New $1.7 million day care center (and playground) coming to backside of Pike/Pine

Pike/Pine is changing. The backside of Pike/Pine is changing. Capitol Hill is changing. The Gayborhood is changing. Seattle is changing. And in the midst of it all, there will be nearly 200 little kids and a playground on E Seneca right across the street from IHOP.

CHS has learned that Bright Horizons, the nation’s “largest provider of employer-sponsored child care,” is planning to open a new Capitol Hill facility on E Seneca between Madison and Union early in 2015. The project is slated to replace longtime community health services organization Lifelong AIDS Alliance in the office building it has called home for a decade.

We have calls out to both organizations to learn more but it appears Lifelong will not be leaving the Pike/Pine neighborhood. According to the organization it is opening a new “Client Services Center in Capitol Hill” –

This summer, we will open a new Client Services Center in Capitol Hill and continue business as usual, delivering food, housing, and health services to the community.

Our NEW Client Services Center will:
•    Increase square footage by 146% from our current location
•    House case management, housing, and prevention services
•    Include a client resource area and provide computer workstations
•    Reside only a few blocks away from our current location

Additionally, this summer, our food production and packaging will relocate to a new Meal Production Center in Georgetown. The new location will triple Chicken Soup Brigade’s capacity to produce 450,000 therapeutic meals and 70,000 grocery bags per year within five years.

Earlier this month, CHS reported on the arrival of LA-based organization Out of the Closet as the group readied plans for one of its signature thrift shops, a pharmacy and a health services facility on E Pike between 10th and 11th across from Caffe VitaBig Mario’s and Bimbos. According to the latest permits, Lifelong will also have space adjacent the new Out of the Closet project.

UPDATE: A Lifelong spokesperson confirmed the organization’s plans for an E Pike move for its client center and says that the Out of the Closet project also joining the building is “a nice coincidence.”

“We’ve always had a strong working relationship with them,” the Lifelong spokesperson said. “We’re making sure the community knows that AIDS and HIV is still something that is there.”

The Lifelong changes were sparked by the need for a larger, upgraded facility for its Chicken Soup Brigade services, the spokesperson said. The Georgetown location will also be home to Lifelong’s administrative offices while the client center on E Pike continues to serve Capitol Hill. Lifelong’s thrift store, in the meantime, will remain on E Union.

The move and expansion for Lifelong is being powered by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Image: Bright Horizons)

(Image: Bright Horizons)

With the arrival of the Bright Horizons chain, Capitol Hill and Central Seattle parents will likely be happy to have the new, giant facility to take on some 172 kids for day care services. Seattle’s swelling population and subsequent increase in children has the city pushing forward on plans for universal preschool. A survey commissioned by the City Council showed that “96% of the parents believe that every child should have the opportunity for high-quality preschool regardless of family income, and 90% agree that government should help families pay for high-quality preschool.”

The for-profit Bright Horizons, however, is unlikely to be a provider under the city program. Instead, it commands a healthy premium for its services with tuitions that range between $1,200 and $1,500 around $2,000 per month depending on the child’s age. It will compete with several independent and small chain providers in the area including the nearby Mother’s Place on 12th Ave just south of Madison.

The publicly traded company is already forming a “wait list” for its new Capitol Hill location. Bright Horizons Seneca will provide care for “Infants, Toddlers, Preschool” and “Kindergarten Prep” and will feature a “Movement Matters Zone with Rock Climbing Wall, Art Studio, Playgrounds, SMART Board and Touch Screen Computers, Enrichment Activities, Family Appreciation Events, and Educational Workshops.”

A portion of the two-story building’s surface level parking lot will be transformed into a 4,500 square-foot “exterior play area.” The new center will be designed by SABArchitects and has a $1.7 million base construction budget. Longtime landowners continue to hold the property according to county records.

Bright Horizons currently operates four care facilities in the central city including locations in South Lake Union, Westlake, downtown and First Hill in the Virginia Mason building. We’re checking to find out if the new Seneca location will mean any changes for the others.

Located near the three-way intersection of arteries 12th Ave, Madison and Union, the center will serve as a convenient location for many parents in Central Seattle who work downtown and pass through the area on their commutes. While new tenants of the many one-bedroom and studio apartments being added along E Union likely won’t be customers, there is also a growing swell of development to create more office space in the neighborhood including two different projects on 11th Ave. Liz Dunn’s office + restaurant + mews project Chophouse Row is slated to be completed later this year. A project slated to replace Value Village, The Stranger offices and The Rhino Room is on pace to add 50,000 square feet of office space to Pike/Pine sometime in the next two to three years.

By then, the first Bright Horizons Seneca graduates will likely already be riding fixies, wearing (temporary) tattoos and making you feel old on E Pike.

11 thoughts on “New $1.7 million day care center (and playground) coming to backside of Pike/Pine

  1. The most visible part of the aids alliance is on union — the thrift store next to auto battery, and the office building on the corner with 11th. Does the daycare project include that?

  2. About ten feet from Mother’s Place, where I both went to preschool and worked as a preschool teacher. I think they’re on the way out though (subsumed by Seattle Academy) so this may refill a niche.

    • I have heard from SAAS folks in the know that there is no current intent to replace Mother’s Place (but could happen eventually). More of a “defensive” purchase to avoid someone else occupying the space since SAAS owns nearly the entire block. And for what it is worth, I’ve had kids at both Bright Horizons and Mother’s Place – and MP is head and shoulders above BH in my experience. The caregivers at BH were great, but the it was very much a big corporation run to the bottom line which meant they sent caregivers home if there were fewer kids (in order to maintain the minimum ratio and avoid paying the teachers) and lots of caregiver turnover (core of MP caregivers and teachers have been there for 10, 20 or more years). Nice to have another child care option in the neighborhood, but I would myself not choose BH over most of the other options.

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  5. Pingback: Out of the Closet thrift, AHF Pharmacy join Lifelong on E Pike | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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