What the Capitol Hill auto row-inspired project planned to replace Hilltop Service Station will look like

The concept for the 523 Hilltop project (Images: Studio Meng Strazzara)

The last time this Capitol Hill developer and the architects from Studio Meng Strazzara hooked up, they created an eight-story project designed to set the standard for Pike/Pine preservation and redevelopment. On 15th Ave E, Hunters Capital won’t leave any motor car history to work with as it prepares to demolish the Hilltop Service Station and continue the work to slowly repair the soils beneath from decades of contamination — but the proposed design for its coming 523 Hilltop building is inspired by Capitol Hill’s auto row past.

Design review: 523 15th Ave E

The Hunters Capital project takes its first pass by the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. Continue reading

Police investigate after man shot in 17th and E Mercer alley — UPDATE

At least one person was reported shot and police were searching the area after finding a blood trail and shell casings in a shooting near 17th and E Mercer early Thursday morning.

Multiple 911 callers reported around eight gunshots just before 1 AM.

Arriving officers found a male with a gunshot wound to his upper torso at a nearby building , according to East Precinct radio dispatches. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A confluence of authentic, nostalgic Indian food, and socially conscious business at Spice Waala

What happens when a professor of social work and a brand expert hook up in a love of authentic Indian street food? Spice Waala, the love child of entrepreneurs Dr. Aakanksha Sinha and Uttam Mukherjee opened softly over the weekend in its new brick and mortar space on 15th Ave E.

“Street food is where the common man goes and eats,” Mukkherjee told CHS during the restaurant’s first day of business last Friday. “But it is also where the rich people go and eat. So it’s like a confluence of people.”

This economic theory take on a new Capitol Hill restaurant’s opening are a good representation of the business from the Assistant Professor of Social Work at Seattle University, and her husband Mukherjee, a brand manager at Procter & Gamble, and now a Capitol Hill restaurateur. Continue reading

Bites of Bangkok, with Broadway bar connection, ‘coming soon’ to 15th Ave E

You can stop emailing CHS. Yes, we saw the sign, too. Somebody is getting ready to break the curse of the Bagel Deli. From what we know, the right people seem to be involved to get it done.

Just as CHS reported on the demise of the Mediterranean-flavored Olive Tree in the challenged 15th Ave E space formerly home to the deli, handmade signs went up announcing a new project — Bites of Bangkok, a “Thai Tapas” concept from Capitol Hill residents Jansri Parichat and Pranesh Sharma.

While the home for Bites might have faced a few struggles with its previous two tenants, what we know about the new restaurant might just set it up to rise above the off-the-street location on 15th Ave E. Sharma has been the highly respected bar manager that has helped Broadway’s Jai Thai punch above its weight class with a stronger than expected cocktail and comedy game. While he will be moving on from his Broadway post, hopefully Sharma gets to bring some spiked Thai ice tea and lychee martinis with him. Continue reading

The curse of the Bagel Deli

While we’re talking about a restaurant opportunity up for grabs on the quiet side of Capitol Hill along 19th Ave E, let us mark the passing of another neighborhood food and drink venture outside the Pike/Pine and Broadway hot zones.

Its death might also have the markings of the latest “cursed” restaurant space on Capitol Hill.

A few weeks back, the dreaded brown paper went up in the windows of 15th Ave E’s Olive Tree. The Mediterranean sit-down debuted in early 2017 as an offshoot of the Kent original. The first Olive Tree continues to thrive. But the Capitol Hill expansion is gone. Ownership has not returned our calls and messages about the closure. Continue reading

Charming, safe, green, and clean — What CHS heard at the 15th Ave E design workshop

Ross Kling owner of Rainbow Remedies considers issues of bulk and scale on 15th Ave (Images: CHS)

If 15th Ave E business owners and neighbors really can get their community priorities out in front a coming wave of redevelopment, these are the people who will help get it done.

The scene at Saturday’s design workshop and community input session for 15th Ave E was a veritable cast party of the neighborhood’s major players. Organized by the street’s resident designers at Board and Vellum and Environmental Works, neighbors, business owners, and quite a few architects assembled at the Summit on E Pike — maybe another community priority for 15th Ave E should be a large community meeting space — over the weekend to start the process of making their preferences known and documenting the design priorities ahead of planned development on 15th Ave E.

Board and Vellum’s Brian Baker said a vibrant and active streetscape will help keep the neighborhood safe, but measures should be taken to ensure small businesses won’t be left in the dust of large commercial development.

“I’m working on the Capitol Hill design guidelines and one of the things we are writing is to encourage flexible floorplans at ground level that can be reused, that can be adaptable and allow for smaller spaces for unique businesses to exist,” he said. Baker is also part of the design review guideline program for Capitol Hill. Continue reading

‘Inhumane’ encampments, development as greenhouse polluter, reset on transit: Here’s what Mayor Durkan talked about during weekend Capitol Hill business tour and town hall

Durkan on 15th Ave E doing a little Saturday afternoon shopping (Images: CHS)

Following a low-profile tour of are businesses along the quieter side of Capitol Hill, Mayor Jenny Durkan met a small gathering of the public at the Miller Community Center on Saturday for a community conversation. Introduced as the city’s first female mayor in nearly 100 years, Seattle native Durkan gave a short address and fielded questions from the audience around homelessness, mental health, zoning laws, and the future of public transportation during the hour long event.

Though the Mayor announced millions in investments to reduce homelessness this year with affordable housing and addiction mitigation and City Hall under her watch is pursuing a $75 million-plus plan to create a new employee tax for big businesses, she said Saturday the city is only a cog in a wheel when it comes to its ability to fortify behavioral health services and facilities in within city limits.

“We are trying to get to a point where we can offer services on demand because we have had defunding of mental health services,” she said. “Right now most of the mental health and treatment dollars go from the state to the county, so if we don’t have a regional solution including both, we’ll never get to the point where we’ll have more mental health facilities, short term and long term in the community or state wide. “

Continue reading

Victim warns of North Capitol Hill groper

Police investigated Wednesday night after a woman reported she was assaulted and groped on 15th Ave E in North Capitol Hill.

In addition to reporting the attack to SPD, the victim reached out to CHS to make sure others in the area are aware of the assault.

“I reported this to the police but not much could be done,” she writes. “I’m just hoping to make the community aware as this is a spot I typically feel safe and it was in daylight on a busy street.”

The Capitol Hill resident tells CHS she was walking on 15th Ave E where it slopes down to become E Boston St when she was grabbed. “About midway down the Boston hill a man ran up behind me and grabbed my behind really hard,” the victim writes. “Before I could realize what happened, he was sprinting back up the hill.”

She reported the assault to police but there were no immediate arrests. The suspect is described as an unknown race male around 5’7″ or 5’8″, with a stocky build, and wearing jeans and a black hoodie with the hood pulled up at the time of the Wednesday night assault.

If you have information about the incident or can help identify the suspect, call 911.

Workshop will try to get community priorities out in front of coming, taller 15th Ave E redevelopment

15th Ave E from above

By the time the bulldozers show up, it’s way too late to have any impact on how a new building might look.

So a pair of architecture firms located on 15th Avenue East are planning to get ahead of any development on the street they call home. Board & Vellum and Environmental Works are hosting a design workshop, open to the public, to discuss what 15th Ave E could look like as redevelopment happens.

Thus far in the recent building boom, 15th has largely been spared much redevelopment, save for the old Chutney’s site being replaced by the Stream 15 building in 2013. And the lack of change hasn’t just been during the current boom. Chris Parker of Board & Vellum notes that in going back through archived photos, the neighborhood looks largely the same as it has for decades.

“It hasn’t changed much since the 1950s,” he said. Continue reading

Ready, player? Full Tilt Capitol Hill now open

We don’t know why big coffee Starbucks surrendered but we do know who to thank for Full Tilt coming to Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E.

“This building was built for them 25 years ago,” Full Tilt’s Justin Cline tells CHS. “When they decided to move, Linda Derschang called and said she wanted us to be her neighbor.”

Full Tilt Capitol Hill debuted with a “quiet opening” Thursday night in the former 15th Ave E Starbucks space next to Derschang’s bar Smith. Expect louder nights to come. The fifth Full Tilt in the city, the 15th Ave E edition is now the chain’s largest and the only location with a reservable party room. You will also find a freezer full of typically delicious, uniquely Full Tilt flavors (including vegan varieties) straight out of its South Park ice cream factory. Continue reading