Capitol Hill is *not* dead — Viva Capitol Hill

x_renderingThe travails of the Comet. The closure of the original Bauhaus. The shuttering of the Egyptian Theatre. There is a list of reasons — again — for many to declare Capitol Hill dead.

Marketing for the new Viva Capitol Hill apartment building nearing the completion of construction at 12th and Union would beg to differ:

VIVA is a brand new collection of exceptional apartment homes offering sleek modern interiors. Loft-style studios, one and two bedroom flats. VIVA—stylish sanctuaries available early 2014.

Outside, feel the energy of the Pike Pine corridor. Inside, experience the cool sophistication of the ultimate urban residence. Step out for a hand-crafted cocktail or some of the best coffee in the world. Be close, connected and current with nightclubs, restaurants, shops and recreation surrounding you in every direction. VIVA—exceptional apartment living on the hill.

Viva, you may remember, replaces the old Undre Arms Apartments and the paint store turned hookah bar that operated for a time on the property. Be close, connected and current…

In the meantime, Bauhaus will reopen soon, the Egyptian has attracted a horde of bidders seeking to reopen the theater space and the Comet, we’re told, has at least three new owners working with the building’s landlords to reopen the beloved dive and music venue. Maybe Viva developer Alliance Communities is on to something.

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38 thoughts on “Capitol Hill is *not* dead — Viva Capitol Hill

  1. I saw this posted this morning on Facebook from Sugarpill. Couldn’t come at a better time:

    “Today is dedicated to this neighborhood – the one I have either lived or worked in or sometimes both for most of the years since I moved here in 1989. And it is also dedicated to everyone who feels suddenly tempted to proclaim that Capitol Hill is “dead”.
    This neighborhood is amazing – why the hell do you think everyone wants a piece of it suddenly? But it will die if you abandon it, or if you bury it with snarky rhetoric just because you mysteriously have nothing better to do.
    There are still so many of us dedicated to keeping the core of this neighborhood very alive and just as creative and inspiring as it has historically been. But if YOU disappear – if you run for the hills because parking is a pain in the ass (remember when you complained this wasn’t a “big enough city”? did you really think parking would be easy in the big city you were idolizing at the time?), then WE will disappear, because there is no neighborhood without the neighbors – and that would be YOU.
    Yes, it is changing right before our very eyes – and certainly not all for the better. But the treasures that are still here will only remain if you support them, so quit reading – or writing – the obituaries and come out into your city and reclaim it.”

    • We’re not “leaving”, we can’t afford to live here. We can’t afford to rent retail space here. You demonstrate perfectly, the ignorance and greed taking overCapitol Hill . It is dead.

      • The way we know it may be dying, but realistically it’s just growing and changing. When you choose to live in a CITY, that is going to happen.

        Being laid back about that concept isn’t necessarily ignorance, but acceptance. It sucks. I miss old nightlife and that little Thai restaurant I went to as a child, but life’s going to shift.

        I feel awful for the struggling businesses that have been here since the start, as well as the folks who are still working in retail, coffee, etc. who are having difficulty affording the roof over their head, but competition and change are facts of life, not just Capitol Hill.

  2. I cannot believe that they are painting that new apt. building grey. How Boring…….Put some color into Seattle. The skies are grey enough………

  3. GREY.
    Positive: Psychological neutrality.
    Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.

    Pure grey is the only colour that has no direct psychological properties. It is, however, quite suppressive. A virtual absence of colour is depressing and when the world turns grey we are instinctively conditioned to draw in and prepare for hibernation. Unless the precise tone is right, grey has a dampening effect on other colours used with it. Heavy use of grey usually indicates a lack of confidence and fear of exposure.


  4. More shiny condos is the LAST thing I want here. Capitol hill has been reduced down to nothing. It makes me sad, and I’m not even sure how much longer I want to be the witness of all this destruction. Everything I have loved about this place being demolished.

    • I agree. I have no problem with Seattle growing into a “big” city. I’d actually love that. It’s just that the things I associate with a big city, or that draw me to big cities (culture, museums, galleries, interesting music venues, unique shops & boutiques, cool coffee houses) are closing and being replaced by a whole lot of characterless condos and bars. There are so few great retail stores left on the Hill these days.

      But to be fair, that seems to be the way of other big cities, as well. Have you been to Boston lately? It’s all chain stores that you can find in any suburb. Everyone else is being priced out.

    • I disagree. Do you prefer what was there before….a dumpy, rundown apartment building and a paint store?

      The grey will hopefully be mitigated by some colorful accents, including by the businesses at street level. And, I think the unconventional shape of the building is very, very interesting by itself.

  5. Well, someone has to go to bat for this piece of architecture. I think this building is great. It far surpasses so many of uninspired buildings put up lately, and satisfies the silly modulation requirements in a clever way with a clear massing. Everything comes down to execution, flat does not equal boring, it’s all about how it’s detailed. So far, it seems this building is being built with care and I for one, see it as a welcome addition to the ‘hood.

    • Not gonna lie, this is the most intelligent response I’ve read on this post. The boat suggestion just as an example, where can an architect go to take a risk with a creative design if not on CAPITOL HILL? I’m sorry but creative design elements or shapes don’t mean that they aren’t affordable or effective. I mean, do these people consider themselves artists? Or are they too concerned with what everyone else thinks of them to suggest something outside of the box? I mean, come on – this design isn’t the worst – it just screams SAFE, TRYING TO BE MODERN, and GET AS MANY UNITS IN THERE AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.
      Oh, and be prepared for half of these to be condos once the housing market continues to recover – doing nothing to renters but holding the average rent cost at an all-time high.
      The growth on the hill hasn’t been all bad – it’s inevitable – and important for the economy, but downtown still has entire neighborhoods inside itself that aren’t being revitalized to their full potential first. Pioneer Square, Belltown, SoDo, etc – all very urbanized already and in need of some nice, new, clean places to shop and live.

    • You can’t “embrace it” if you can’t afford it. If you want to embrace chain stores, homophobia and high rent, go back to Bellevue, or California.

      • Boy am I getting tired of this myth of all the “chain stores” on Capitol Hill. Yes, there are some, but they are greatly outnumbered by local businesses, including in some of the new buildings. Case in point….Café Solstice, which will open soon in the Lyric.

      • Daniel –

        Really? Your attitude about “the man” getting you down is totally played out. Your overarching self-victimization that capitalism has ruined Capitol Hill is sad. QFC, Safeway, Subway, American Apparel, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and IHop are really the only Chain Stores in Cap Hill. Oh the horror… Get a life, a job, and look for reality.

      • Whoa. I think there is a legitimate concern that Cap Hill is losing many of its small businesses and many of the new ones are chains. Joseph, maybe you haven’t been not he hill in awhile. We now have a Qdoba, Panera bread, GameStop, and *more* Starbucks in addition to “local chains” Mod Pizza, Blue Moon Burger, and Mud Bay all new to Broadway within the last 5 years. They may not look like chains, but they are, and while I don’t think they are the devil’s work, it does show a definite swing of the pendulum away from mom and pop and towards the corporate-suburban consumer. Evolution is one thing, but the pushing out of small business owners is preventable if we are willing to fight for it.

  6. i find it very interesting that what left cities (big box retailers, housing for families, etc) and moved to the suburbs is not coming back (see, office max, city target) cities = density and density causes development and property to be expensive. gentrification is also what happens when buildings are old and falling apart (see the comet building)

    stop whining, yall can go hang out in front of westlake if you want a bunch of grime

  7. Capitol Hill is not dead but architectural integrity is near death. Viva? They should call it Oy Vey. I’m sure the developer made some attempt to differentiate this building from all other Capitol Hill Cookie Cutter Condos. But unusual angles do not keep this slab from being ugly as a herring. Is a little ornamentation too much to ask? It would not detract from your precious so called modernism. It can be done. Just look at that gorgeous building on Pike across from Phil Smart. I think Abrahms architects created it about 15 years ago and I haven’t seen any condo or rental come even close to its sculptural beauty.

  8. Pingback: Color problem puts brakes on Capitol Hill apartment project — UPDATE | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle