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.

15th Ave E QFC block has new owner: Capitol Hill’s Hunters Capital

The “big property deal set to reshape Capitol Hill’s somewhat sleepy 15th Ave E” has gone down. For now, the quiet-er stretch of Capitol Hill commerce will stay as somewhat sleepy as ever.

“We look forward to becoming a part of this vibrant street as we value the unique retail and residential mix,” Jill Cronauer, chief operating officer at Hunters Capital said in an announcement Monday morning that the Capitol Hill-focused real estate development and property management firm has acquired the block of 15th Ave E home to QFC and a stretch of local businesses for $11.25 million. Continue reading

Blotter | Broadway gun arrest, ‘well-known community member’ prostitution investigation

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Yes, CHS is still on hiatus but we’ll continue to keep the news engine warm and post from time to time as events warrant.

  • Broadway gun arrest: Seattle Police are thanking a “watchful resident” for reporting a threatening man with a gun outside a bar Saturday night amid Broadway and Pike/Pine streets choked with nightlife revelers. Police responded to the report of the man armed with a handgun with “his finger on the trigger, and “pounding his chest and breathing heavily” outside Therapy in the 1500 block of Broadway just after 10 PM Saturday night. According to police, they were able to track down the suspect after his silver Audi became stuck in traffic near the Shell station at Pike and Broadway:
    Officers searched the area and within about ten minutes, found the suspect stuck in traffic. East Precinct bike officers quickly coordinated with nightlife emphasis foot beat officers and formed a plan for a high risk vehicle stop. Officers stopped the car and spoke with the suspect. Officers learned that the man had a license to carry a concealed weapon. They also found his loaded 9mm handgun. Since brandishing a gun isn’t covered by permit, officers arrested the man for a misdemeanor weapons violation.
    “Many thanks to the watchful resident for seeing something suspicious and then quickly sharing the information with bike officers who were patrolling the area,” the SPD brief on the arrest reads.
  • ‘Well-known Capitol Hill community member’ investigation: KIRO has made a big deal about the investigation of a “well-known Capitol Hill community member” for allegedly “training sex workers for ‘highly paid’ escort work and providing them to government leaders.” While the TV station chose to break the news on the March 1st search warrant to collect evidence at the reported “Capitol Hill” home of the unnamed suspect in the midst of fallout from Mayor Ed Murray’s sex abuse scandal, CHS is aware of the investigation and can report that, no, the search warrant was not for the mayor’s home despite what the comments section of the TV news site might tell you. In typical TV fashion, the address isn’t even really on Capitol Hill. But more importantly, the prostitution and “government leaders” element overshadows allegations of sexual assault being investigated after a 22-year-old man told police he was drugged and raped by the suspect. At this point, there are no charges in the case.
  • First Hill knife arrest: SPD arrested an alleged car prowler in an incident last Friday on First Hill:
    Officers arrested a man for robbery Friday afternoon when two men interrupted a car prowl in the First Hill neighborhood. Two men doing building maintenance in the 1200 block of James Street at 3:45 p.m. Friday, went downstairs to retrieve items from their trucks when they spotted a man helping himself to stuff stored in the bed boxes of their vehicles. The two men confronted the suspect who pulled out a knife and threatened the victims. The victims retreated and called 911. Officers arrived and began searching the building for the suspect they believed was still inside. The Officers eventually found the suspect, placed him under arrest, and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of robbery. Officers checked the area where the suspect was hiding and found all of the victim’s belongings.

RIP, Broadway Sleep Train

Breaking news from Broadway. The chain that inspired one of the largest WTF? storms in CHS history when it arrived on Capitol Hill in 2016 is no longer. Sleep Train is gone. Welcome our new retail bedding manufacturer overlords, Mattress Firm.

Confused? Here’s the FAQ.

Murray drops reelection bid amid sex abuse scandal

Murray at 2017’s AIDS Walk. Sources say the mayor won’t seek reelection (Image: CHS)

A sex abuse scandal will bring down Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s administration and seems likely to put an end to his more than 20-year political career.

Multiple sources are reporting that a morning meeting at City Hall informed insiders that Murray will finish his term as Seattle mayor but will not continue his run for reelection as he battles a lawsuit over allegations he sexually abused a teen in the 1980s. Murray called for a press conference Tuesday morning at Alki Beach, “the site of the landing of the first white settlers in Seattle on a cold, stormy day in November of 1851.”

UPDATE 10:52 AM: An emotional Murray announced his decision in West Seattle saying it was time to look to the city’s future. “The scandal surrounding them is hurting me and this city,” Murray said in the address.

The decades-old scandal involving Murray in his 30s as a young, Capitol Hill apartment resident, began unfolding this spring in a lawsuit brought against Murray by a victim who alleged the future mayor plied him with drugs and paid for sex with the teen he met on a neighborhood bus. Murray, now 61, denied the allegations and accused the victim and lawyer Lincoln C. Beauregard of being part of a political conspiracy attacking the city’s first openly gay mayor. Despite his deep roots in the state’s Democratic establishment, support for Murray in the face of the allegations was mostly quiet as the mayor’s reelection campaign raised concerns over its attacks on the alleged victim’s character. Meanwhile, calls for the powerful mayor to step down were few and far between.

After 18 years serving in the legislature in Olympia, Murray cruised to easy victory in November 2013, becoming Seattle’s mayor over incumbent Mike McGinn thanks in part to strong support on his home turf in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the champion of LGBTQ civil rights has made his home since the ’80s. In past conversations, Murray has told CHS about his time as a tenant on Capitol Hill where he said he rented for 15 years before buying his North Capitol Hill home where he lives today with spouse Michael Shiosaki.

McGinn has joined a scramble of candidates who have entered the now incumbent-less race to replace Murray. While some like social equity and civil rights activist Nikkita Oliver stepped forward before the abuse scandal unfolded, other more establishment players like State Senator Bob Hasegawa are expected to jump in with Murray stepping aside.

16th/Madison shooting adds to Seattle gun violence spike

The week’s spike in gun violence across Seattle continued overnight with a shooting in the gas station parking lot at 16th and Madison that sent a male victim to the hospital with wounds to his upper back and leg.

Police were called to the area of 16th and Madison around 12:45 AM after 911 callers reported hearing multiple gunshots in the area. Officers found the victim in the Shell station parking lot at 16th and Madison conscious but “very uncooperative,” according to East Precinct radio dispatches.

Callers reported seeing a light colored or silver vehicle speed from the scene after the gunfire. Minutes after the E Madison shooting, SPD was called to more gunfire reported around 18th and Marion but there were no reports of injuries.

SPD says the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries in the shooting and that the department’s gang unit is investigating the incident.

The early Sunday morning incident joins a spate of gun violence across the city ending a week that included five shooting victims in three days. The E Madison victim made six and another man shot later near Beacon Hill bumped the tally to seven by Sunday dawn. Earlier this week, SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said the department is working with its federal law enforcement partners to tackle the latest wave of gun violence.

“We are outraged by the gun violence, and neither our department nor our community will tolerate it. We have been working consistently with our federal, state, and county partners, and convened a meeting today to redouble our efforts,” O’Toole said in a statement.

The shooting victims include a couple in their 70s caught in the crossfire of a shootout along MLK early on May 4th and a deadly shooting May 3rd in a parking lot along Rainier that took the life of a young woman.

Family still looking for answers in unsolved death of Devan Schmidt

This week marks two years since the death of Devan Schmidt.

The 29-year-old died inside a Madison Valley home on May 2nd, 2015. The medical examiner was unable to determine a cause and manner of death but noted that the investigation scene and circumstances around her death were “concerning for homicidal violence,” and asphyxia “could not be ruled out,” according to documents provided by a family member to CHS.

Her family has continued to seek justice and the Seattle Police Department case remains open.

Schmidt’s loved ones sent CHS the following statement and are asking for help in finding out what happened that May 2nd morning in Madison Valley.

It has been two years as of today that our beloved daughter, sister, auntie, and friend’s life was abruptly taken away. Devan C. Schmidt will always be remembered as a woman who loved life, adventure, family, friends, laughing, being silly, a good book to read, and dancing in the rain. She is loved and missed by many and will never be forgotten. We still have many unanswered questions and ask that anybody who has information regarding her death or the circumstances surrounding it, please contact the SPD homicide division.

— Friends and family of Devan Schmidt

If you can provide information, call the SPD homicide tip line at (206) 684-8763.

Capitol Coffee Works debuts on E Pike

The “caffeine revolutionaries” have arrived. Capitol Coffee Works, the newest expansion in the Seattle Coffee Works family, is ready to open on E Pike.

Designed by Atelier Drome architects, co-founder Pipo Bui told CHS the small 20-foot by 40-foot space will be about “serious coffee” and a place to drink and talk about the brews. “This is not going to be like a sandwich place,” she said. “It’s going to require a level of sophistication from Coffee Works to make it happen.”

The space was previously the condo sales office for First Hill’s Luma project.

You can learn more at facebook.com/CapitolCoffeeWorks.

$14M deal for Elliott Bay Book Company building

A prime piece of Pike/Pine’s commercial past and present has a new owner. A company associated with the Keeler Investment Group, an investor in “Pacific Northwest-based, early stage, private equity and real estate opportunities,” for $14 million, according to King County records.

Longtime owner Capitol Hill-based Hunters Capital announced the sale Monday of 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

In March, Hunters officials told CHS they had a letter of intent with a local buyer.  “It’s not some big, national conglomerate,” Mike Oaksmith, director of development at Hunters said at the time. Elliott Bay owner Peter Aaron told CHS that the bookstore is well positioned for any change of building ownership. Aaron said Elliott Bay is in the midst of a “long term” lease — “more than 10 years is what I’m comfortable saying,” Aaron told CHS. Continue reading

Central Co-op drops Capitol Hill Station bid over cost concerns

When the development opens in 2019, Central Co-op won’t be the retail anchor at the middle of thousands of square feet of new restaurants, shops, services and community space surrounding Capitol Hill Station. Interim CEO Garland McQueen announced the decision to drop its bid for the project Sunday night at the co-op’s annual owner meeting.

In a statement sent to CHS, McQueen said cost was the big factor: Continue reading

Convicted Broadway Grill hacker sentenced to 27 years

Seleznev in happier times with stacks of cash (Image: Department of Justice)

Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker and a prisoner once reportedly dangled in exchange for Edward Snowden, was sentenced to 27 years Friday morning in a milestone that should mark the beginning of the end of a long story in Capitol Hill crime and justice and an international scheme that included ripping off customers of the Broadway Grill. The Department of Justice announced the sentencing following Friday’s federal court hearing in Seattle:

A 32-year-old Vladivostok, Russia, man was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for his computer hacking crimes that caused more than $169 million in damage to small businesses and financial institutions, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes of the Western District of Washington.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, aka Track2, was convicted in August 2016, of 38 counts related to his scheme to hack into point-of-sale computers to steal credit card numbers and sell them on dark market websites.  U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones of the Western District of Washington imposed the sentence.

“This investigation, conviction and sentence demonstrates that the United States will bring the full force of the American justice system upon cybercriminals like Seleznev who victimize U.S. citizens and companies from afar,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco said in a statement.  “And we will not tolerate the existence of safe havens for these crimes – we will identify cybercriminals from the dark corners of the Internet and bring them to justice.”

Seleznev was convicted last summer in a $1.7 million international computer hacking and identity theft scheme that included stealing credit card numbers in 2010 from the now-shuttered Broadway Grill on Capitol Hill and the Mad Pizza chain, among other local businesses. In August 2016, a federal jury in Seattle found Seleznev guilty on 38 counts, including computer hacking, wire fraud, and identity theft. He faced up to 34 years in prison.

In 2010, the Secret Service detailed that the breach that exposed information from hundreds of credit and bank cards as part of a single-day hack of a vulnerable Capitol Hill restaurant’s point of sales system. The son a Russian politician, Seleznev’s case gained international attention when he was taken into custody by United States law enforcement in 2014 while attempting to board a plane in the Maldives. The Russians called it a kidnapping and accused the U.S. of trying to trade Seleznev for Edward Snowden. Continue reading