Board votes unanimously to move 111-year-old Capitol Hill B&B forward in landmarks process

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(Image: The Gaslight Inn)

(Image: The Gaslight Inn)

“It’s not common that people see something in the rough and decide to take it on and spend three decades bringing it back to life.”

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board unanimously approved the nomination of Capitol Hill’s Gaslight Inn for landmark status Wednesday afternoon. The board will meet again on October 7th to consider the nomination.

Board member (and CHS contributorRobert Ketcherside said the Gaslight Inn had “emotional and personal significance,” citing longtime owner Stephen Bennett’s efforts to make it a haven for members of the gay community during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. His colleague Nicholas Carter said the Inn was “a very important part of our cultural history.”

Board chair Alison Walker noted how unusual it was for a property owner to self-nominate for a landmark designation and thanked Bennett for his efforts to maintain the 111-year old property: “It’s not common that people see something in the rough and decide to take it on and spend three decades bringing it back to life,” she said.

Most landmarks hearings related to Capitol Hill properties in recent years have been part of clearing the way for planned development.

“I feel so lucky to have lived there for the last thirty five years. It’s a wonderful place, it gives me back much more than I put in,” Bennett told the board after it cast its vote.

He was there with John Fox, a onetime employee of the Inn and local preservation advocate who helped prepare the proposal. Both men were overjoyed at the board’s decision. CHS spoke with Fox about the proposal prior to Wednesday’s meeting. “It’s how the gay community used to live,” he told CHS. “We remember a time when you weren’t necessarily welcomed everywhere and this was our way of making something nice in our neighborhood.”

The Gaslight Inn was built in 1904 and was originally the private residence of Paul Singerman, a prosperous Polish-born Jewish businessman. Singerman sold the property two years later in 1907 and it changed hands several times before being purchased by Bennett in 1983, who turned it into a bed and breakfast. The Inn is constructed in the “American Four Square” architectural style.

In order for a building to be designated as a landmark, it must be at least 25 years old and meet one of six criteria outlined in the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. The board determined that the Gaslight Inn met criteria C and D of the ordinance:

C) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation.

D) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction.

15th Ave’s Gaslight Inn to be considered as landmark

15th Ave’s Gaslight Inn will be considered as an official landmark later this month. But don’t worry, good neighbor — nobody is planing to tear it down.

In a process that often portends doom in Capitol Hill’s hyperactive environment of redevelopment, the 1904-era bed and breakfast is being nominated because the man who has owned it for more than 30 years and restored it to what the nomination backers claim is near-original condition, honest to goodnessly believes the old house should be a protected Seattle landmark.

Neighborhood preservation activist and area resident John Fox helped prepare the nomination for the Singerman Residence/Gaslight Inn house and tells CHS owner Stephen Bennett is pursuing the designation “because he does NOT want it ever torn down.” “He wants to be sure it stays part or the architectural fabric of the neighborhood,” Fox writes.

It is also, the proposal contends, a symbol of how gay and lesbian residents revived, and reshaped Capitol Hill starting about 40 years ago: Continue reading

Full Tilt bringing punk rock ice cream pop shop with a spin to Capitol Hill

Punk rock ice cream arcade purveyor Full Tilt is coming to Capitol Hill. A new shop dedicated to Full Tilt’s nearly legendary, long in the offing ice cream bars is planned to open mid-August in the 15th Ave E space where Capitol Hill Family Arcade has been entertaining Capitol Hill families ever since… a week or so ago.

“I have prepped my best games for this location,” Bobby Conover from 20XX Amusements is quoted as saying in the announcement sent to CHS. Full Tilt says the new space will have a larger arcade section than any of the other Full Tilt shops. The new store will feature about 20 arcade and pinball machines, according to the announcement.

“I wanted to use this location to focus more on our ice cream bars and games,” Full Tilt’s Justin Cline said. “To make it a fun spot for families on the Hill.” Continue reading

Last of the Hill area collectives, Best Buds has one year to sort out new medical pot rules

With the tussle over who will become the first I-502 marijuana retailer to open on Capitol Hill continuing on 15th Ave E, the area’s last of the old school medical marijuana collectives Best Buds is trying to raise funds to stay in business at 23rd and Madison.

Friday, a roster of new laws regulating medial marijuana went into effect in Washington including the official new name for the state liquor board:

For medical pot, the big change doesn’t happen until July 1st, 2016 when the medical system is rolled into the new retail system and collectives and co-ops are shuttered.

While other groups have closed their doors on Capitol Hill, Best Buds continues to operate in its E Madison space. And owner Jiovani McKelvy is hoping Best Buds’ buds will step up to help “save our store”5165215_1435962542.991

Please support a gay-owned local business get back on its feet! A year ago, Ian Vogue opened Best Buds, an MMJ Dispensary in Seattle, Washington. His partner and two of his friends run this quaint, LGBT friendly shop of treasures and treats every day where each patient is consindered a Bud! Their small business unfortunately fell victim of two separate robberies and has had to make major cutbacks in addition to getting a loan in order to continue providing much needed medicine to their valued patients. Best Buds is now turning to the community. Even a dollar helps! Thank you for taking the time to read this and please share with your friends!

We’ve asked Best Buds for more information about the plans for the operation going forward but haven’t yet heard back.

In February, US Marshals assisted Seattle Police in nailing the suspect in an armed robbery at Best Buds that netted more than $10,000 in pot. We’ll have more information about that case soon.

With the number of I-502 permits remaining constricted, the business competition between two marijuana entrepreneurs vying to open at 15th and Republican took a surreal turn earlier this month with the opening of a “family arcade” on the corner. Last we checked, the arcade remained open as the project looks to obtain the necessary permits to make a new space for longtime 15th Ave E cobbler Ray Angel.

Capitol Hill Family Arcade — and a new home for Angel’s Shoe Repair — latest twists in quest to open first Capitol Hill pot shop

The next chapter in the Game of Thrones-like saga playing out around competing I-502 marijuana retailers on Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E involves a possible cutthroat business maneuver mixed with compassion for a longtime neighborhood shopkeeper.

Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg has confirmed to CHS that the video games he is moving into the former home of the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic at 15th and Republican are going to be put to good use — starting now.

The Capitol Hill Family Arcade will open Monday night, Eisenberg said, if all goes to plan as carpenters have split the former vet clinic in twain to make way for the arcade. Eisenberg said he is making room in the building for Angel’s Shoe Repair to make the move from across the street.

“When I went to the 15th Avenue merchant meeting,” Eisenberg tells CHS, “I said I wanted to be a good neighbor. I followed the trials and tribulations at Angel’s. I have the extra space.”

Cobbler Ray Angel should be open in his new space by the end of the week, Eisenberg said.

The moves come as Eisenberg is preparing the building to eventually be home to his second I-502 marijuana retailing operation. The Uncle Ike’s entrepreneur paid $1.5 million for the property earlier this year as another I-502 permit holder was gearing up to open in the former vet clinic. Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

The resulting cascade of activity now has Samuel Burke and his Tok shop working to open in the longtime home of Angel’s while Ray Angel was turning to the community to raise money to fund a possible move after losing his longtime month-to-month lease.

Angel will now have a new lease on business life with a space inside Eisenberg’s building that is designed to remain should the address eventually be permitted next year when new legislation goes into effect allowing the state to hand out more I-502 permits. But the appearance of an arcade could complicate the permitting process for Tok as it pushes to open this summer.

“It’s curious that a pot shop owner is trying to disallow other pot shops from opening in this  manner,” Tok representative Ben Livingston tells CHS. Livingston also expressed his doubts about whether it is legal for an arcade to operate in the building. We are reaching out to DPD to ask about permitted uses at the address.

Eisenberg says his motives are simple.

“I had some games sitting around and they were taking up space,” Eisenberg said. “It’s an easy way to activate the space.”

Meanwhile, the City Council passed a measure Monday that would close many, if not all, of the city’s medical marijuana shops that opened after I-502 was passed in 2013. Businesses able to show that they opened before January 2013 will be able to continue operations, pending their adherence to new enforcement rules.

UPDATE 7/14/2015 11:50 AM: If you had any doubts, the arcade *must* be real — it has a Facebook page:

UPDATE 7/15/2015 8:40 AM: A complaint has been filed with DPD for the building. Eisenberg says he has been ordered to stop work so construction of the Angel’s Shoe Repair component of the building must be put on hold pending permits. “It shouldn’t take too long, but it will mean Angel won’t be able to make a smooth transition across the street and he’ll probably be down for a little while,” Eisenberg said.

We’ve asked DPD for details of the complaint.

UPDATEx2: The complaint is pretty straightforward — but goes beyond the cobbler portion of the project: “Electrical and construction work without permits to create video arcade in former vet clinic space.”

“Whatever business that goes in there will need to get a change of use permit to operate as something other than a vet clinic,” a DPD spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Eisenberg says the arcade remains open.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Sugar Plum a sweet new direction for eating vegan in Seattle

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By the end of July, Makini Howell will have taken eating vegan in Seattle in yet another new direction: to the sweet shop.

“It will show that there is a lot to being vegan,” Howell said in a chat with CHS following her weekend of red, white, and blue vegan BBQ, an annual tradition at her 15th Ave E cafe that didn’t get put aside despite a busy schedule and construction to prepare for the opening of Sugar Plum planned for the end of the month. “It will be a sweet little sweet shop.” And, yup, it will be vegan.

CHS first told you about Howell’s plans to transform her 15th Ave E cafe into a vegan sweet shop last fall. She utilized community financing and her strong reputation to push a brand new concept forward and reinvent her part of the 15th Ave E food and drink scene.

“People like us. They know we offer a quality product. We’ve been vegan an in Seattle for so long,” Howell told CHS this week.

When it opens in, Howell said to expect “that old school feel of a candy shop” with gluten free, vegan, and dietarily sensitive wonders. “I want it to be an exciting spot to come have a treat. Imagine amazing, big chocolate chip cookies,” Howell told us last fall. You’ll find the aforementioned cookies, bars, brownies, donuts, sweets, soft-serve and more. Continue reading

Confederate memorial in Capitol Hill cemetery targeted

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

As the Charleston shootings have renewed and strengthened calls to eliminate the Confederate flag as a symbol of government in the southern United States, a Capitol Hill memorial to the soldiers of the Confederacy here in the Pacific Northwest has again been targeted.

Monday morning workers at 15th Ave E’s Lake View Cemetery were painstakingly scrubbing the porous granite of the United Confederate Veterans Memorial to remove a spray painted message against “white supremacy.”

The 89-year-old memorial hewn from a “10-ton” block of “Stone Mountain, Georgia” rock was created by the Seattle chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reportedly with money raised at “Dixie Day” during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. Rather than some kind of early 20th Century historical revisionists, the group included the actual daughters and wives of Confederate soldiers living in Seattle. Continue reading

Governor signs pot reform bill to ease zoning restrictions, streamline taxes

Marijuana freedom could spread on Capitol Hill under the new HB 2169 (Image: Alex Garland)

Marijuana freedom could spread on Capitol Hill under the new HB 2169 (Image: Alex Garland)

A city map from 2013 shows how the 1,000 foot buffer rule restricted most areas from I-502 shops.

A city map from 2013 shows how the 1,000 foot buffer rule restricted most areas from I-502 shops.

Recreational and medical marijuana taxes will fall under a single tax and zoning restrictions placed on I-502 shops could significantly ease under a reform enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday.

HB 2136, which the legislature passed last week, would allow cities and counties to significantly reduce the buffer rule that has kept recreational marijuana shops away from many dense, commercial areas like Pike/Pine. The current law states I-502 shops cannot be located within a 1,000 foot radius of parks, schools, and other specific gathering places. Localities could soon bring that buffer down to 100 feet under the new measure. We’re checking with the city to see how the buffer rule may change here.  Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Ada’s launches its own book collection through crowd-powered publisher Inkshares

IMG_6756The shelves inside Ada’s Technical Books are chock full of inspiration for innovation and experimentation, so it’s no surprise the shop itself has taken a few of those lessons to heart. From the lock picking classes that started at the old Harvard Ave location, to the cafe and coworking space that were added in the move to 15th Ave, Ada’s has made a habit of elevating the neighborhood bookshop game.

Now the bookseller is stepping into the realm of book publisher. Ada’s recently announced a partnership with crowd-powered publisher Inkshares to release books under The Ada’s Technical Books Collection.

“We’re looking for books we think are interesting and fit within our store,” said Ada’s events coordinator Alex Hughes.

In addition to being part of an Ada’s curated collection, writers will also get promotional support for their book and, of course, a place on Ada’s shelves. Continue reading

Amid changes on 15th Ave E, Station 7 opens shop

(Images: CHS)

The 15th Ave E commercial village is welcoming a new merchant this month as Station 7 has opened inside the old firehouse at 15th and Harrison.

Here is how owners Danielle Yoakum Tilden and Jan Reingold describe the new boutique:

We are a community-based store offering art, jewelry, found furniture pieces with an industrial flair, home goods and accessories. We search hard and gather one of a kind objects. We especially love architectural salvaged items, rust, worn leather, crystal and industrial metal, but you’ll find all sorts of goods in our shop. We are proud to showcase the work of many talented artists and artisans in our community. We feature locally made craft jewelry, art, ceramics, glass works, leather goods and clothing.

FEATURED ARTISTS: Jan Reingold, jewelry – Leslie West, encaustic art, assemblages – David Tuthill, metal work, jewelry – Eric Saeter, ceramics, jewelry – Hannah Reingold, jewelry – Linda Van Hare, glass work – Mojo Studio, jewelry – Courtney Keene, jewelry FEATURED PRODUCT LINES: glassybaby – Blackbird – Formulary 55

CHS spoke with North Capitol Hiller Yoakum Tilden earlier this year about the new life for the building as a creative boutique. “I really wanted it to be close to home. I wanted it to be a neighborhood thing,” she said at the time.

Station 7 opened earlier this month after a buildout that reclaimed the parking lot as a new patio space and emptied the old firehouse of the remnants of its longtime tenant, the dearly departed last video rental shop on Capitol Hill, On 15th Video. With new faces like Rudy’s Capitol Hill East moving in, and longtime businesses being pushed aside by the strip’s I-502 friendly zoning opportunities, Station 7 represents a bit of old school 15th Ave E. But Yoakum Tilden isn’t part of the truly old 15th Ave E merchant class — we asked.

Station 7 is located at 400 15th Ave E and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 AM to 7 PM and Sundays, 11 AM to 6 PM. You can learn more at station7seattle.com.

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