‘A gift’ — first look inside Capitol Hill’s new Hugo House

Boards from the old Hugo House — complete with the graffiti encouraged at a goodbye party before its demolition — live on in the new Hugo House

The new Hugo House will be open to the public for the first time Saturday but the staff moved in Wednesday and the space has already hosted its first event — an opening preview for the more than 300 community donors and public officials responsible for the one-of-a-kind writing center across from Cal Anderson Park.

“We’re in a time right now when words really matter,” State Representative Nicole Macri said at Monday night’s pre-opening reception in the new center.

“I’m so grateful that the state came through.”

Rep. Macri inside the new Hugo House Monday night

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New Capitol Hill story ready to begin at Hugo House

A rendering of the soon to open new Hugo House

Construction of the new 9,600-square-foot Hugo House writing center at 11th and E Olive St. is fully imbued with the creative process — right down to the burning spirit that drives any author, poet, or journalist: a deadline.

“Construction always take longer than they think it will and there have been some unavoidable delays,” Hugo House executive director Tree Swenson tells CHS. “They say they’ll be ready.”

Like a publisher awaiting that final draft, Swenson is planning for Saturday, September 22nd — the planned official grand opening of the new Hugo House inside the six-story mixed-use apartment building that stands at the site the old Hugo House previously called home.

Opening Celebration: New Hugo House

“The celebration will be a chance for everybody to explore the whole space in a design that invites creativity,” Swenson said.

Designed by the architects at NBBJ, the new Hugo House is centered around a 150-seat auditorium but Swenson said the first thing any visitor will see from the 11th Ave entrance is the front salon with built-in writing nooks, seating areas, and a small stage. Continue reading

CHS Pics | 11th Avenue Street Fair


An effort to highlight Capitol Hill’s creative spaces got started Sunday with the first-ever 11th Avenue Street Fair where painters, clothing designers, and all other types of artists came to display and sell their work.

Sponsored by the Capitol Hill Community Council, and street representative’s Vermillion, Blue Cone Studios, Imminent Mode, and John Criscitello Studios, the festival closed the street to traffic and let the artists mostly do their thing. Continue reading

11th Avenue Street Fair part of celebration of Capitol Hill’s creative spaces (and the creative people making them)

(Image: Sellen Construction)

Following the Capitol Hill Block Party by a week, it’s easy to draw comparisons with this weekend’s first ever 11th Avenue Street Fair but the focus should be on the diverse artistic community the street fosters, organizers say.

“[Capitol Hill] has its unique parts of being free and open, being able to create whatever type of art you want to create,” said Natalie Curtis, president of the Capitol Hill Community Council, one of the sponsor’s of the event. “We’re just hoping that people living in the area, working in the area, will come on a Sunday and hang out.”

11th Ave Street Fair

The fair will take place on 11th Ave between Pike and Pine from 1 to 9 PM Sunday, July 29. Curtis said you can expect a “nice, artsy flow of creatives” and “beautiful spaces with beautiful people.” Continue reading

11th Ave Street Fair

There’s a section of Capitol Hill that has quietly cultivated the most diverse artistic community in Seattle at the moment.

Please come to the inaugural
11th AVE. STREET FAIR!
Sunday, July 29th. 1-9pm
Art! Music! Performance! Djs! Food Trucks! Kids Area! Family Fun! Live Painting!

The Seattle Department of Transportation with the aid of Casey Rogers put together a program called “People Streets” or specifically, “Pike People Streets” to encourage community involvement by providing pedestrian access to side streets in vibrant neighborhoods. This year the project has been scaled down to two dates and one block:
11th Ave between e, pike and E. Pine.
The first day is Sunday, July 29th from 1-9 pm. The street will be closed to traffic and parking from 10am-10pm. (More information about 8/9/18 closure tba.)

11th Avenue between E. Pike and E. Pine street is concentrated with businesses and art/music spaces that are predominantly LGBTQ & MWBE (LGBTQ & minority and women owned/operated business enterprises) that strive to represent and host underserved and QTPOC artists.

Sponsored by: CHCC Capitol Hill Community Council, Vermillion, Blue Cone Studios, Imminent Mode, John Criscitello Studios, Kwanchai Vodka.

Crybaby musician’s grant carves out space for artists on Capitol Hill

Since 1999, Leigh Stone has witnessed the transformation of Capitol Hill as owner of Crybaby Studios, a subterranean warren of rehearsal spaces below 11th Ave between Pike and Pine. She has had a front row seat — or, more accurately, a view from the orchestra pit — to the accelerating gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood. Now she is carving out space for working class artists with the Crybaby Musician’s Grant, a program that will award three months’ access to a private studio and recording equipment for musicians who could not otherwise afford it.

“It’s important that spaces like this are centrally located and available to every demographic, not just people who have extra money.” Stone said. “We want to be known for having a music scene, but it’s gotten increasingly more difficult. Seattle is called ‘the City of Music’ — it’s been trademarked — and I’m fighting tooth and nail to keep facilities in the actual city.”

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Pivot: Gardened terraces out, mixed-use and offices in at the base of Capitol Hill

The future gaze from downtown highrises will reveal Pivot, gateway to Capitol Hill

There aren’t many of the elements left that won so much attention for the project when CHS first reported on it in the summer of 2016. The rooftop restaurant? Poof. The garden-like terraces rising above I-5? Gone with the wind. But after a long and circuitous route through the Seattle process, the appropriately named Pivot project set to rise at the base of Capitol Hill at Pine and Melrose has changed enough to make it to Wednesday night’s possible last design review.

Design review: 1208 Pine St

The review board will see a much more streamlined design focused for an eight-story, 70-unit apartment and office mixed-use building that is also planned for street-level retail. Neighborhood guidelines prefer those 5,200 square feet of restaurant or shop space to be on the ground floor — not the rooftop. Some 14,000 square feet will be dedicated to office space while 16 spaces are planned in the underground parking garage. Continue reading

State budget deal brings more than $200M to power Capitol Hill projects including new Hugo House, County Doctor dental clinic

Coming soon: the Hugo House Writers Center on 11th Ave (Image: Weinstein A+U)

While Washington D.C. struggles to keep the government open, our Washington has sorted things out enough to agree on a new $4.2 billion capital budget including nearly $1 billion for schools, and $205 million in funding for projects in our own 43rd District.

“Our top priority when we returned to Olympia last week was passing the state capital budget, which funds the construction and renovation of our schools, public health facilities and community projects,” 43rd District Sen. and Capitol Hill resident Jamie Pedersen wrote to constituents about the agreement. “The legislature adjourned in July with no enacted capital budget for the first time in living memory, because the Senate Republicans refused to bring it to a vote due to an unrelated dispute involving rural water wells.”

With the water squabble solvedGovernor Jay Inslee’s new budget includes nearly $2 billion for the construction of new school construction across the state. Pedersen also points out $106 million in the budget earmarked for the Housing Trust Fund, “the second-highest such investment in state history.”

The new budget helps push a handful of Capitol Hill area projects forward. Continue reading

Half price books: Hugo House offered space in new development below market value

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

(Image: Weinstein A+U)

Hoping to continue their long relationship with the literary-focused nonprofit, property owners of the under-construction, mixed-use development on 11th Ave and E Olive have offered to sell the nonprofit Hugo House a 10,000 square-foot ground floor space for about half of its estimated market value.

Hugo House, which is temporarily located at 1021 Columbia, made its home in the 1902-built former mortuary at 11th Ave and E Olive until its demolition last June.

The nonprofit has intended to move into the new development since plans were announced in 2014, but the below market price offer to sell the space to Hugo House is an unexpected opportunity. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A stop at Sundry in Chophouse Row

With the storefronts of one of the largest developments ever in Pike/Pine opening for business, there are also some new ventures underway in the neighborhood in a different type of project. Continue reading