New owner, higher rents bringing an end to the Summit Inn DIY house and artist collective 

The freewheeling, DIY days of Capitol Hill’s Summit Inn are coming to an end. The culprit? Higher rents, of course.

Longtime building owner Pete Sikov recently sold the Inn to real estate investor Brad Padden, who residents say is raising rents in an effort to transform units into conventional apartments. Residents at the 1722 Summit Ave building that spoke with CHS said many of the building’s artists and musicians are now moving out, or planning to in the coming weeks.

On December 31st, residents were notified that rents would increase by around $100 and continue to increase for the foreseeable future. “We understand that the living conditions at the Summit Inn are in need of a major makeover. We will begin that process immediately,” said the letter form the building’s new manager, David Sharkey.

Construction permits have been filed to renovate the building, but some residents are trying to work with the city to force the new owners to address more immediate issues first, like the plumbing and rodents. Sharkey did not respond to CHS’s requests for comment on this story.

Sikov, who owns 17th and Madison’s Arts Inn Northwest, had encouraged recent efforts to make the Summit Inn a more arts focused community. The building was in shambles, but rents stayed low and residents had free reign to work in the building. But with rents going up, residents told CHS there’s no reason to live under such conditions.

“It’s just not worth it,” said Rich Dillard, who managed the building under the previous ownership.

Perhaps most known in the neighborhood for being the organizing force behind the raucous Summit Block Party, the Inn is not going out with one last bash. The Slummit Block Party, LLC is being planned for Saturday.

When CHS spoke with Dillard in August, he knew this day would come for the Summit Inn, but maybe not so soon. The 1700 block of Summit is one of Capitol Hill’s last remaining pockets of lower income housing, where musicians and public housing residents live across the street from buildings housing high concentrations of sex offenders and others making the transition from time behind bars. With its proximity to the Capitol Hill food and drink core, Dillard said he knew it was only a matter of time before a developer took a shot at transforming the block.

The Summit Inn was originally built as single-room occupancy apartments, with shared bathrooms and common spaces. Today the interior feels like an art installation itself, a building in a perpetual state of destruction and repair.

The Summit Inn isn’t alone in its struggles with new building owners. The Seattle Times reported on a a recent study that showed investors spent $3.3 billion in 2014 buying apartments around the Puget Sound. The burst of apartment sales, especially in older buildings, has helped trigger continuing major rent increases across the city.

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22 thoughts on “New owner, higher rents bringing an end to the Summit Inn DIY house and artist collective 

  1. I always liked this funny little section of Summit between Howell and Pine, people on their front stoops and on the street virtually 24/7 and notwithstanding all the transitional housing, truth be told a lot safer here than the leafy areas across Broadway without a living soul on the streets for hours on end. One point proven by this little experiment is that you can have a lot more income/mental health/criminal background diversity living side by side when you’ve got enough density to have people out and about at all hours. Hopefully at least this lesson won’t be lost even if we’re now finally losing this last little slice of hippydom on the Hill.

    • “We understand that the living conditions at the Summit Inn are in need of a major makeover. We will begin that process immediately…”

      so what you are saying is that the property owner is greedy for asking for more money, by way of increased rents, to cover the costs of a major makeover; one that the residents have been asking for? i don’t get your logic.

    • Not sure which resident or residents you are referring to but we haven’t been asking for a major makeover. Clean drinking water, electrical outlets that aren’t a safety hazard, rodents crawling through the walls and many more issues are far more important than an esthetically pleasing building.

    • The point isn’t that you are demanding building upkeep due to an increase in rent, the point is that the new building manager is asking for that money from these tenants. By adding 100 bucks to each persons rent in that building gives this douche bag a way to finance *minimal* conditional issues in the building. Way to take advantage of a group of young, poor, single kids trying to live free and create without having to spend their entire month’s paycheck on fucking rent.

    • @onam

      not really sure i’m understanding your point.

      from the posting, the residents all agree that there need to be upgrades. the building manager agrees and has committed to start on them right away. however, there will be an increase in rent.

      you do realize that repairing things isn’t free, right? that plumbers and electricians and exterminators aren’t going to donate their services just because some kids made a certain life choice? once the repairs are made, the value of he property goes up. so an increase in what one pays is the trade off for not living in an unsafe rat trap.

      i’d be on the side of these kids if the rent was going up and nothing was getting fixed. but from what was posted above, a $100/mo rent increase sounds like a fair trade-off.

    • Getting cleaned up is what is ruining the neighborhood. It used to be if filth and grime weren’t your thing you stayed off the hill.

    • So you expect the rest of us that live in this city and pay taxes here to just allow a whole neighborhood to turn to squalor just so some overgrown children can rebel against the KKKapitalist $y$tem?

  2. That stretch of Summit isn’t all bad. The Corinthian is fairly okay-ish, especially considering management hasn’t gone totally nuts with rent increases. I sorta like living in one of the few ok buildings on the street, knowing that the proximity of the riffraff across the street is probably helping keep my rent low, at least in comparison to the rest of the hill.

    I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I get a little note on my door saying that rent has gone up several hundred dollars. Aside from that nail-biter, the worst things I’ve had to deal with are issues typical of “vintage” buildings. Funky plumbing. Old appliances. So on, and so forth.

    Well, there was that one time I stepped straight into a gigantic log of (presumably) human butt-mud when stepping out the back door into the alley. Threw those shoes right into the dumpster, which was conveniently 10 feet away.

  3. looks like one of the last areas of old Cap Hill is being gentrified. I was hoping developers would stay out of at least this section for a bit longer

  4. Pingback: CHS Pics | Slummit Block Party, LLC | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  5. My only comment – We are losing the DIY art/music scene in Seattle. Save Our City! Contact Mayor Ed Murray & Seattle City Council members. Where are artists supposed to live in Seattle!?? On the streets?

    The Josephine has also been shut down. This f***ing sucks! I loved these shows… Amazing memories, amazing performances and art.
    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2015/02/04/rip-underground-performance-space-the-josephine

  6. Pingback: Developer has plan to build new microhousing inside old Capitol Hill apartment building | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  7. The city adapted new laws that forced the owner to sell rather than deal with building issues. You can thank the city of Seattle for this. Artists in this building? l guess we need to define what a artist is. Bunch of pot-heads wanting to spend there money on drugs rather than rent.