By Ross Armstrong, UW News Lab / Special to CHS
Community members packed the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center Thursday night (Image: Ross Armstrong)
Vulcan’s plans for the southeast corner of 23rd and Jackson appear to be on a fast track following a set of community meetings in the Central District last week. The developer said it is gearing up for a design review process from a project with some 570 apartment units to begin — perhaps — as early as next month. Meanwhile, attendees at one of the community meetings unsurprisingly expressed concerns about the real estate giant’s development plans and the rapid change coming to the area.
Central District residents turned out in droves Thursday night to see early design concepts for a new apartment complex in the neighborhood from Vulcan and Runberg Architecture Group. Much of the community focus was on affordability and whether the project’s planned mix of units was right for the neighborhood. One mother spoke up about her two sons who had decent paying jobs but had to move away due to the costs.
Plans submitted to the city describe a complex of two five-story buildings and two seven-story buildings, interconnected around a courtyard. In all 570 units are planned in the 693,000 square-foot project. The project does not yet appear on the Design Review Board schedule but Vulcan representatives said they plan to begin the public process in March. Continue reading
(Image: Friends of Sameer Ranade)
The 43rd District may represent a large swath of Central Seattle in Olympia but the race — for now, at least — will be filled with Capitol Hill candidates.
Sameer Ranade, a Capitol Hill resident and campaign associate for the Washington Environmental Council, has announced his campaign for the 43rd District seat being left vacant as Rep. Brady Walkinshaw sets his sights on Washington D.C.
“Environmental protection and social justice have been the driving force of my career,“ Ranade said in his announcement. “I seek to make good on the legal obligation our state has to future generations by achieving our statutory limits to reduce heat-trapping, ocean acidifying carbon emissions and to fully fund basic education.” Continue reading
The Seattle For Everyone group — “a broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor and social justice advocates, environmentalists and urbanists, all united to build an equitable, prosperous, thriving, and inclusive Seattle” — Monday night sent its members a call to rally support for Washington Senate Bill 6239:
Pass the HALA-Approved Preservation Tax Exemption Today!
The fiscal cutoff in Olympia is hours away, which means we need to make sure the Senate Ways & Means Committee knows how important it is to advance SB 6239 immediately! This bill will give local communities the option of creating an important tool to preserve and improve affordable housing in our communities.
We also need to send a message to King County Assessor John Wilson and ask him to support the HALA-approved Preservation Tax Exemption bill as well. Assessor Wilson introduced legislation for his own idea of a preservation program, which was entirely separate from the multi-month stakeholder process that brought together affordable housing advocates, race and social justice organizations, developers, property owners, human service advocates, and local governments in agreement behind SB 6239. He is now requesting to have significant affordability provisions in SB 6239 removed or weakened. His changes, if successful, would weaken the program and result in less affordability for King County residents Worse, there is a serious risk that any last-minute attempts to radically change the proposal during a short legislative session could result in the bill not being advanced whatsoever.
URGENT: Click Here to Take Action to Save the Preservation Tax Exemption Today!
CHS reported on the Preservation Tax Exemption legislation here among a bevy of Capitol Hill-related bills introduced in the latest session in Olympia. the bipartisan bill would give rental property owners a 15-year break on their property taxes in exchange for reserving a quarter of the building’s apartments for low-income families earning less than 50 to 60% of the area median income.
The Stranger took a look at the Seattle For Everyone coalition here last year. You can learn more about Seattle For Everyone and sign up for updates at seattleforeveryone.org.
Next week, the Capitol Hill Community Council is also planning an event to help inform the neighborhood about Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda:
Know Your Rights, Grow Your Rights
Thursday, February 18th at 6:30 PM
12th Avenue Arts — 1620 12th Ave
One part education about your existing rights as tenants/renters – one part exploring upcoming opportunities to expand those rights through HALA and other housing efforts in Seattle.
As the “T”s are added and crossed at Capitol Hill station before the gates open for the first time on March 19th, King County Metro is finalizing its work plan around bus service serving the new light rail stations. This is really just the final bit of bureaucracy on this long process, as most of the changes have been approved for months now. But there are some notable things that can be learned from the work plan, and I want to lay them out here.
The work plan estimates that transfers between buses and light rail at the vicinity of Broadway and John will go up by only 560 people per day, which is a pretty remarkably low number of transfers. Only 280 people per day will transfer from a bus to a light rail train and vice versa at the station, according to the documents presented to the King County Council. This after a months-long discussion in our neighborhood to figure out how to reorganize our bus system to best utilize light rail.
Ridership is projected to total 14,000 riders per day, meaning that Metro’s current estimate for transferring is less than 5% of total ridership. These numbers assume that 95% of riders will arrive at the station via a mode other than a bus. It is unclear why Metro is estimating this number to be so low
Bus Stop Re-locations
The eastbound stop, currently in front of the Forever Tan on E Olive Way between Harvard and Broadway, will move to be directly in front of the station on the east side of Broadway. Riders transferring from an 8 coming from Seattle Center or a 10 from Downtown will have a very easy transfer to their bus by simply walking outside the station. Continue reading
CHS found a different kind of Valentine’s Day gift for sale on Broadway Monday morning. Author and artist Saab Lofton was on the plaza at Seattle Central with stories for sale.
“Here, this is one of the best Lesbian vampire stories,” Lofton said Monday, leafing through his stapled stacks of stories. His tales mix explorations on race and privilege with science fiction and bizarre twists on mainstream characters. What if Superman is Black?
It’s all a little weird and not completely romantic — in other words, perfect for your Valentine.
Lofton said he’s back in Seattle after a stint in Las Vegas and that he might turn his attention to stories from the neighborhood. You can find him sometimes on Broadway — look for the Valentine’s sign this week — or at saablofton.com.
Demolished (Image: King County)
Those enjoying a free ride on the First Hill Streetcar may have noticed one of Broadway’s old buildings was torn down last week. At the corner of Broadway and James, the former home of Yasuko’s Teriyaki and, now long ago, El Mestizo, and the 1906-built, two-story, 4-unit masonry apartment building they called home has been demolished.
The path for the 550 Broadway project is an example of the roadway large projects around the neighborhood sometimes take as financing windows open and close and the review and permit process trundles forward. In this case, the teriyaki restaurant’s owner Yasuko Connor also owned the old building and sold to developers in 2011 for $3,339,000, according to county records. That knowledge might soften the blow of sadness fans of the restaurant felt when it finally shuttered last fall. The acquirer was George Webb and the Stratford Company, the prolific real estate investor and developer we last reported on amid accusations of economic evictions at a recently acquired Capitol Hill apartment building.
The developers moved forward a plan for a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building at the site. Here’s our report on the design review from late 2011. Then the project seemingly went on ice as the process to do something with the property ground to a halt. Finally, in December 2014, Webb’s company flipped the property and the permitted development project for $7.5 million to Seattle-based Intracorp Real Estate.
While the first round of permitting expired last spring, the company was able to submit and updated application. In December, the city approved the plan for a seven-story building designed in 2011 with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and underground parking for 110 vehicles. With the old building demolished, hopefully it won’t take another five years for construction to begin.
For an event billed as the State of Downtown, there sure was a lot of talk about Capitol Hill.
Downtown Seattle Association’s annual gathering last week drew over 1,000 business owners, residents, and office tower workers to The Westin hotel Thursday morning. Amid the reports of downtown’s growing density (20 new buildings in 2015 added 3,600 units) and booming job growth (half of Seattle workers are now downtown), speakers also stressed the importance of connecting downtown to other neighborhoods, especially Capitol Hill.
The reasons are twofold. Putting Capitol Hill’s arts, culture, and dining within easy reach adds to downtown’s claims as a livable, family-friendly neighborhood. Enhancing that connection also presents a clear marketing opportunity for downtown developers and investors. Continue reading
Tuesday night will bring your opportunity to publicly comment on a community-generated proposal to add more blocks around E Madison to the city’s Restricted Parking Zone 2.
The meeting will also help show you how an RPZ is born if you’re into that kind of thing.
“The Capitol Hill Community Council has requested the City make more blocks eligible for RPZ 2,” the Seattle Department of Transportation notice for the meeting reads. That’s mostly true.
The First Hill Streetcar vs. The 60 (Image: CHS)
75 years — and some major testing delays — later, streetcars returned to Capitol Hill in January. The launch was a rush job with little ceremony. But officials say the 2.5-mile, 10-stop route connecting Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill will get its celebration February 13th. The celebration will bring to an end the free ride for the route which has enjoyed more riders than expected thanks to its no-fare introductory period.
Monday, February 15th Tuesday, February 16th riders will need to purchase $2.25 adult fare at station platforms using an ORCA card or ticket machines. 3,000 riders are expected to use the streetcar every day — though many have been critical of the delays the FHSC sometimes encounters as it travels in the traffic lane, sharing space with automobiles, buses, and the occasional, extremely poorly parked car or truck.