Judge’s decision on Capitol Hill development puts brakes on Seattle microhousing projects

Footprint Eleventh is one of seven microhousing developments from the company already built around Capitol Hill

Footprint Eleventh is one of seven microhousing developments from the company already built around Capitol Hill (Image: Footprint)

A King County Superior Court judge’s decision on a Capitol Hill microhousing project has brought permitting for the housing type to a halt across Seattle. In a statement, the Department of Planning and Development said that the judge’s ruling that rooms with “private bathrooms and food preparation areas” inside a planned congregate-style 49-bedroom building at 741 Harvard Ave E near Aloha should count as living units has caused it to “re-examine” other “similar projects” under review around Seattle.

“DPD has concluded that the individual rooms within any proposed development having an identical or substantially similar arrangement also must be regulated as separate dwelling units,” the DPD statement reads.

A DPD spokesperson said 21 Seattle projects already in the planning process were notified of the change in requirements.

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Graffiti focused art supplier Art Primo is coming to Capitol Hill

Seattle-based art supplier Art Primo is bringing its “world’s largest” selection of graffiti supplies to Capitol Hill this fall.

The company did not return our calls or emails about the new store but the signs are already going up and work has been underway inside the small shop. There is no publicly announced date for the start of business.

The art retailer, which primarily operates online, recently closed its Georgetown storefront and began outfitting the facade of their new digs on the 400 block of E Pine. The short-lived Essence Wine Shop, which shuttered in August, was the last tenant to occupy the space.

(Image: CHS)

The parking kiosk in front of Primo has already been improved by area street artists (Image: CHS)

According to Primo’s website, the online store is a one-stop-shop for “graffiti, aerosol, spray paint, street art, sticker, stencil, industrial, home improvement, and DIY projects.”

While Capitol Hill is an extraordinarily street art-friendly community, there has been increasing interest in the business community for greater investment in clean-up and graffiti removal in the area — especially in the Pike/Pine neighborhood.

Primo will be Capitol Hill’s only independent art supplier, joining national chain Blick Art Supplies, which swallowed E Pike’s Utrecht last year to make way for a high-end Starbucks roastery.

County cancels next round of Metro cuts

1507581_690284577725465_9131719805826345159_nIn the midst of the first Monday commutes with its latest rounds of Metro service cutbacks executed, the King County Council announced it won’t have to slice service again in February. The move preserves buses and frequency for a handful of lines including several Seattle routes — no matter how the city votes on a proposed transit district this fall.

In November, Seattle voters will consider a plan to raise sales taxes by .1% and add a $60 vehicle licensing fee to allow the city to pay for some of its own Metro service. The proposal was initially positioned as a way for Seattle to stave off any new cuts Metro threw at it.  “Supporters will now tout the measure as a way to add transit in the nation’s fastest growing city,” the Seattle Times now authoritatively reports.

County officials say the February cuts won’t be necessary after continued optimization at Metro and thanks to increased sales-tax income. They also added they can’t promise there won’t be additional cuts in the future.

CHS Pics | Central District gets a parklet

IMG_8733Funded by the surrounding community, the 25th and Union parklet made its debut Sunday with a kid-powered ribbon cutting. The ceremony and gathering on the Ten Penny Studio-designed mini-park in front of Cortona Cafe was part of a busy weekend around the Central District including the first annual Central Area Block Party and a 100th anniversary celebration for 23rd and Yesler’s Douglass-Truth library.


The new Central District public space joins a similar mini-park on E Olive Way that was the first parklet constructed in Seattle back in 2013. Planning remains in motion for a street park near 10th and Pike backed by the Comet and Lost Lake.

More images of the new parklet — organizers Amanda Bryan and Karen Estevenin wrote about it here — and all the Central District fun, below.

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

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Seattle’s second I-502 retailer, Uncle Ike’s opens Tuesday

IMG_8324IMG_8318Following a successful soft launch to test out the state’s I-502 computer system and work out any kinks in being only the second legal marijuana retailer in Seattle, Uncle Ike’s is ready for its “official” opening Tuesday at 23rd and Union.

CHS broke the news last week on the two-building Central District mini cannabis campus moving forward with its business venture after state inspectors approved it as only the second I-502 retail license in Seattle.

Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg tells CHS that the shop will begin serving customers at noon Tuesday with plans to remain open until 7 PM — or until its $26/gram pot runs out. “We have flower and joints from Avitas and Monkey Grass Farms, a nice selection of edibles and RIF oil cartridges from Green Chief, and we expect to have JuJu Joints as well,” Ike’s posted in a Facebook update.

We first talked with Eisenberg about his interest in opening a marijuana retail shop in 2013 as the rules around the implementation of I-502 were being worked out and 23rd and Union emerged as a likely home for future pot-related ventures. Despite criticism and concerns based in the corner’s past challenges with illegal drugs and street crime, Eisenberg believes retail marijuana could be a boon for the neighborhood that we jokingly called “Little Amsterdam.” True enough, Mello Times, the winner of the state’s retail license lottery in the same area, also shows signs of moving its business forward.

The pot was ready -- Uncle Ike's signs were not (Images: CHS)

The pot was ready — Uncle Ike’s signs were not (Images: CHS)

Eisenberg’s lottery luck left him without a license despite owning prime real estate in the I-502-friendly and well-zoned area. Continue reading

Pile alert: Next phase of Capitol Hill Station’s Broadway pedestrian tunnel ready to begin — Plus: Madison ‘bus rapid transit’ open house

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The west Broadway entrance will connect via an underground passageway to Capitol Hill Station

It’s no Boring Report, but Sound Transit has issued a “construction alert” to notify the area around the future Capitol Hill Station. Details of the new, loud phase are below.

The portion of the station project the pile driving will advance has seemingly been one of the more problematic for Sound Transit contractors. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Hugo House makes mixed-use plans to stay on 11th Ave

(Image: Hugo House)

(Image: Hugo House)

Cramped in its longtime residence inside a 1903-built former mortuary, literary-focused Capitol Hill nonprofit Hugo House announced Monday that it has begun work on a plan to build a new center as part of a mixed-use development at the site of its 11th Ave home.

“What’s great about this new project is that Hugo House can operate as usual during the design phase and we will still be able to stay where we are after construction is completed —but in a new, more functional, efficient and community-friendly space,” Hugo House executive director Tree Swenson said in a statement.

The new development will include 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of ground-level commercial/retail space, as well as up to five stories of multi-family housing right across the street from Cal Anderson Park. Zoning in the area would allow the building to reach 65 feet — good enough for six stories (or more if you’re good with words.) Its location in the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District could open the project up to additional height if portions of the original structure were to be preserved. A 2013 hearing determined the former Manning’s Funeral Parlor should not be protected as an official city landmark.

UPDATE: We asked Swenson about her thoughts on being part of the Hill’s continuing wave of mixed-use development and Hugo House’s part in planning what comes next for the parcel. She was unassuming about any hopes of influencing the project beyond the future center’s home. The big decisions, she said, belong to the developers and the landowner.

“It’s only through their good graces that we’ll be lucky enough to stay here,” she said.

“I’m just grateful that we can stay.”

In the announcement, Hugo House and the longtime property owners of the more than 100-year-old building said they are now working with a developer to determine “the exact mix of uses as part of the design and permitting process.” The announcement notes the property owners have “generously supported all facility costs, including rent” for Hugo House throughout its history. Continue reading

What to expect when The Egyptian’s cleaned-up curtain rises following 25-year SIFF intermission

(Image courtesy Serena Preston - SIFF)

(Image courtesy Serena Preston – SIFF)

In Capitol Hill: The Movie, the best characters are never truly dead.

Not two years after Landmark Theaters shut the doors on the historic Egyptian Theatre, the Seattle International Film Festival will present a re-boot of the much-loved Capitol Hill movie venue. SIFF will re-open the newly renovated 99-year-old building at 801 E Pine this week for program members and follow that with a weekend-long celebration of the theater’s past, future and its place in Seattle.

“The timing is perfect right now,” Carl Spence, artistic director at SIFF said. “We’re preserving a venue that we created to begin with.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | 28th Seattle AIDS Walk takes familiar Capitol Hill route for a good cause

(Images: Jim Simandl for CHS)

(Images: Jim Simandl for CHS)

IMG_0930With a lofty $350,000 goal, the 28th annual Seattle AIDS Walk and 5K brought around 2,500 walkers and runners to Volunteer Park Saturday morning to start the traditional trek around Capitol Hill to help raise funds to help people with HIV and AIDS.

While the walk and run had felt familiar for many who have been part of it for decades, this was a big year for change for the organization behind the longtime event. CHS reported on Lifelong’s move to a new home on E Pike and the expansion of its meal services to a new facility.

Lifelong’s challenge to meet its big $350,000 fundraising goal fell a little short in 2013. This year, the tally shows the giving meter at just under $300,000. If you’d like to give it a boost, hop over to seattleaidswalk.org.


More pictures on the CHS Facebook page.

Bus Stop | The 47′s Last Run

15371673582_f960e8682d_zWhat could easily have passed without any note or ceremony was made special by a small group of residents of the Summit Slope and other well-wishers Friday night as they came together to bid farewell, at least for now, to a small but well-loved Capitol Hill bus route.15371675562_581b7c5aa5_z

Melvin, the driver of the last 47 coach to leave Capitol Hill, departing at 10:30 PM from Bellevue Ave E & Bellevue Pl E, has been driving Metro buses for 15 years, and reminisced about driving the 14 all the way from Mount Baker to Summit Ave. Continue reading

Capitol Pill | Fall fatigue can be your friend

We’ve asked Karyn Schwartz, owner of the Sugarpill apothecary on E Pine, to contribute to CHS about health and Hill living 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 her first post for CHS.

I was walking to the shop this morning –- living back on the Hill after a 20 year hiatus in the south end and getting to know the trees on Pine Street all over again –- and noticing how the leaves are drying, how the light has already changed, and how people are starting to shrink back into their jackets and scarves after a long, hot summer of skin and sun. I love being able to see the seasons shifting, and being reminded about the ways in which the elemental changes in nature are reflected in our own bodies.

Right about now, at the end of late summer and beginning of fall, almost everyone experiences a drop in energy. This is the season when the outward, fiery, expansive energy of spring and summer is changing back to the inward, calmer, slower energy of autumn and winter. Continue reading

One year ago this week on Capitol Hill

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 6.56.55 PMHere are the top CHS posts from this week in 2013:

  1. Pike/Pine nightlife takes a hit with Comet’s indefinite closure, Electric Tea Garden shutdown
  2. The Stranger building next for Capitol Hill mixed-use redevelopment plans
  3. Survey: Are you afraid to walk in Cal Anderson at night?
  4. Beware the ‘High Five’ bandit
  5. Saying goodbye to Uncle Elizabeth’s, last of the Capitol Hill Internet cafes
  6. Ugly hazing incident at Garfield
  7. Another armed robbery reported at Cal Anderson
  8. Victrola Coffee finds itself neighbor to an ambitious Starbucks… again
  9. Wild Capitol Hill | The rats of Pillars Park and the Party Mountain goat of Pike/Pine

SPD makes some progress in getting guns off the street on busy night in East Precinct

Following a burst of armed street robberies in one overnight span earlier this week, SPD patrol officers and gang detectives seem determined to pull illegal guns off the streets of Capitol Hill. Early Saturday morning, SPD made a flurry of busts around Broadway, seizing at least two handguns.

In one incident, SPD bike officers tracked down a man seen waving a gun on Broadway and arrested the wanted felon and another man with him just before 2 AM. From SPD’s report on the incident:

Police received 911 calls about the armed man running down the street near Broadway and E. Union Street shortly before 2 AM, just as nightclubs were closing for the evening and crowds of patrons were spilling onto Capitol Hill’s streets.

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