First Hill Streetcar manufacturer will pay for delays

conup_map1The First Hill Streetcar tracks are ready to roll, but the streetcars themselves are not, and won’t be ready until sometime “early” next year, according to city transit officials. The delay will cost the streetcar manufacturer thousands of dollars on its $26.7 million contract with SDOT.

Last Tuesday, Seattle Department of Transportation’s rail transit manager Ethan Melone told city council members that the streetcar’s Czech manufacturer, Inekon, recently incurred a backlog of orders and a short supply of parts, including brakes, which was holding up production. Inekon, which built the South Lake Union streetcars, is also working out a wiring design issue.

“It’s not unexpected, but it’s definitely not ideal,” said SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan. “It’s an industry with a limited number of suppliers.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill ‘nerd central’ — Ltd Gallery to get cozy with Gamma Ray Games in Raygun Lounge

At the Fantasy in the City opening, July 2014 (Image: LTD Gallery)

At the Fantasy in the City opening, July 2014 (Image: LTD Gallery)

(Image: LTD Gallery)

(Image: LTD Gallery)

Even as Gamma Ray Games and Raygun Lounge get used to sharing the same space at 501 E Pine, a third party is soon to join them later this month to make it all the more cozy: the pop culture-inspired Ltd Art Gallery.

Ltd, a self proclaimed “premiere art gallery destination for contemporary and pop art,” has begun its move from 307 E Pike just a few blocks away. Melissa Monosmith, co-owner with her husband James Monosmith, said that the the relocation should be complete by October 15th, just in time for the first scheduled opening show at the Raygun Lounge on the 18th, which will feature work from two local Seattle artists Aaron Jasinski and Augie Pagan themed “gods and monsters”.

“We’re all going to be together… like a nerd central!” said Melissa. “We’re excited about it!” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Faeries in Volunteer Park


A weekend filled with celebrations and traditions ended with a little bit of magic and pixie dust. In Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park, The Seattle Faerie Festival returned Sunday for a little bit of dress-up fun:

The Seattle Faerie Festival is an event of all things faerie, elven and magical offering a realm of live music, arts, food, vendors and theater inspired by fairy history and tradition.
Inviting all faeries, fairies, gnomes, elves, fauns, goblins, wizards, magicians, queens, sorcerers, green men, pirates, brownies, unicorns, sprites, lost boys, lost girls, nymphs, dragons, pans, knights and ladies, pixies, changelings, genies, gelflings, sylphs, angels, nature spirits, elementals and hobbits and anyone else of nature and magic!

Here are a few scenes from the day thanks to the CHS Flickr Pool. You can learn more about the annual festival here.

More pictures below. Continue reading

Blotter | Couple says beaten on Pine in unprovoked attack

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

  • Pine beating: Two residents of an apartment building at the base of Capitol Hill told police they were severely beaten by a group in an unprovoked attack just up the street from the building early Saturday morning.Both victims suffered facial injuries in the beating. Police say the man and woman reported a group including three males and two females approached them just before 1:30 AM Monday morning as they sat on a bench smoking outside their apartment building and began a savage beating for apparently no reason:Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.23.43 PM Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

UPDATE: Similar to its San Francisco location and former Georgetown space, Primo will also serve as an art gallery for veteran and up-and-coming street artists. Primo’s new curator Liz Suman told CHS the store and gallery will hold its grand opening October 9th to coincide with Capitol Hill Art Walk. The Halloween-themed show Fright Night will feature work from some artists familiar to Capitol Hill, including Baso Fibonacci and Jesse Brown. Suman said the space will also hold regular gallery hours.

Primo, 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.

“Primo wanted to up their presence in Seattle and push the gallery component,” Suman said. “A lot of the artists live and work on Capitol Hill, so it seemed like a good idea to have a more central location.”

(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, which opened its online store in 2003, 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.

In the comments below, Suman says Art Primo is planning to be a space that will focus on cater to emerging artists. “AP plans on the new location being a positive new space for young artists to show their work in addition to an art supply retailer, especially given the recent closings of so many galleries on the Hill,” she writes. More below.

Art Primo celebrates its grand opening with the art show “Fright Night” on October 9th, 6 PM at Art Primo, 415 E Pine St. RSVP at apfrightnight@gmail.com

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.

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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)

Continue reading

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

IMG_8324IMG_8318UPDATE 9/30/2014: At noon around 20 people were waiting in line at 23rd and Union when a man poked his head outside Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop and yelled “we’re open!”

The line was not nearly as long and didn’t start nearly as early as when the first I-502 stores first opened in July, but it was a ceremonious afternoon nonetheless as Seattle’s second pot shop “officially” opened in the heart of the Central District.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, was vacationing in Seattle from Florida when a friend dared him to be the first in line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening. Elbrecht said he got in line at 9 PM Monday night with a backpack full of beer and a goose-shaped pillow.

“It’s just cool to walk into a shop and buy weed. You go to prison for that where I’m from and we’re in the same country,” he said.

Elbrecht said the experience was so good he’s going to make Seattle his new home. A construction worker by trade, Elbrecht said he doesn’t think he’ll have any problems finding a job in the area. “There are cranes everywhere around here,” he said.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35,

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, at the front of the line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening (Photo: CHS)

One man waiting online with his husband said he worked for the Department of Defense while his spouse worked for the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not appropriate for me to be here, but I don’t care,” he said. Both men asked to remain anonymous.

Prices at the store were high, but appeared to be in line with Washington’s other I-502 shops: $26 for a gram and $44 for a package of edibles. Sales seemed to go off without a hitch, aside from a few customers who were turned away for not having an ID.

Following 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 was ready for its “official” opening.

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. 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.

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More pictures on the CHS Facebook page.