The 15th Ave E Merchants Association held its annual sidewalk festival Sunday, welcoming a new start for one business in the commercial village. Meanwhile, a core element of the street is also lined up for some behind the scenes changes.
Sunday’s party had 15th Ave E businesses spilling onto the sidewalk with treats to share from Shop Agora’s paella to the live band playing in front of the Hopvine.
All treats were free at Sugar Plum, Makini Howell’s vegan desert and sweet shop that replaced her longtime cafe on 15th Ave E. We missed out on meeting Stevie Wonder, however, as the frequent Howell supporter dropped by the party Sunday afternoon.
The businesses of 15th Ave continue to shift but without some of the major tectonics found elsewhere on the Hill like Pike/Pine. Eventually, there will be at least one pot shop at 15th and Republican. A Rudy’s has opened. And the banks and financial services players on the street are making some large — and small — changes. The Salal Credit Union has pulled out of the 15th Ave building slated to make way for a new four-story apartment development. An insurance office on the same block has shuttered. The Wells Fargo branch inside the Safeway is expanding and getting an overhaul. And the old Key Bank — once slated for demolition itself — is being lined up for an interior refresh according to permits.
Meanwhile, one of the buildings at the center of 15th Ave E’s smaller-scale development is in the middle of some behind the scene changes. Monday, the City Council approved legislation allowing easements on the Fire Station Seven building to be transferred to Environmental Works as the nonprofit community design center completes a deal to purchase the property from co-owners Capitol Hill Housing and the County Doctor. The three community-driven entities moved into the old firehouse together in the ’70s. EW and director Roger Tucker continue to be headquartered in the building that’s ground floor is now home to boutique Station 7. In 1971, when Environmental Works first took on preserving Fire Station Seven, Tucker tells CHS the groups were up against an effort to acquire the property for an expanded QFC.