Located just across the street from the future Capitol Hill Station, the homeliest building on this 10th Ave E block lies at the intersection of a surprising variety of Capitol Hill narratives, including light rail, microhousing, and socialist politics.
In 2009, a group of contractors hired to dig the light rail tunnels under Capitol Hill purchased the 126 10th Ave E building and the two-story brick building next door for their offices. When the tunneling wrapped up last year, the contractors sold the properties off for $1.95 million, pocketing a cool $765,000 on the transaction.
The buyer is a familiar name in Capitol Hill’s property rush. Scott Shapiro, the managing director of Eagle Rock Ventures, purchased the land to construct a new building with a mix of small “efficiency dwelling units” and studio apartments. Shapiro is behind several microhousing projects as well as the preservation restaurant+office project at the Harvard Exit, where he says he’s still looking for tenants.
According to Shapiro, demolition of the 10th Ave E property will start sometime next year to make way for the 49-unit building.
In the meantime, Shapiro is renting out the newer property to online retailer Whiskey, Ink, & Lace and the older house to the Kshama Sawant’s City Council District 3 campaign to use as its organizing headquarters. Since moving in early this year, the City Council member and her campaign have used it as an organizing office and staging area for the group’s sweeping door knocking campaigns. Recently, that included door locking in support of the Seattle Education Association in its contract negotiations with Seattle Public Schools.
Philip Locker, political director for the Sawant campaign, told CHS that the house coincidentally exemplifies some of the development trends Sawant opposes: older, affordable buildings getting torn down to make way for newer units not suitable for families.
Since her comfortable second place finish in the August primary, challenger Pamela Banks has kicked off her general election campaign with a new Capitol Hill headquarters. Late last month, the Banks campaign moved into an office space at 1509 E Madison, just above Little Uncle.
“We were looking for an affordable ground floor space between Capitol Hill and the Central District,” Banks told CHS. While the space isn’t on the ground floor, it does have some street visibility.
The Banks campaign has been listing a downtown office building as its campaign address, but Banks tells CHS most of the campaign work was actually being run out of her Central District house.
Both candidates are revving up their campaign machines again after a post-primary breather where Sawant emerged as the clear frontrunner, taking home 52% of the vote.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is cosponsoring a candidate forum on Thursday at City Hall — the first of many in the coming months. Both Sawant and Banks will be attending. On Saturday, Banks will be at the Central Area Block Party while Sawant is formally kicking off her general election campaign with a volunteer gathering at Pratt Park.
We got a tremendous result in the primary (52%), but we know big business and the political establishment that serves their interests will step up the attacks in the general election.
With the aid of big PAC money, our opponent is likely to outspend us. But, in the primary election, we proved what a powerful impact an organized, grassroots force can make.