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

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A project more than a decade in the pushing will officially open Thursday night with a ceremony to light the marquee out front of 12th Ave Arts. We’ve included details on the ceremony and a history of the Capitol Hill Housing project through the prism of CHS news coverage, below. Stuck in the mire between community groups who wanted to get something done and reluctance in some key corners of City Hall and at East Precinct, the debut of 12th Ave Arts is a reminder that pushes from groups like the Capitol Hill Community Council and neighborhood business and organizations can still get something done. “These citizen volunteers went down there and said there’s a better use for this,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath told CHS earlier this year. Today, the old, barbed wire-ringed police parking lot is gone and the marquee lights are ready to go on.

12th Avenue Arts Grand Opening

WHAT:                 Capitol Hill Housing celebrates the grand opening of 12th Avenue Arts, with remarks by community leaders, performances by local artists, and food from neighborhood restaurants

WHEN:                 Thursday, November 20, 4:00 – 8:00pm
Remarks:  4:00pm
Marquee lighting:  5:00pm

WHERE:               12th Avenue Arts:  1620 12th Ave, Seattle, WA  98122

WHO:                   Christopher Persons – Capitol Hill Housing

Michael Shiosaki – City of Seattle, Rep. Frank Chopp – Speaker of the House, Brian Bonlender – Washington State Department of Commerce, Carmen Best – Seattle Deputy Chief of Police, Steve Walker – Seattle Office of Housing, Kevin Nowak – KeyBank, Michelle Morlan – National Development Council, Greg Carter, Darragh Kennan, Ali el-Gasseir – BlackBox Artistic Directors, Leah Pfenning – 12th Avenue Arts Resident, Michael Malone – Capital Campaign Co-Chair

HOW:                   Open to the public; members of the press invited to attend

NOTE: More than 400 RSVPs have been received, which is very close to the building’s capacity! 

If you can’t make it Thursday night, stay tuned: Organizers say they’re planning another open house in December.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

INSIDE 12TH AVE ARTS

Building: 29,000 square feet, six stories, designed by SMR Architects

Cost: $47 million including a mix of tax credits, levy dollars, state programs and commercial bank loans to complete the $38 million project and a $7.7 million loan from the city. City Hall also transferred the property to the nonprofit developer in an agreement pounded out in 2012.

Affordable housing: 88 units reserved for those with household earnings no greater than 60% of the area median income, putting max income eligibility around $37,000 for a single person and and $53,000 for a four person household.

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

Blotter | New restaurant suffers $4k burglary in rash of Capitol Hill-area biz break-ins

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

  • Single Shot burglary: A new Capitol Hill restaurant suffered a costly lesson in a weekend break-in. According to the SPD report on the incident, Summit Ave’s Single Shot suffered more than $4,000 in losses after somebody broke into the month-old venue next door to Top Pot Donuts and stole two computers and around $1,000 in cash. Police say the business was found unlocked and a key box located outside the restaurant had been damaged. The report also notes that police were told Single Shot did not yet have an alarm or video surveillance system in place “due to the fact that it had recently opened.”
  • E Union cafe burglary: A cafe in the 2000 block of E Union suffered a $500+ burglary earlier this month after an unknown thief busted the restaurant’s front door sometime over the weekend of November 9th: Continue reading

Hill Wonk | Geography — and affordability — defines community of place

We’ve asked Zachary Pullin, Vice President of the Capitol Hill Community Council, to contribute to CHS about community civics and politics on a semi-regular basis. If you’re an expert and want to share with the community in a recurring CHS column, we’d like to hear from you. This is his first post for CHS.

550190_10151496017543696_1846920479_nThe historic draw of Capitol Hill, its evolution into the nucleus of LGBTQ culture, is rooted in its mantle as a neighborhood that families moved away from. Housing was affordable, LGBTQ services were convenient, and jobs in downtown Seattle were close-by. Recently, however, our neighborhood is known for its skyrocketing rents, displacement of longtime residents, a sanitized culture, and rapid development.

When urban areas and inner-cities are “rediscovered,” with their high walkability and mixed-use development, naturally the complex and challenging conversation comes back to gentrification. Many Seattle neighborhoods see gentrification evolve over decades, framed as the revitalization of neighborhoods. On the exterior, it is positive, rapid growth meeting the demands of substantial population surge.

But, one person’s view of our neighborhood as revitalized may be another person’s characterization of our neighborhood as gentrified. Frankly, revitalization, reinvestment, or renewal of a neighborhood is not inherently bad, but unchecked gentrification challenges us to reflect on how our role in gentrifying a neighborhood transforms it, detrimentally.

Continue reading

Proposed $87 million Madison Bus Rapid Transit is like light rail — without the rail

After retreating from the edge of catastrophe, Seattle’s public transit system may be en route to becoming a regional leader by combining the efficiency and prestige of light rail with the cost and flexibility of buses.

It’s called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): essentially, a bus system that works like light rail. The City Council has coughed up $1 million to study a proposed $87 million BRT “corridor” along Madison, running from the waterfront up to 23rd Ave (by Madison Temple church and that psychic boutique shop).image02

To explain the project and get feedback from locals, the Seattle Department of Transportation will hold a community workshop about the Madison BRT corridor on Thursday from 5-7pm at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Broadway. Using “interactive design stations” inside the meeting room, SDOT will “present community-developed design ideas that focus on key intersections or a potential station location within each area. Each station will be staffed with engineers, planners, and urban designers to allow for an interactive conversation and sketching of design ideas to capture community ideas and feedback.”

Is this just a re-branded bus route?
Nope. Former mayor of Bogotá Enrique Peñalosa describes his city’s BRT, TransMilenio, like this: Continue reading

On the List | 12th Ave Arts, Donum sale at The Project Room, comics at the library, BAIT Seattle opening, Lobby’s last night

Capitol Hill’s big upcoming event is Thursday afternoon as the theater-powered mixed-use development 12th Ave Arts celebrates its grand opening.

Also this weekend, six local artists will come together in support of Capitol Hill’s The Project Room to host a two day sale event. Donum: a Sale of Contemporary Art and Fashion will take place on November 21 and 22nd from 1 to 7 PM. The artists will display and sell their works — 25% of their proceeds will in fact go to support The Project Room.

Born three years ago, E Pine’s The Project Room provides grant and giving-powered art programs to the public in an effort to maintain a free flow of art and creativity in the city. The organization has been holding workshops and various art events and presentations since its opening. “We are trying to raise money for The Project Room, support these artists and connect to new audiences,” Britt Rynearson, planner for the show and a Project Room board member, told CHS. Continue reading

SPD releases video in search for Seattle U armed robbery suspects, getaway car

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 4.13.18 PMSPD robbery detectives have released security video and are asking the public’s help identifying the suspects and the getaway car in the November 10th armed robbery in a Seattle University parking lot:

Seattle University Robbery Video Released
Detectives are asking for your help finding two suspects and a getaway driver involved in a Seattle University robbery that happened November 11th (sic).

Officers on Wednesday released surveillance video taken from a Seattle University parking lot that shows two people getting out of a yellow Ford Crown Victoria. A few minutes later the suspects can be seen running back to the getaway car. One of the suspects can be seen turning and apparently point a gun at the victim across the parking lot. The car then pulls away and out of view.

Robbery detectives are asking for any information you may have on this case. Please call them directly at 206-684-5561.

Faces of Capitol Hill | Shopping Cart Sean

Sean has been living on the streets of Capitol Hill for about 10 years and says he'd like to get off them one day. “Capitol Hill is a cool neighborhood. It has everything I need and is centrally located. The cost of housing is ridiculous and sometimes overly opinionated people go out of the way to mess with you because they don’t like what you do or who you are, but there’s a lot of good people up here.” (Image: Tim Durkan for CHS)

Sean has been living on the streets of Capitol Hill for about 10 years and says he’d like to get off them one day. “Capitol Hill is a cool neighborhood. It has everything I need and is centrally located. The cost of housing is ridiculous and sometimes overly opinionated people go out of the way to mess with you because they don’t like what you do or who you are, but there’s a lot of good people up here.” (Image: Tim Durkan for CHS)

Photographer Tim Durkan is a regular contributor to CHS. This is his first contribution in a new series on CHS dedicated to capturing the faces and the stories of people on Capitol Hill. You can view more of Durkan’s work at facebook.com/timdphotos.

Sweatbox trying to hang in until Pike/Pine development means new customers, not torn up streets

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(Images: Sweatbox)

10542681_4272840075181_1655506004600303129_oCapitol Hill’s Sweatbox, one of the first purveyors of Bikram Yoga in Seattle, is in a fight for its life to survive years of 10th Ave construction. Thousands of new residents — and potential yoga students — are coming to Pike/Pine. The studio’s Laura Culberg is doing everything she can to hold the pose until they get here.

“We’re just trying to get a breath,” Culberg told CHS.

Culberg said that ongoing construction and torn up streets for infrastructure upgrades to support new Pike/Pine developments have severely damaged Sweatbox’s Capitol Hill business. It’s a similar situation at the other businesses on 10th and 11th just south of E Pike though the likes of Neumos have so far weathered the challenges. There is no public mitigation money for the private projects necessitating the work. Instead, Culberg said she was forced to file a claim with the city asking for more than $11,000 for lost business — one life raft she has been hoping for to help Sweatbox survive the ongoing lean times.

But in the course of reporting this story, CHS had the sorry business of informing Culberg that the city had rejected her claim. Continue reading

City Hall’s affordable housing committee puts Capitol Hill demographics in its sights

Starting this week, the mayor-appointed group tasked with producing an affordable housing plan for Seattle by May 2015 is digging in with a series of public meetings.

While past city efforts to create more affordable housing have targeted Seattle’s poorest, City Hall officials say the Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory Committee will be considering a much wider band Seattle residents — a band that should include many on Capitol Hill.

Yes, even you.

In the lead-up to forming the committee, Mayor Ed Murray invoked the need to support longtime residents and those who choose, and may one day choose, to make Seattle home. In other words, working stiffs trying to eek it out in increasingly expensive neighborhoods.

Here’s a look at the income levels for one and two person households that the committee will be targeting:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 3.49.49 PM

On Thursday some of the 28 committee members will be at the Garfield Community Center for a public meeting to hear what you want and need from a plan. The mayor won’t be making an appearance. Continue reading

Development notes: Design reviews, 12th Ave Arts grand opening

The Reverb

The Reverb

  • Design reviews: No CHS write-ups but Wednesday night brings two more projects in front of the design review board —
    • 1023 E. Alder St: One third of the Spectrum developments along 12th Ave near Yesler Terrace, the Reverb takes the final step in the review process Wednesday night.
    • 215 Boylston Ave E: This infill project will bring 25 units to Boylston just north of E John.
  • The 12th Ave Arts grand opening is Thursday, November 20th

    The 12th Ave Arts grand opening is Thursday, November 20th

    12th Ave Arts: The Capitol Hill Housing development transforming the former East Precinct parking lot into affordable apartments, theater space, restaurants, and office space will celebrate with a grand opening Thursday night. The event’s tours are reportedly already RSVP’s up — but go for it, we say.

  • Sunset Electric kudos: The preservation-friendly Sunset Electric development is now award winning:
    NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association has recognized The Wolff Company’s Sunset Electric building on Capitol Hill in Seattle as its mid- rise multifamily development of the year. The prestigious award comes on the heels of the building’s recent LEED Platinum certification for efficiency and environmental responsibility.
    CHS wrote about the Weber Thompson-designed mixed-use project here following its opening earlier this year.

Pro-density group loses challenge to zoning adjustments to shrink building size

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This 5-story microhousing development in a Lowrise 3 zone at 11th and Republican is the type of development new zoning rules would attempt to restrict. (Photo: CHS)

A city arbitrator has rejected a pro-density group’s appeal of zoning code changes that seek to scale back the size of new housing projects, including future microhousing and townhouse developments around Capitol Hill. The decision paves the way for the “down-zone” in Lowrise 3 areas to go to the City Council for a vote.

In October, the Seattle Hearing Examiner rejected an appeal from the developer-backed group Smart Growth Seattle, which argued the new adjustments ignore increasing demands for development in the city. Continue reading

911 | Life-threatening injuries in 50-foot fall on 18th Ave

(Image: @jasminemdean)

(Image: @jasminemdean)

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

  • 18th Ave fall: A man believed to be in his 30s was found with life-threatening injuries outside a four-story building on 18th Ave just north of Madison Tuesday afternoon. Police and Seattle Fire were called to the scene just before 2 PM in a response in which medics worked for nearly 40 minutes to stabilize the victim before transporting him to Harborview. Police were working to sort out the circumstances of the fall. Seattle Fire described the man’s injuries as life threatening. Continue reading