About Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is a CHS reporter and occasional gun for hire. Reach him at chasecohen@gmail.com and @bchasesc

Capitol Hill food+drink | Corretto mixes the craft of coffee and cocktails for night — and day — on Broadway


Brandon Paul Weaver at work (Images: CHS)

Brandon Paul Weaver at work (Images: CHS)

The sidewalk sandwich board announces “Finally! Another coffee shop on Broadway,” but the crew inside the recently opened Corretto are aiming to be more than just any old coffee slingers. In an effort to bring something new to such a drink savvy city, Corretto founder Travis Rosenthal reached back into espresso’s Italian roots for inspiration. What the Tango owner came up with was a bar featuring new spins on a classic coffee cocktail, caffe corretto or “coffee corrected”, and a distinctly Capitol Hill hangout.

“Think about it like a bar that happens to serve coffee,” said Corretto’s director of coffee Brandon Paul Weaver. “If you want to go to a bar to get a coffee on Capitol hill, where do you go? I think it offers something new to this block.”

On Monday Corretto opened for daytime hours after its official opening earlier in the month inside the former Panevino space. CHS previously reported on Rosenthal’s original plan to open in the new Pine+Minor building before deciding to relocate the project to Broadway, between Harrison and Republican. Be sure to stop in this week for half-off all coffee drinks.

One small business cannot completely embody a neighborhood, but it’s not uncommon for a single bar or cafe to reach symbolic status in a city, to be first thing that leaps to mind upon mention of a certain area or its inhabitants. Continue reading

On Bullitt Center’s first Earth Day birthday, greenest office building on Capitol Hill (and beyond) has more to prove

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

Powered by the sun -- complete with outdoor ping pong table

Powered by the sun — complete with outdoor ping pong table

It’s hard to believe that Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center, considered the greenest commercial building in the world, has anything left to prove on sustainability. But a year after the building’s Earth Day opening, the Bullitt Foundation is setting its sights on perhaps the most rigorous green certification in the world.

The International Living Building Institute awards the Living Building certificate to structures that essentially operate as living organisms — one that is sufficient for water and energy and actively promotes the health of its occupants and surrounding environment.

“It just provides a framework for sustainability in the building and shows the world what we’re trying to achieve,” said Bullitt’s Brad Kahn.

The solar-powered, rainwater-capturing Bullitt Center has certainly pushed the boundaries on engineering environmental sustainability, but sustaining tenants is proving to be a bit trickier. The reason the $18.5 million building hasn’t received the Living Building designation yet is because occupancy during its first year has remained below 85% (an important target as the environmental impact of an unoccupied building would be fairly minimal). Continue reading

Lowell reinvents itself as *the* elementary school for Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle

Dr. Smith (Image: CHS)

Dr. Smith (Image: CHS)

Having a well respected, well branded advanced learning program can be a blessing and a curse for a public school like Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary. Prior to 2012 the 11th and Mercer elementary school was known primarily for its Accelerated Progress Program (APP). When the program left for Lincoln Elementary in Wallingford, so did a good chunk of students and a lot of parent interest.

Dr. Marion Smith assumed his role as the school’s principal in the midst of Lowell’s identity change and made it a personal mission to move the school beyond its APP days. This week, as the kids return from spring break and head into the final stretch of the school year, their school is in the midst of a redefinition.

“We need to rebrand ourselves… who is Lowell now without APP? That was a large part of this school,” Smith told CHS. “The goal for Lowell is to show that there is a viable neighborhood school option for free.”

That place on E Mercer where all the yelling kids go in and out of? It's called Lowell Elementary (Image: CHS)

That place on E Mercer where all the yelling kids go in and out of? It’s called Lowell Elementary (Image: CHS)

Continue reading

Tips and the $15 minimum wage debated at Capitol Hill council meeting as City Hall deadline looms


(Photo: Tim Durkan via Twitter)

Tips are the lifeblood of Capitol Hill’s food+drink economy and a proposed $15 an hour minimum wage  has put the customary gratuity in the spotlight. Last Thursday the Capitol Hill Community Council devoted its entire April meeting to what a $15 an hour wage would mean for the Hill’s tipped workforce and the neighborhood at large.

The meeting at the Cal Anderson Park shelter came as Mayor Ed Murray’s ”Income Inequality Task Force,” which includes the head of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and local business owner Dave Meinert, is stumbling into its deadline and continues to be bogged down in a fight over how tips should be counted in a potential $15 minimum wage. Meanwhile, a just-released study (PDF) by research and advocacy group Puget Sound Sage suggests that the position voiced by some in the restaurant industry who say their tipped workers are earning more than $15 per hour isn’t a universal truth:

Business owners, particularly high-end restaurantuers, in Seattle are asking Council and the Mayor to establish a two-tiered wage system based on the earnings of a handful of waiters and waitresses that earn above $15 in tips and wages. Puget Sound Sage’s new study highlights the reality of tipped work in Seattle, so that the debate can focus on practical solutions for raising the minimum wage instead of speculation about who tipped workers are and how much they make. Continue reading

Volunteers needed to walk the Capitol Hill beat for community safety patrol

They've got a logo and a Facebook site but OutWatch still needs volunteers before patrols can begin

They’ve got a logo and a Facebook site but OutWatch still needs volunteers before patrols can begin

Organizers of a recently revived Capitol Hill safety patrol say they’re flush with enthusiasm, now they just need some feet on the ground. In March CHS reported on the formation of OutWatch at Dr. Jen’s House of Beauty, the group’s informal headquarters, following a spat of LGBT targeted street violence on Capitol Hill.

Organizer Dr. Jennifer Dietrich had planned to get safety patrols out and patrolling a week after the initial meeting, but said more volunteers are still needed.

“There is a tremendous amount needed to get this off the ground, but we’ve done most of it,” she said. “Once we get enough volunteers, we can start patrolling immediately.”

Those interested in joining OutWatch can stop into Dr. Jen’s or contact Dietrich directly. Dietrich said OutWatch already has t-shirts designed, Zipcars to shuttle drag performers and others to and from gigs, and planned patrol routes. The plan is for members to walk Capitol Hill beats from 10 PM – 3 AM in groups of four, wear OutWatch shirts, and carry mace. Dietrich said she wants all members to receive some self defense training, but that having a public presence will be the most important deterrent to would-be criminals.

The original Q-Safety Patrol was formed in 1991 in response to a rash of gay bashings that organizers felt police were unwilling or incapable of preventing. The original group was trained by the New York City-based Guardian Angels and adopted their signature berets.

In 1996 an up-and-coming Lt. Jim Pugel, then running the East Precinct’s community policing team, gave credit to the group for drastically reducing reported hate crimes in the city. Precinct leaders more recently have been less keen on the idea saying that the patrols could put un-trained citizens at risk and spark confrontations.

You can learn more on the OutWatch Facebook page.

Marijuana talk show State of the Green to start streaming on 4/20 from Capitol Hill

BlRkHOmCAAAkNBL.jpg-largeMarijuana legalization has opened a new space for all sorts of creative endeavors, from new businesses to fun times at the Seattle Police Department. And we’ve only just begun. A new talk show that will stream live from Capitol Hill is seeking to capture Seattle’s burgeoning legal pot culture in all its glory.

If you couldn’t guess, State Of The Green will stream its first show April 20th at 4:20 PM. Capitol Hill couple Tim and Victoria Brennecke will be hosting and producing the show, which will feature a mix of interviews, topical discussions, and sketch comedy.

“We were just getting high on the couch one day brainstorming ideas for a show,” said Brennecke, who works as an independent audio and video producer with his outfit Mini T.V. “The main goal is just to be uplifting and fun for the cannabis community.”

The duo will use Google’s Hang Out on Air, which allows viewers to watch shows via a live YouTube stream and allows guests to join the broadcast from their own webcams. Get updates on Twitter @StateOfTheGreen.

The inaugural 20 minute episode promises “cross-joints for Easter, coverage of 420 myths, and your hosts will play a game for everyone to get to know them better.” Brennecke said future topics will include I-502 and medical laws, as well as some product and strain reviews.

Between shop owners, growers, medical providers, activists, and artists the pool of potential guests runs deep on Capitol Hill. Brennecke said he and his wife have been busy booking guests for their first crop of shows and plan to launch a website.

“It’s something we’re really passionate about,” he said. “Having a good public image is important for this community.”

Meanwhile the ongoing saga of Roses Smell continues over at the recently launched webseries Capitol Hill.

May trial date set in Neighbours arson case

A trial date has been set for the former Capitol Hill man suspected in the New Year’s arson at Neighbours nightclub. According to court documents the trial for Musab Musmari, 30, is scheduled to start May 29th in King County Superior Court. Musmari pleaded not guilty to the arson charge in February. Continue reading

14 developers in running to forge Capitol Hill Station retail and housing sites

Just build this -- a design submitted by a team of University of Washington students for the Capitol Hill Station "transit oriented development" in a 2011 class exercise

Just build this — a design submitted by a team of University of Washington students for the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” in a 2011 class exercise

Surrounding the under-construction Capitol Hill Station, the development sites will line Broadway and neighbor Cal Anderson

Surrounding the under-construction Capitol Hill Station, the development sites will line Broadway and neighbor Cal Anderson

The candidates to develop some of Capitol Hill’s most prominent and prized projects have added their names to the list and they include a mix of neighborhood, local, and national developers. Fourteen companies and nonprofits officially responded to Sound Transit’s February request for qualifications to develop 100,000 square feet of “transit oriented development” that will surround the future Capitol Hill light rail station. The project will include housing, retail, and community space on five sites stretching along Broadway from John to Denny.

A couple of familiar Capitol Hill names have thrown their names into the hat, including Capitol Hill Housing and a partnership that includes local developer Maria Barrientos. Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray said the agency recieved more responses than it expected.

“It’s obviously a hugly desireable site,” Gray said. “It’s a fantstic opportunity for great development, and people want to be in the middle of Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

1,000 feet of electrical wire replaced under north Capitol Hill


More showing than telling in this press release gem (Photo: Seattle City Light)

It won’t do anything to stop the next Crow Blackout, but recently replaced electrical cable under north Capitol Hill should mitigate other types of blackouts for several decades to come. Seattle City Light announced crews recently completed construction to replace 1,000 feet of failing 30-year-old underground high-voltage cable under East Boston Terrace.


For the few that live along the little kidney bean-shaped loop perched above Interlaken Park, work stoppage will be a big relief. And architecture buffs can get back to snooping around Capitol Hill’s modernist enclave.

Work to replace the conduit system began in October and was completed in March. According to Seattle City Light, the upgrade was an important part of maintaining service reliability. The final street and sidewalk restoration will be scheduled and completed by the Seattle Department of Transportation

Capitol Hill says goodbye to Piecora’s, hello to familiar national apartment developer

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)


UPDATE 4/17/14Developer reveals plans for the Piecora’s building

Original report: A thick chapter of Capitol Hill history will close Tuesday night when the final slice of Piecora’s pizza is polished off, and a new story will open when the nation’s largest, publicly traded, owner of apartments gets to work on its fourth Capitol Hill property.

Equity Residential purchased the 14th and Madison pizza property from the Piecora family in April for a whopping $10.3 million, adding to Equity’s 30+ residential properties in the region. The Piecora family paid $3,045,000 to purchase the property in 2002. Soon after the Equity sale, Piecora’s announced April 15th would be their last day.

So far Equity has not filed any paperwork to indicate their plans for the site — or if they’ll honor the Piecora name in the new building. Representatives from Equity has not yet responded to CHS requests for comment. Given Equity’s regional properties, it’s safe to assume another mixed-use project is on the way. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party readies for 18th annual neighborhood invasion — UPDATE: 2014 lineup announced

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Image: CHS)

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Images: CHS)


The hopefully sun-drenched days of the Capitol Hill Block Party are just three short months away and the festival’s producers have been busily making new plans for the three-day Capitol Hill celebration of Pike/Pine’s nightlife culture.

The 18th annual installment of the festival will once again fall on the last full weekend of July, this year the 25th, 26th, 27th. Block Party producer Jason Lajeunesse told CHS that permits have been issued and most of the bands are booked. The main stage acts and ticket prices are expected to be announced Tuesday morning. The festival annually draws more than 30,000 attendees.

UPDATE: Spoon, The War on Drugs, and Sunday closer A$AP Rocky will be among the Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 headliners, organizers revealed Tuesday during their ritual announcement on KEXP. Three-day passes also went on sale for a limited time discount of $99.

Here’s the list of headliners being announced Tuesday morning:

A$AP Rocky, Spoon, Chromeo, Matt and Kim, The War on Drugs, Odesza, Sol,  A$AP Ferg, Beat Connection, Star Slinger, Budos Band, Tanlines, XXYYXX, Angel Olsen, Poolside, Cymbals, Shy Girls 

The full lineup and schedule is typically released by early June.

Tickets can be purchased here.

“The Block Party is a boisterous and spirited event that takes place right in the heart of Seattle’s artistic community,” Lajeunesse said in a statement released along with the 2014 lineup tease. “This year’s headliners like Chromeo and Matt and Kim will transform the intersection of Pike and Broadway into a giant dance floor. I can’t wait.”

In December Lajeunesse went before the city’s Special Events Committee to assure the city’s party police that there would be no major logistical changes from last year’s festivities. Over recent years, Block Party planners have attempted to do more with less, packing more music and art into the same confines and doing more to mitigate the festival’s impact on the neighborhood by keeping a lid on attendance and last call. Ticket prices have also climbed with single-day access reaching $40 last year. 2014 three-day passes will start at $99 for a limited time, organizers say. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill’s big mixed-use developments look, um, the way they do


The many faces of Joule. (Photo: CHS)

Boxy. Monolith. Bland. Generic. The adjectives that get hurled at many of the new mixed-used developments on Capitol Hill can be quite unforgiving.

One of those projects, Viva Capitol Hill at 12th and E Union, was recently stalled after complaints rolled in about the building’s monochromatic facade.

Materials, zoning, and Capitol Hill’s competitive development market all narrow the window for creativity and risk taking in building new mixed-use projects.

Those factors have led to some easily identifiable trends among Capitol Hill’s 47+ in-progress projects: cheap and flat facades, jolting color splashes, and hulking buildings desperately trying to look smaller and more welcoming at street level. The resulting public distaste is not surprising, and architects say more could be done to build better. Continue reading