With brakes momentarily tapped on 15th Ave E development, Hilltop Service Station rolls on under new owner

Closure of Capitol Hill’s Hilltop Service Station seemed inevitable this year after CHS first reported that after 48 years, the family-owned 15th Ave E property was officially promised to developer Cadence Capital for sale in July. Two months later, Hilltop is still a busy garage and there is a new but familiar owner.

“It’s the same great service that everybody is used to, just a little bit scaled down,” said Jim Peters, master mechanical technician who took over the service station this month.

Peters says even after 20 years at the station, people ask if he’s new to the garage. Usually the one under the hood, now he’s the only one left and doing it all himself with the occasional hand from the well known station crew who have gone on to seek their own fresh start when the sale was first announced. Continue reading

Process begins to guide Kaiser Permanente’s $400M Capitol Hill campus renovation

Capitol Hill’s first hospital has come a long way since 1945, when an idealistic group of doctors founded the Group Health Cooperative based on the idea that healthcare should be provided affordably and at hospitals owned and staffed by physicians. They acquired St. Luke’s on 15th at John, and together the hospital and neighborhood grew together for more than seven decades. Group Health became one of the country’s largest consumer-directed healthcare organizations, but in 2015 2017 it was acquired by Kaiser Permanente, one of the biggest not-for-profit health plans in the United States.

As part of an effort to remodel its Capitol Hill campus by 2022, Kaiser announced a $400 million project last year to improve access to primary and specialty care and provide community spaces for public use. The process to shape that project has begun.

The remodeled campus won’t be any bigger than it is now, according to Kaiser Permanente’s Julie Popper, but it will provide better specialty and out-patient care so that members can get the treatment they need and get on with their day.

“We’re not building any higher. We’re not expanding any further. Patients want to get help and go home at the end of the day,” she said. “We really want to bring the building to the cutting edge in healthcare today.” Continue reading

One hit in shootout at 15th and Union — UPDATE

One person was reported hit by gunfire in a shootout involving at least one vehicle Monday afternoon near 15th and Union.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene around 1:45 PM to treat the victim who, according to East Precinct radio reports, was hit in the crossfire. We do not have further victim information at this time. Continue reading

Emmett Montgomery selects Capitol Hill for Secret Grandpa Subscription Service headquarters

Montgomery on stage, surely thinking about his Secret Grandpa responsibilities

Creepy grandpas, chihuahua ice cream cones, and spatulas with insect legs.

These are the things that Emmett Montgomery is thinking about when he wakes up in the morning.

A self-proclaimed weirdo, Montgomery has been a standup comedian, storyteller, and artist on Capitol Hill for years. Recently he unveiled his latest creation — the Secret Grandpa Subscription Service.

“This was kind of a wonderful experiment,” he said. “Now it’s a significant part of my day. I wake up thinking about what weird grandpa thing I’m gonna do.”

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s last independent service station’s days numbered as developer has deal for 15th Ave E corner

After more than half a century of business on Capitol Hill, the Hilltop Service Station on 15th Ave E is slated to be no more. Customers have been told the station’s last day of service is coming — possibly this week.

Cadence Capital, a Colorado-based real estate and development firm, finalized an agreement to purchase the property last month, according to King County records, making the deal official and paving the way for the property to be acquired and redeveloped. Financial details and terms of the memorandum of agreement are not yet publicly available.  Continue reading

Police investigate reported gunpoint hold-up at Malden and Mercer — UPDATE

Seattle Police investigated an armed robbery involving four masked suspects overnight on Capitol Hill.

Police were called to the area near E Mercer and Malden just after 4 AM to a report of a gunpoint robbery. The suspects were described only as four black males, each wearing a black hoodie and bandanas over their faces. The suspects fled in a BMW SUV last seen northbound on Malden. According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the victims reported the group was armed with what appeared to be a silver .38 revolver.

UPDATE: According to the report on the incident, one of the victim’s was also punched in the face as the thieves took cash and destroyed a phone: Continue reading

Help shape the $400M plan to ‘renovate and redesign’ Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill campus

Volunteers are needed to help oversee the $400 million plan to “renovate and redesign” Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill campus:

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is seeking interested community members from surrounding neighborhoods to participate on the Kaiser Permanente Standing Advisory Committee (SAC). This committee provides feedback on projects planned and under development by the hospital to ensure it complies with its Master Plan. The Master Plan describes zoning rules, long range planning of the property, and transportation planning.

Community members who have experience in neighborhood organizing and issues, land use and zoning, architecture or landscape architecture, economic development, building development, medical services, or just an interest in their neighborhood’s future are encouraged to apply.

The committee meets in the evenings at the campus four to six times a year. Committee members serve a two-year renewable term. If you are interested in serving on this committee, send a letter of interest by either e-mail or regular mail by Monday, July 30 to:

Maureen Sheehan

E-mail: Maureen.Sheehan@seattle.gov

After 71 years as an independent provider of care, Group Health and its Capitol Hill campus became part of Kaiser Permanente last year. Acquisition of the cooperative’s medical campus on 15th Ave at John instantly made Kaiser Permanente one of the largest employers on Capitol Hill.

Chamber pulls back on plan to expand ‘Business Improvement Area’ and property assessments across Hill

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is pulling back on a years-long plan to expand a Business Improvement Area (BIA) property assessment that would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for providing street clean-up and merchant support across the neighborhood.

In the announcement from the chamber’s executive committee, the group said it is “re-assessing how the BIA is organized at a larger level based on the changing political situation right now in Seattle.”

“[I]t is apparent that while the intent of the proposed BIA is for a stronger and better Capitol Hill, a shifting political reality in Seattle has made communities less trustful of how money is being spent,” the chamber announcement reads. “Seattle and Capitol Hill are very different places from when this proposal was crafted.” Continue reading

Blotter | Early morning SWAT raid at Capitol Hill house, Louisa Boren greenbelt death — UPDATE

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

  • SWAT raid: At least two people were taken into custody in an early Wednesday morning SWAT raid on a Capitol Hill house near 19th and E Howell. According to reports from people living in the area, booms from police explosive devices went off around 6 AM and an armored SWAT vehicle was parked in front of the house. Police were also attempting to communicate with someone inside the house using a loudspeaker. “Police are on bullhorn telling someone to come out and there were 2 big bangs,” one neighbor reported to CHS. The situation was reported as “secure” around 6:30 AM by a commander at the scene, per East Precinct radio dispatches. We’ll check with SPD to learn more about the raid. UPDATE: A spokesperson tells us SPD was not the lead agency on this morning’s raid and could provide no additional details about the arrests. UPDATE x2: No word on if it is related, but the Department of Justice announced it will hold an afternoon press conference with U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes and “other federal, state and local law enforcement leaders” for a briefing “on a major drug ring takedown involving more than 45 locations and 500 officers today in King, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Snohomish Counties.” “Today’s actions follow a series of drug trafficking investigations that have taken dozens of conspirators off the street, in an effort to address drug and attendant violent crime patterns in the Puget Sound Region,” the announcement reads. UPDATE x3: We’re still trying to confirm who was taken into custody this morning but the DOJ announced 35 people were arrested on drug and gun crimes in a series of FBI-led operations. “In the fourth major drug trafficking ring takedown in as many months, federal, state and local law enforcement officers fanned out across King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston Counties to execute search warrants and arrest more than 35 members of a drug trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Today’s arrests are the fourth takedown in a series of cases aimed at reducing drug and gang violence in Seattle, South King and North Pierce Counties.” UPDATE x4: We have confirmed that the raid was part of the federal drug and gun sweep.
  • Greenbelt rescue: Seattle Fire and Seattle Police made their way deep into the overgrown greenbelt below the Louisa Boren Lookout park early Wednesday after a 911 caller reported his friend was unconscious, and unresponsive at a campsite in the leafy ravine. According to East Precinct dispatches, officers located the site just after 6 AM about 1,000 yards down the steep trail below the overlook near a tree marked “Dead End.” Seattle Fire began life saving procedures on the unconscious male and he was taken back up the trail to Harborview. We do not have further information on his condition at this time. A chaplain was called to Harborview, according to Seattle Fire radio. Metro route 10 service was disrupted as police closed off E Garfield for Seattle Fire vehicles during the response. UPDATE: Seattle Fire tells us the victim, a male in his 20s, died at the scene.

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Victrola’s downtown cafe brings along Capitol Hill roots (and opportunity to make some big new giant retailer friends)

Born in 2000 on 15th Ave E, Victrola has survived neighboring competitive corporate mimicry — remember 15th Ave Coffee & Tea? — and downright overwhelming investment on a global scale. This week, the small chain of cafes has expanded into new Seattle territory directly in the maw of massive brands downtown at 3rd and Pine — and it has made some surprising alliances along the way.

Wednesday, Victrola opened its new cafe inside the Macy’s building, well off Capitol Hill.

Victrola’s Andrew Wheeler tells CHS one of the 15th Ave cafe’s earliest customers called that shop “the living room of the neighborhood.” It’s an ideal Victrola hopes to carry downtown. Continue reading