About jseattle

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.

Madison Valley not saved just yet: PCC mixed-use development kicked back for another review

The East Design Review Board agreed Wednesday night that the E Madison side of things look mostly solid. It is the part where Madison’s density seeps onto the single family home-lined Dewey Place East that’s the big problem.

In less a vote and more of an admission of the challenges in merging increased density into Madison Valley, the board Wednesday ruled to kick the 75-unit, mixed-use PCC grocery and apartment building destined for site where City People’s stands today back for a third round of early design review.

“You would think something as engineering-like as measuring walls wouldn’t be so elusive,” said one board member summing up the body’s uncertainty with the presentation from developer Velmeir and architects at Meng Strazzara.

The decision is a blow to the project’s timeline with City People’s already planned for an end of the year closure. Continue reading

With plans for six stories next to Optimism Brewing, developer scores one of last available chunks on backside of Pike/Pine

E Union’s next mixed-use development above an old auto row property won’t bother with preservation.

American Classic Homes has purchased the old Complete Automotive garage in the 900 block of E Union for $1.8 million with plans to develop a six-story, mixed-use apartment building on the site.

“This is our first Capitol Hill project and we’re excited about the location and being part of the neighborhood,” John Shaw of American Classic Homes said in a statement sent to CHS. “We’re starting to think about the design and how we’d approach the retail — our goal would be to add a restaurant at the ground-level, which will complement the existing mix of great local retail.”

The parcel is one of the last chunks of land available in this area on the backside of Pike/Pine that has seen a rapid wave of development creating giant preservation-incentive boosted projects and some smaller, but equally incredible investments in auto row-loyal overhauls that have created homes for the area’s burgeoning food and drink scene. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Poster harvest time in Pike/Pine

img_9503Earlier this month, we reported on the seasonal paring of the shoes from the utility wires above 11th and Pike. Tuesday afternoon, CHS witnessed what appears to be a new Pike/Pine harvest. Workers were spread out through the neighborhood using various implements of destruction — including hammers, chisels, and, in one case, a fireaxe and a boombox soundtrack — to remove layer upon layer of old rock show, club night, help wanted, and lost dog posters from corner utility poles. A few of them identified themselves as workers for Poster Giant. A few of them told CHS to get lost. Continue reading

Madison Valley, saved: Developers back with revised plan for mixed-use PCC building

You can call Save Madison Valley a bunch of NIMBYs if you like but the result of the community group’s pushback on the planned development to create a 75-unit, mixed-use PCC grocery and apartment building on the site where City People’s stands today will be a four-story, vine-covered, terraced building that includes community space and integrates and preserves much of the surrounding tree canopy. Or, at least, that’s the plan that will be presented Wednesday night by developer Velmeir and the architects at Meng Strazzara as the project takes the stage for its second try at passing through the city’s “early design guidance” phase of review.

UPDATE 10/26/2016 9:01 PM: Madison Valley isn’t saved just yet. The design review board Wednesday night threw down a challenge to the project developers that could call for some radical revisions to the plans for the large parking lot walls facing the residential neighbors along Dewey Place on the backside of the building. After a more than two hour session, the board agreed Wednesday to ask Velmeir to return for a third early design review to solve the problems around the building’s massing and relation to the single-family homes below. The decision is a blow to the project’s timeline with City People’s already planned for an end of the year closure. One possible solution to the major design challenge? Cut down on the 150+ car lot levels below the planned mixed-use building and integrate apartments along the building’s backside. We’ll have more on the meeting soon.

Original report: The developers say one key change will be increasing the amount at which levels of the building are pushed back from the parcel’s edges:

The increased setback allows for a response similar to a rear yard residential setback. Within the increased setback layered landscaping helps create natural beauty along the street. To provide visual interest throughout the year, a continuous green screen wall is located from the base to the top of the retail space.

“A mixture of ivy and native vines,” the presentation document for Wednesday night’s meeting continues, “will enhance the landscaping and serve to elegantly screen the building and eliminates the blank wall condition.” Sounds nice. And, according to the numbers, the developer didn’t have to cut a single apartment unit, grocery store square foot, and even can keep most of its plans for more than 150 parking stalls. Continue reading

CHS Pics | The night a Capitol Hill parking lot turned into an arcade

OK. It wasn’t exactly three stories high but it was, indeed, projected on a three-story building. An event and fundraiser featuring a Capitol Hill-record tall version of Street Fighter II drew gamers serious and less so to Broadway between Pike and Pine Saturday night. Sponsored by Seattle “eSports startup” RumbleMonkey, “Rumble in the Streets” put one of the last remaining surface parking lots on Broadway to a more interesting than usual use. Proceeds raised from the players benefitted Child’s Play, “a foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters through the generosity and kindness of the video game industry.”

Capitol Hill “street activation” will also be in full swing with the Hilloween weekend at hand. First, there is the organic. Expect costumed masses to be out in force and to take ownership of the streets — especially when trick-or-treating Halloween night along E Aloha’s side streets. There will also be some organized Hilloween activation. The rescheduled Pike People Street pilot test will play out on E Pike Saturday afternoon. Find out more about PPS plus the annual Hilloween fair and a new zombie crawl on the CHS Hilloween Calendar.

Pike People Street Hilloween Edition

7th District race to represent Seattle in Congress goes ‘contrast’

Jayapal didn't hide her skepticism during Walkinshaw's explanation of going "contrast" Monday night (Images: CHS)

Jayapal didn’t hide her skepticism during Walkinshaw’s explanation of going “contrast” Monday night (Images: CHS)

We don’t know about any nasty women but a nasty ad has put the race to represent Washington’s 7th District in Congress into a new light.

“They’re not negative. They’re contrast ads,” Brady Walkinshaw equivocated Monday night in a candidate discussion at Seattle University that began with the unavoidable: questions about the negative “We Have A Choice” ad campaign and PramilaFacts.com site that attacks Pramila Jayapal’s record in Olympia as ineffective.

Monday’s Seattle U discussion, moderated by the school’s public administration program director Larry Hubbell and journalist Joni Balter, was held in Pigott Auditorium and was lightly attended. Its timing was coincidental to the new ad campaign but the argument made for a livelier than expected start to the hour-long discussion that eventually touched on the issues the 7th District candidates plan to tackle and ended with the kinds of topics only the best kind of student questions can raise: automation tax, TPP, transgender bathroom rights, and injection sites. Continue reading

Gift of Julia Lee’s Park celebrated in Madison Valley

#seattle #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Patrick (@patrickirl) on

Central Seattle has a new city park though neighbors around the Madison Valley are pretty familiar with the neighborhood open space. In a ceremony Monday, members of the Knudsen family celebrated the donation of the quarter-acre Julia Lee’s Park to the City of Seattle.

The plaza-like park at 27th, MLK Jr. Way, and E Harrison was established by Calvert Knudsen in 1993 “as a statement of his love for his wife and life partner Julia Lee Roderick Knudsen who passed away in 1990,” according to a statement from Seattle Parks and Recreation about the gift.

“Our father created this park as a physical representation of the depth and power of love between him and our mother,” daughter Page Knudsen Cowles said in the parks department statement. “He believed that a small neighborhood park in Madison Valley would uniquely serve as a memorial to her, while further enhancing the greater Madison Park community with a natural, quiet place for reflection and enjoyment.” Continue reading

Here is why there is now a box for free socks at Broadway and Pike

“Some of the organizations we work with call clean socks ‘white gold,'” WeCount director Graham Pruss tells CHS. With no access to laundry, a clean, dry pair of socks can be a critical comfort if you’re living on the streets. They can also be the difference between sickness and health.

“We want to address that immediate, imperative need, and really engage people to be part of that,” Pruss said.

The WeCount nonprofit quietly distributed the new boxes around Seattle in the wee hours of Friday morning. They have been added alongside groups of existing newspaper boxes. You might walk by without noticing these aren’t filled with the local auto trader or real estate flyers. You’ll find the Capitol Hill box at Broadway and Pike. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Chelsea Clinton gets out the vote on First Hill


“I don’t think there can be a compromise for bigotry.” Chelsea Clinton championed her cause to help her mother Hillary Clinton to defeat surprisingly popular bigot Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election with a stop in Seattle at First Hill’s Town Hall Saturday.

The forum’s Great Hall which holds more than 800 appeared filled to capacity with many children in the crowd of the free event positioned as a “get out the vote” rally for Democrats looking to both build a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton and a tailwind rally for the party’s candidates in state races across the country. Continue reading

Blotter | Police search for Saturday morning Broadway bank robbery suspect

(Image: SPD)

(Image: SPD)

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

  • Broadway bank robbery: Seattle Police and the FBI are searching for the suspect in a Saturday morning hold-up at the Wells Fargo branch inside the Broadway Market shopping center. The robbery was reported around 10:45 AM Saturday. Monday morning, SPD distributed these security images of the suspect described by witnesses as a white male, dressed in black “from head to toe.” He reportedly had what was described as a Russian accent. It’s not clear if the suspect was armed or implied he had a weapon and police typically won’t say what if any cash is taken in bank hold-ups. He was last seen fleeing the area on foot, eastbound on E Republican. If you can help identify the suspect or have information that might help the investigation, call 911.

  • Purse snatch: A woman had her bag stolen in a purse snatch at Harrison and Belmont around 11 PM Sunday night. The victim’s son contacted CHS with details of the mugging and said a group of three had jumped the woman and stole her bag. If you see a ditched purse, call 911 or turn it in at the East Precinct at 12th and Pine.
  • Seattle U bias investigation: Seattle University is trying to find out who is responsible for swastikas drawn on white boards on the school’s campus earlier this month: Continue reading

After encampment backlash, mayor rolls out ‘Interim Action Plan’ on Seattle homelessness

It doesn't cost anything to keep your convictions

In the wake of intense backlash against proposals from the Seattle City Council earlier this month, Mayor Ed Murray took a quieter route to officially unveil his plan to change how the city sweeps encampments and what can be done in coming months to address homelessness in Seattle. In a late Friday announcement, the mayor said he remains committed to a long range overhaul of Seattle’s homelessness resources under his “Pathways Home” strategy but that short-term solutions are also needed.

“Pathways Home remains our long-term plan to transform the way the City invests in programs to address homelessness,” Murray said in the announcement sent to media headed into the weekend. “Today’s announcement, however, recognizes our need to bridge the gap as we still have over 3,000 people living unsheltered on our streets. We need to ensure we are providing safer alternatives for those living on our streets, increasing our outreach efforts, focusing on a more compassionate set of protocols when clean cleanups are necessary and offering trash and needle pickup services to address public health and safety issues.”

The interim plan, included in full at the bottom of this post, will include four new sanctioned encampments boosted by $900,000 in funding plus a new Seattle Navigation Center “to bring adults living outdoors into the Center and work to transition them to stable housing within 30 days.” Two of the sanctioned encampments will be Representatives from Murray’s office have said details on the locations of the encampments and the center will be released in the coming weeks. Continue reading

SPD investigates third reported gun incident in three nights outside Capitol Hill clubs

Seattle Police were investigating a third gun incident in as many nights in the core of the Pike/Pine and Broadway bar and club district after reports of gunfire and a fight involving a crescent wrench in front of Neighbours early Sunday morning.

Arriving police found one person down in the 1500 block of Broadway after being hit in the head by the wrench in the incident around 3:30 AM. Witnesses said they heard gunfire during the fight though police were looking into whether the shot was related to the assault, according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

Shaun Knittel of public safety group Social Outreach Seattle posted about Sunday’s incident:

Shots fired (again) on E Pike and Harvard. NOT at Neighbours but Neighbours security did help individual hit by wrench who was involved. Shooter threw gun into trash can on Broadway after running into a person. I’ve had enough. Our district representative does nothing about crime, shootings are common now, and obvious gang violence on the Hill is going unchecked. NO MORE!

We have not confirmed if SPD recovered a gun.

The reports follow an incident early Saturday morning near Harvard and Pine in which the suspect’s arrest was caught on video and another early Friday morning at Harvard and Pike in a small string of overnight gun incidents reported to police. Despite the gunplay, there have been no reported injuries.