI. A quarter of the units will have two or three bedrooms. Initial plans call for a community center and a daycare, as well as a rooftop deck and computer lab.

The $2.65 million price tag for the “transit orientated development” “Site B North” comes just under Sound Transit’s estimated price last year. A substantial percentage of the proceeds will go towards paying back federal transportation grants that were secured for the project.

In August, the board is expected to approve land leases for three other sites so Gerding Edlen can move forward with its plan to build 100,000 square feet of commercial, housing, and community space. Seattle Central College has been given a right of first refusal to develop a fifth parcel, Site D, due to the site’s location directly next to the school’s Broadway promenade.  Continue reading

Change coming on Broadway: Dick’s will no longer be cash-only

Hungry fans get served at the 60th anniversary party in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Hungry fans get served at the 60th anniversary party in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Come September, you can hand over your credit or debit card when that Broadway gutter punk asks for a few bucks to help “put Dick’s in my mouth.”

The famously all-cash Seattle Dick’s Drive-in chain is set to add the ability to pay by card starting in September:

After 62 years of accepting only cash, Dick’s Drive-In will also be accepting credit and debit cards at all locations by September 2016. soon to accept

CHS talked to a Dick’s rep about the decision and changes at the Broadway outlet of the six location chain. The days of Dick’s cashiers magically tallying your fuzzily delivered order of 5 Deluxes, 4 fries, and 6 chocolate milkshakes have been gone since Dick’s added a new point of sales system so the basic ordering experience won’t change. But Dick’s wants its customers to keep pitching into the drive-in’s Change/Round Up for Charity program which has collected around $1.4 million for local nonprofits since it was started in 1998. “A Deluxe, fries, a shake, and Round Up,” the Dick’s rep suggested for your new standard order in the drive-in’s payment card future. Continue reading

Review board gives final design approval to Piecora’s development

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.39.49 AMThe East Design Review Board narrowly signed-off Wednesday night on the revised plans for a six-story, 137-unit apartment and retail project set to rise at 14th and Madison.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the board passed the project through the recommendation phase of the Seattle review process, pushing the development passed the final public review gate before construction can begin.

CHS reported here on the development’s second attempt in the recommendation review phase and the the board’s concerns about the planned development’s E Madison-facing retail space as well as the project’s relationship to the surrounding neighborhood’s existing buildings and park.

The conditional approval still requires a few tweaks from developer Equity Residential and its architects from Ankrom Moisan but will start the clock on the construction phase of the project that is planned to fill the now-empty lot where Piecora’s used to stand.

Tweaks to Pike/Pine rules offer design dos and preservation don’ts

Optimism Brewing, which opened last year inside a fully overhaul auto-row era building on E Union, is neither a "do" or a "don't" -- the new guidelines don't address how best to preserve complete buildings (Image: CHS)

Optimism Brewing, which opened last year inside a fully overhaul auto-row era building on E Union, is neither a “do” or a “don’t” — the new guidelines don’t address how best to preserve complete buildings (Image: CHS)

After six years of projects subject to the Pike/Pine Neighborhood Design Guidelines, Capitol Hill has seen its fair share of good and bad buildings. The guidelines are used by the East Design Review Board as the basis to recommend design changes to new projects in the neighborhood. But explaining what exactly makes a good and bad design under the guidelines can be frustrating for board members, architects, and the public.

To better inform everyone on the intentions of the design guidelines, a proposed update adds an appendix featuring real world examples of good and bad designs. The 18-page addition was created by city-hired consultant, Makers Architecture and Urban Design.

“The hope was to have more information to guide on things that were really general,” said Dennis Meier, a strategic advisor with the Office of Planning and Community Development.

One example offered in the new appendix shows how the design guidelines favor a 12th and Pike facade over that of one built on Broadway:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.47.09 PM

Continue reading

On the List | Woven art using human looms in Cal Anderson, Lusio light art in Volunteer Park


Get your weave on at Bonds. (Image: Mandy Greer via Instagram)

Yarn bombings have struck trees in Cal Anderson Park before, but human targets may be a first.

Fallow Collective, an art group organized by a trio of Seattle artists, is holding its inaugural performance of Bonds in the park Thursday evening. The project is not so much performed by the Fallow Collective artists, but on them. Any and all are invited to help “create weavings” on the bodies of artists from 5-8 PM in an undertaking with a”no-goal, no-skill, no-judgement framework.”

It’s a weekend of interesting art in the park around Capitol Hill. Saturday night brings the premier of the Lusio light art festival to Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Amante Pizza’s infamous flashing sign re-illuminated on E Olive Way


Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture.

The Amante Pizza sign has come beaming back to life and at least one Capitol Hill man is making it known he is very unhappy about it.

Long a source of neighborhood grumbling, the video screen that flashes pizza promotions at Denny and E Olive Way has been criticized as an unfitting welcome sign to Capitol Hill. After a complaint was made last year, a city inspector confirmed it was not only a matter of taste, finding a “violation of changing image frequency.” A subsequent inspection found the same issue. Continue reading

Blotter | Cops bust Batarang-tossing assault suspect

(Images: SPD)

(Images: SPD)

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Batarang bust: A suspect who reportedly tried to attack a Capitol Hill bar bouncer Monday night with an “improvised spear” apparently had more in his bag of bad guy tricks. SPD says the suspect was taken into custody — but not before he allegedly threw a “a sharp, black Batman-style throwing star” at the police SUV pursuing him. From SPD:

Officers arrested a man on Capitol Hill Monday after he threatened a bouncer with a homemade spear and threw a batarang at officers as they pursued him.

Police were called to a Capitol Hill bar around 6:30 PM after a man with a knife attached to a metal pole reportedly swung the improvised spear at a bar employee near East Olive Way and East Denny Way. Continue reading

First stretch of reconfigured 23rd Ave opens to two-way traffic

Joel Connelly can hop into his jalopy for a pleasant drive — a long kinked-off segment of 23rd Ave reopens to “two-way traffic” with its newly reconfigured lanes today:

Two-Way Traffic Resumes on 23rd Avenue Today from East Cherry Street to East Union Street

SEATTLE – The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that beginning today, July 27, two-way traffic on 23rd Avenue will reopen from East Cherry Street to East Union Street, allowing better access to businesses, homes, and community organizations in the area. This work is part of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Ikina Sushi, built with late night hot dog cash, ready for E Pike rush

Michael Suzuki (Image: CHS)

Michael Suzuki (Image: CHS)

If the crowds that filled Ikina Sushi between acts during the 2016 Capitol Hill Block Party last weekend are any indication, the new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar is going to be a hit on E Pike.

“I’m really happy with this location. I think we’ll do quite well,” said Michael Suzuki, general manager and chief chef at Ikina.

Suzuki estimates the Block Party brought in about 500 guests. A soft-opening on July 20 was also a crowded, Pike/Pine-packed affair. The plan is to open for good starting today. Happy grand opening.

A Madison Park resident, Suzuki said he spent time on E Pike and noticed how packed the area is late into the night which changed his perception of how to run the restaurant during the later hours.

Ikina is outfitted with a great sound system, he said, so music and dimmed lighting will set the atmosphere for late-night guests who will be served cocktails and small plates at the sushi bar.

Entrepreneur Shinsuke Nikaido, who has been serving Japanese-style hot dogs from his Gourmet Dog Japon carts since 2010, is the mastermind and the money behind Ikina.

“Basically (Ikina) is built on hot dog business money,” Suzuki said. Continue reading

Bus Rapid Transit: Weigh in on Madison’s new station and road designs

BRT-Update-12-18-15The framework may already be set for a new 11-stop “bus rapid transit” line along Madison, but you can still have a say on the interior design.

Stretching from 1st Ave downtown to MLK Way in Madison Valley, the future Madison BRT will travel in a dedicated center lane with island stops from 9th Ave to 14th Ave while the rest of the route will either run curbside with right-turning traffic or in mixed traffic. Within that outline there are still some decisions to be made.

City planners are holding three community meetings around Capitol Hill in August to show off the latest BRT designs and to take public feedback on the project. Seattle Department of Transportation officials are specifically looking for feedback on updated station and roadway designs, which will be unveiled at the first meeting:

  • Wednesday, August 3rd, 5 – 7 PM
    Seattle University, Campion Ballroom, 914 E Jefferson St
  • Thursday, August 4th, 11 AM – 1 PM
    Town Hall Seattle, Downstairs, 1119 8th Ave
  • Tuesday, August 9th, 5 – 7 PM
    Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, 1700 23rd Ave
  • You can also submit comments online by emailing MadisonBRT@seattle.gov.

“In 2015 we sought feedback on which blocks the stations should be at, and now we’re narrowing it down to exact location within the identified blocks and how riders will access the stations,” said SDOT spokesperson Emily Reardon. Continue reading

Hugo House announces 2016/2017 season, its first on First Hill

(Image: Hugo House)

(Image: Hugo House)

Literary nonprofit Hugo House has announced the lineup for this 2016-2017 season, its first full season in an interim stay on First Hill.

Hugo’s Molly Woolbright writes:

I’m so happy to announce Hugo House’s 2016–2017 season, which features a diverse lineup of established and emerging writers throughout our two series—Hugo Literary Series and Word Works—as well as our one-off events. We’re thrilled to welcome Mary Gaitskill, Téa Obreht, Colson Whitehead, Karen Russell, Terrance Hayes, Patricia Smith, Alexander Chee, and many more.

Some of the best news in the announcement will come for Capitol Hill fans of the nonprofit’s popular Lit Series: Continue reading

First ever Lusio light art festival ready to switch on Saturday in Volunteer Park

On what is expected to be the darkest night of the year, artists plan to bring light to Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park.

Lusio, a celebration of light art organized by artist Mollie Bryan, will take place Saturday, July 30 in the park from 8 to 10 PM. The festival will feature more than 20 light and sound installation pieces, including collaborative and interactive pieces.

From lusiolight.com:

As the sun sets on July 30, Volunteer Park will slowly come to life and “awaken” with light and sound. Local artists will install and project multiple light installations all over the park for you to explore. The live ambient showcase from the Vancouver BC label, Silent Season, will orchestrate the entire event with beautiful, deep, natural sounds to delight the auditory senses. Visuals will be projected onto the amphitheater wall . Local artists brought in from all over to delight you with their craft.

Continue reading