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Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

Sawant leads protest against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Kshama Sawant has turned her power to raise a crowd and bring activists into the streets of Seattle onto a new target: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — I.C.E.

“The movement’s demands are clear: Free Daniel! No Ban! No Wall! No Raids! Not One More Deportation! Free those in detention! Shut down the private prisons used by ICE, including the Northwest Detention Center! Full Civil Rights and Legalization for All!,” Sawant said in a statement released before a Friday protest and march organized by the City Council member and District 3 representative for Capitol Hill and the Central District.

The protest drew around 200 people to the downtown federal courthouse where hearings have been underway in the case of 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina, a participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program whose detention by I.C.E. has drawn widespread criticism and concern. Continue reading

We don’t know what’s next for the Volunteer Park stump tree…

But we like it. We’ve asked Seattle Parks about the cutback tree that has become a “natural” play structure near the Volunteer Park amphitheater but we’re pretty sure they have something better to deal with on a Friday than the latest CHS goose chase. All we know is the tree was clipped weeks ago and we assumed it would be fully removed. It’s still there. We’ll update when we hear more about the park’s strange (and fun) new feature. In the meantime, along with the jade vine and the last few days before a long closure for the Seattle Asian Art Museum, you have a few reasons to gather up a few friends and visit Volunteer Park this weekend.

UPDATE: Yay for Seattle Parks. Here’s what they told us about the tree — and its future:

This is a large cedar tree that was damaged and blown over as part of the snow we recently experienced. Crews will likely leave some of the tree in place, but will probably need to cut some of the tree further back to make it safe for the long term.

Fur-ther? Nice one, Parks.

Blotter | 15th Ave E crash, QFC beer thief melee, three more driver vs. pedestrian incidents

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A pedestrian was hit by a driver February 14th at Melrose and Pine (Image: SDOT)

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • 15th Ave E crash: Police searched the area around Volunteer Park early Friday morning after a midnight crash left a Jeep Cherokee and a few parked cars mangled on 15th Ave E. According to police radio dispatches, the driver of the vehicle fled the scene of the crash. It was believed he may have suffered a serious injury due to the nature of the collision. While there were no immediate arrests, police have identified the registered owner of the vehicle. There were no other reported injuries.
  • Driver vs pedestrian incidents: Following the February 3rd collision that injured a pedestrian at the busy intersection of Broadway, John, and E Olive Way, this week brought a ripple of three more incidents in which a pedestrian was reportedly struck by a driver around the East Precinct. We’re still gathering information on the incidents which can take weeks due to the way collision reports are compiled and made available to the public. In the first incident, a pedestrian was reported hit by a driver on E Pine at Melrose just before 8 PM on February 14th. Just minutes and blocks away at Belmont and E Olive Way, Seattle Fire and police responded to another pedestrian hit by a vehicle. Details on the incidents are scant but Seattle Fire says the injuries were not life threatening. Meanwhile, a third incident was reported around 3:30 PM on Thursday afternoon on Boren at Seneca. We’re still gathering injury information on that incident and will request the collision report when it is available. Continue reading

Moving on from Dougsley the failed corpse flower, Volunteer Park Conservatory welcomes jade vine’s bloom

(Image: Seattle Parks)

(Image: Seattle Parks

Fussy but spectacular, the latest feat of horticulture at the Volunteer Park Conservatory is in full bloom.

Strongylodon macrobotrys — or, jade vine — is an alien green peculiarity that requires a constant flow of warm, wet air and at least two years to reach maturity to put forth its cascade of otherworldly green bloom.

Seattle Parks says this is the first season for the conservatory jade vine to bloom forth in all its glory. “Stop by Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through mid-March to check out the spectacular turquoise flowers!,” parks and rec implores.

The jade vine show is making for a more satisfying experience at the conservatory than last fall’s failed corpse flower bloom in which Dougsley the corpse flower LET US ALL DOWN, BIG TIME by stopping mid-bloom and quickly decomposing.

While you’re at Volunteer Park, stop by the Seattle Asian Art Museum before it closes for two-plus years for a planned overhaul and expansion.

‘Sellers’ market’ — The Ford Building, home to Elliott Bay Book Company, up for sale

Elliott Bay Book Company (Image: CHS)

Elliott Bay Book Company (Image: CHS)

With its neighbor already on the block for a potential sale, another centerpiece of Pike/Pine auto row preservation, culture, and arts is having its tires kicked by prospective buyers.

Word spread Wednesday that the Ford Building, the 97-year-old former auto row warehouse now home to Elliott Bay Book Company, the Little Oddfellows cafe, and upscale fashion retailer Totokaelo has been put on the market touting its “100% leased” status, its place as a “prime Capitol Hill retail creative space,” and its hosting of an “iconic master tenant” —

Jones Lang LaSalle is pleased to present the opportunity to acquire a 100% fee simple interest in the The Ford Building (“The Property”), a one-story building with two street level retail spaces, located in Seattle’s historic Capitol Hill submarket. The property’s location is walking distance to the city’s Central Business District, and a plethora of city destinations, including dining, retail, medical, professional, public transportation, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, the Northwest School, and Cal Anderson Park. The property has easy access to convenient transit and commuter options, only 1 block from the Capitol Hill Street Car stop and 2 blocks from the Light Rail station.

“This offering represents a unique opportunity to invest in a 100% leased property with a stable retail income stream and future development potential located in one of Seattle’s hottest and growing neighborhoods,” the pitch from the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm concludes.

If and when it is redeveloped, the building is eligible for Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives which provide potentially lucrative extra height and bulk bonuses for saving building facades of character structures.

Development opportunity aside, current owner Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital says the building’s existing tenants are one of its greatest assets.

“We have thought long and hard about selling one of our buildings,” Hunters chief operating officer Jill Cronauer tells CHS. “We add value to properties and feel we have maximized the improvements in the Ford Building through restoration and implementing long term leases with strong retail tenants. It’s a strong sellers’ market and we would like to take the capital and reinvest in another property where there is room to add value.” Continue reading

Shopping center developer’s big deal for 23rd and Union is off the table

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-59-53-pmThe development plans for 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center are on hold. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported Wednesday that a member of the family that has owned the property for more than 75 years said the planned development’s financial driver Regency Centers had “fallen out of contract” — biz talk for saying the $20+ million deal likely lined up for the property has blown up.

Representatives for the Bangasser family have not responded to our inquiries about the report but a representative for the project from Lennar Multifamily Communities and Regency tells CHS the buyers are no longer under contract for the the 2.4-acre property at 23rd and Union. Continue reading

Seattle homeless Navigation Team begins clean-up with sweep of I-5 camps below Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

There have been clean-ups of the area beneath Interstate 5 between Capitol Hill and Eastlake before. But officials hope this week’s sweeps can be part of a longer term change of what an East Precinct officer once described as a “no man’s land populated by the homeless, mental cases.”

In the first official deployment of the city’s new Navigation Team including outreach workers and police, the areas along and under I-5 popular with campers in the city’s core are being cleared out.

Here is what KOMO saw during the start of the clean-up in a half-mile stretch near the Colonnade Park between lower Capitol Hill and Eastlake:

Police and safety vest clad workers started pulling apart a bunker underneath I-5 early Tuesday. Mixed in with the bottles filled with urine were piles of blankets, rats and a smattering of personal belongings. Continue reading

Valentine’s bandit uses note to hold up Broadway bank

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

A woman robbed the Broadway Chase Bank Valentine’s night using a note but not a weapon before leaving the area on foot.

Police were called to the area around Broadway and Thomas around 5:45 PM Tuesday to the reported robbery. Officers spread out across the neighborhood searching for a suspect described only as a black female in her 20s or 30s with black hair, wearing a charcoal jacket, and pink lipstick.

She was last seen walking westbound from the bank on Thomas.

There were no immediate arrests reported and we don’t know how much if any cash she made off with.

In mid-January, detectives were searching for a robbery suspect who hit a handful of businesses on Broadway including the nearby Bank of America.

Plan for more late night Seattle bus service, call for free rides on New Year’s move forward

King County Metro with funding boosted by the Seattle Department of Transportation announced Tuesday an updated plan to expand “Night Owl” bus service across Seattle including routes 11, 44, and 48. But there is another plan moving forward that could bring free transit service to the area for the big late-night holidays of July 4th and New Year’s.

King County Council’s Dave Upthegrove has introduced legislation asking Metro to put together a report “on options for free late-night public transportation service on the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”

“We want to make it easy for people to make the right decision and leave their car at home as they ring in the New Year or celebrate the Fourth of July,” Upthegrove said in an announcement of the legislation. “Ensuring that buses and trains run late into the evening on these holidays makes everyone safer.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Mystery ‘Rory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar’ making plans to rise above E Pine

We’ve had an early taste of Seattle spring in the days leading up to Valentine’s 2017, how about some chatter about a new restaurant and rooftop bar project being lined up for a classic Pike/Pine building with plans to be open this summer.

Developer Hunters Capital tells CHS it is underway on a seismic overhaul and full rehab of the Colman Automotive building on E Pine at Bellevue that it acquired for $3.85 million in 2012. “Initially we are going to spend 4 to 5 months stripping the building down to its bones, sandblasting, bringing in upgraded utilities and seismically upgrade it for new occupancies,” a Hunters rep tells CHS. Part of those big changes: a restaurant with roof deck component. We asked who is planning to move into this new Pike/Pine creation but that’s where the Capitol Hill development and real estate investment firm gets quiet. Continue reading