Lark nestles into its ‘grown-up’ Central Agency home

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Lark’s new roost in the old and overhauled Central Agency building (Images: CHS)

Lark's ownership trio -- Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

Lark’s ownership trio — Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

In August 2013, when layers of metal sheeting were first getting peeled off the old File Box warehouse, CHS predicted that the area around 10th and Seneca would be completely transformed in 20 years. You can probably shave a few years off of that prediction.

After more than a year of preservation work on the 1917-built Central Agency Building, the cavernous food and drink complex is buzzing with activity. Central Agency’s anchor tenant, Lark, opened the doors to its new home December 4th after closing up shop at 12th and E Spring earlier this year. So far, chef/owner John Sundstrom said the reaction from his 12th Ave regulars has been overwhelmingly positive.IMG_3411

“We love the space,” he said. “It’s a little bit more of a grown-up experience.” Continue reading

Beware the Union Triangle, Capitol Hill’s current car prowl hot spot

(Image: SPD SeaStat)

(Image: SPD SeaStat)

As a dozen East Precinct patrol officers prepare to begin testing SPD’s new body camera program next week (and get ready for new uniforms, a new Capitol Hill-designed patch, and new SUV patrol vehicles), maybe the department can make some headway on the latest scourge identified by the department’s new SeaStat crime analytics. If not, you might want to walk when you go check out the new home of Lark in the Central Agency building.

Capitol Hill-based design firm DEI Creative worked on the redesign of SPD's patch

Capitol Hill-based design firm DEI Creative worked on the redesign of SPD’s patch. More on the patch, new uniforms, new SUV patrol vehicles and the camera program here

Identifying a trend CHS reported on in early November, SPD’s number crunchers say central Capitol Hill is part of a corridor of theft for Seattle car prowlers with more than 30% of the city’s prowling crimes occurring within a square mile and a half swath.

Overall, CHS’s analysis of SPD reports showed 2014 was on pace to produce about a third more reports of auto thefts and car prowls than 2013 in East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill.

The worst recent concentration according to the SeaStat analysis was reported in the Union Triangle area bounded by Broadway, E Union, Madison and 12th Ave.

In the meantime, SPD has put renewed energy into addressing property crime after reports earlier this year of burglaries in the city not being investigated.

The top 10 films of 2014… on 12th Ave

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush's list. CHS gives it ***

The Grand Budapest Hotel made Bush’s list. CHS gives it ***

There are some bad signs for the future of film — and some good. Let’s turn to Lyall Bush, the executive director of 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum, for some home hope. NWFF has posted Bush’s 2014 top 10 list. You can add your picks in comments. The constraints are time-flexible. We don’t really care what year the film was made — just tell us what you watched and liked in 2014 and where you saw it.

Civilization and its Disturbances: The Year in Film vis Northwest Film Forum’s Lyall Bush

  1. force majeure asks us to regard nature against something like artifice
  2. Contempt — one of Jean-Luc Godard’s major films, and therefore one of the greatest films ever made
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel — in his own highly designed way Anderson has made his Vertigo
  4. La Voz de los Silenciados — the film’s tale of human enslavement in New York quite originally suggests Czech surreal filmmaking from decades ago
  5. A Spell to Ward of the Darkness — a beautiful braid of the complex, the stirring, and the disturbing
  6. A Touch of Sin — a bigger film than he has previously made, harder and shinier
  7. Under the Skin — arresting film about an alien on the streets of Glasgow
  8. Nymphomaniac, Vol. 1 — Von Trier, and his leading lady, Charlotte Gainsbourg, make it something of a deconstruction of civilization and its discontents
  9. In Country — a documentary about Vietnam war re-enactors in Oregon
  10. Speed of Sound — what happens when the text message from a friend who died a year ago pops up on a phone

Outer Planet ready to brew its first batch, welcome neighbor cheese bar Culture Club

For many new food and drink ventures on Capitol Hill, the first days after openings soft and grand are critical to success. But for 12th Ave microbrewery Outer Planet, this coming weekend — weeks before its planned opening — is when it all begins.

“This weekend is pivotal,” Outer Planet Brewing co-owner Renato Martins tells CHS. “We’ll be brewing the first batch then the countdown begins.”

If all goes well, Outer Planet will be lined up to opens its doors — and its Capitol Hill-brewed taps — in late January.

The culmination of months of work and on-the-fly learning by Martins and brewmaster James Stoecardo comes in a big week of news for the “nanobrewery” on the groundfloor of a new 12th Ave microhousing apartment building. By spring, Outer Planet’s brewery will be accompanied by neighbor Culture Club, a “cheese bar” concept from Melrose Market cheesemonger Sheri Lavigne. Continue reading

Goodbye First Hill McDonald’s, hello 17-story mixed-use building  

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The First Hill McDonald’s franchise is an intriguing community hub. The Madison and Minor location seems to accomplish what an urban McDonald’s can be at its best: a place for surgeons, construction workers, homeless people and everyone in between to gather together for a cheap, gigantic cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Other times, it’s just weird.

Documents recently filed with the city show the First Hill McDonald’s is now a goner and slated to be torn down. Developer Holland Partners has filed permits to demolish the McDonald’s building and erect a 240,000 square foot, 17-story mixed-use development.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 2.47.11 PMDetails on the new project are sparse, but early plans call for 200 apartment units and 151 parking spaces. The Vancouver, WA based developer was also behind the similarly sized Coppins Well project next door. At the time, developers touted the Coppins Well project as the first high-rise apartment building to break ground on First Hill in 35 years.

Just a few blocks away, Whole Foods will be part of a 16-story mixed-use apartment building planned at Madison and Broadway slated to open in 2018.

CHS couldn’t reach anyone at Holland for comment about the McDonald’s project.

A representative for franchisees in the region said the Madison McDonalds has been open for about at least 17 years (see comments for memories of this location going back to the 1970s). Earlier this year, CHS reported on McDonald’s employees urging their coworkers to walk off the job for higher wages. We don’t know yet if the franchise will relocate in the neighborhood or nearby, but the possibility may get the Capitol Hill rumor mill churning again.

Hill Wonk | Listening at the Capitol Hill Community Council Winter Open House

Like so many in our neighborhood and across the country, I sat at home watching the live feed of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch deliver the reasoning behind the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the murder of  unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.

The news compelled people to do something, to speak out, and to implore us all to listen. In these moments, we are challenged to truly understand that a more complex reality exists. We are challenged to listen rather than default to putting our own lens and experience before others.

The Capitol Hill Community Council Winter Open House is Thursday starting at 6:30 PM in the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse -- CHS wrote here about the party and chance to talk with city officials about Capitol Hill issues

The Capitol Hill Community Council Winter Open House is Thursday starting at 6:30 PM in the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse — CHS wrote here about the party and chance to talk with city officials about Capitol Hill issues

When we allow our hurt to deafen our ears to the hurt of others, we are invited to maintain perspective and recognize our hurt relative to that of others. Fundamentally, we desire validation, and when we hurt we want someone to notice, and to listen. Listening is a critical point of orientation in a world of possibility because listening that results in hearing is possible when we aren’t most in love with our voice over any other.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s REI history, auto row legacy convince board to consider second 11th/Pine building for landmarks protection

Thanks to a confluence of history that includes Pike/Pine’s auto row and the nascent era of one of the best known companies in the Pacific Northwest, advocates for better preservation of Capitol Hill’s remaining auto row buildings got more than they could have hoped Wednesday night. The Seattle Landmarks Board voted unanimously to nominate *both* the exterior and — thanks to the three-story structure’s impressive upper-story truss — the interior of the White Motor Co. building at the corner of 11th and Pine for consideration for the city’s official historical protections.

A hearing that began with the representative for the property owners noting she was speaking to the body “in the hope that this not be nominated,” ended with a vote to examine the building’s worthiness for protection despite those hopes. The official nomination hearing is now slated for January.


Images: reihistory.com

Last week, CHS featured a letter written by neighborhood resident Andrew Haas advocating for full preservation of the White Motor Co. building and the neighboring Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company structures home to Value Village, the Rhino Room club and The Stranger alternative weekly newspaper. Haas spoke up again Wednesday night during the public comment portion of the hearing, calling the White Motor Co. building “remarkably intact” and making the case for the significance of REI’s decades in the building as the workplace of the company’s first full-time employee, outdoor enthusiast Jim Whitaker.

The head of government and community affairs for REI also spoke in favor of the nomination. Marc Berejka said his company was unaware that the buildings that made up its onetime headquarters were being considered as landmarks until learning of Haas’s advocacy. The Kelly-Springfield building had previously advanced to the next round in the landmarks process following its late November hearing.

“Our members have expressed a deep sense of connectedness to the smell of creosote,” Berejka quipped about the legendary odor inside the building now home to Value Village. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Chanukah’s first night brings jelly donuts, awesome holiday sweaters to E Pike

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(Image: Alex Garland)

No, that wasn’t the soft opening of a new LGBTQ-friendly jelly donut bar on E Pike Tuesday night. That was the first night of Chanukah inside Gay City’s Calamus Auditorium as Kolenu, Seattle’s Jewish LGBTQ group, held its annual Light the Night celebration. You can be part of another community Chanukah celebration Friday night as E Pike’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai hosts its latke dinner.

Spiritual in another way altogether, Wednesday afternoon brings a holiday celebration of a different sort to E Pike — Sun Liquor is holding a secret eggnog pop-up shop.

A dozen Seattle Police officers will begin wearing cameras in East Precinct

UPDATE: SPD is also showing off its new uniforms. New vehicles coming, too. Mayor Murray already made the gay mayor, new police uniforms joke in the press conference so you don't have to.

UPDATE: SPD is also showing off its new uniforms. New vehicles coming, too. Mayor Murray already made the gay mayor, new police uniforms joke in the press conference so you don’t have to.

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Barring any last minute technological issues, a dozen East Precinct cops will begin wearing the department’s batch of test body cameras this weekend in a two to three-month trial of the technology that could eventually lead to full-time deployment across Seattle.

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Seattle’s trial of two competing products is scheduled to begin over the weekend in the precinct covering Capitol Hill and the Central District. Continue reading

Philadelphia Fevre closes bringing 30 years of cheesesteaks to an end in the Central District

(Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

“Closed for business” (Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

2014 will go down as a sad year for legendary Central District restaurants as 23rd and Madison’s Philadelphia Fevre has served its last “authentic Philly-style” cheesesteak after 31 years of business.

Here’s the legend Philly Fevre ownership tells of the sandwich shop’s birth:

Philadelphia Fevre was started by Renee LeFevre in 1983.  Ms. LeFevre moved to the northwest from Philadelphia with an idea of starting the first authentic Philly steak shop in the Seattle area.  Renee was a stickler for Philly authenticity and tradition.  Through Renee’s leadership the restaurant quickly established itself as a favorite stop for east coast transplants homesick for an authentic Philly-style meal.  The restaurant received numerous awards and recognition for its great food and unique offering.  Ms. LeFevre created a strong base and long standing tradition that is still felt by many of the shop’s customers today…

B5Eyqc6CAAAnPKrCHS is working to have more on what lead to the closure and the history of the shop soon but it looks like the restaurant’s end was anticipated by its owners. The Fevre’s liquor license was discontinued earlier this fall, often a sign of a business winding itself down. But we hope to be able to report more on the circumstances later this week.

There is no word, yet, on anything lined up to take over the space. If you need to get your Fevre fix, you can visit sibling Philly Fever Restaurant and Bar on 3rd St. in Renton. We don’t know why the sister location opted to change her name from Fevre. Philly owners say they are looking for a new Seattle location in which to reopen.

The 23rd/Madison shop’s closure follows this summer’s end of Catfish Corner which shuttered at MLK and Cherry after 30 years of business. That restaurant space remains empty.