More change around 15th Ave E pot: Postal Plus will close shop in March

March 31st to be exact. That’s when owner Ed Zhang said he will close the 15th Ave E’s neighborhood’s Postal Plus after running the “contract postal unit” and retailer for 17 years. It could also present an opportunity for 15th Ave’s current pot shop to expand ahead of a major competitor opening across the street.

Zhang tells CHS he was recently notified by the building’s owner that rent at the 15th and Republican space would be doubling to match market value. The math to stay open, Zhang said, did not add up.

The US Post Office pays contract retailers like Zhang a flat fee, regardless of other expenses, to independently run a de-facto post office with the ability to offer other services. While the shop includes mailboxes, a UPS and FedEx drop-off, a notary, and retail component offering books and gifts, Zhang said those services would not be enough to cover the rent hike. Continue reading

With over 100 years of service, Angel’s Shoe Repair (and new friend Uncle Ike) planning end of month re-opening

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)

“No, we haven’t talked about that,” Ray Angel tells CHS in response to our jackass-level question about whether his about to re-open 105-year-old Seattle shoe repair business is planning any, um, joint promotions with new landlord Uncle Ike’s.

Growing accustom to dumb pot jokes will only be part of the changes the Angel’s Shoe Repair cobbler will face when his shop in the overhauled building at 15th and Republican opens soon.

“It’s really a great thing he’s done for me,” Angel said about Ian Eisenberg’s offer to lease a small portion of the building where he is building the new Capitol Hill pot shop. Angel said he will have his own entrance and will be fully separated from the high security retail cannabis operation. He’ll have a little less space than his old location on E Republican but will fill the shop with his old machines and cobbler gear. Continue reading

Seattle City Council protects two very different Capitol Hill houses as landmarks — UPDATE

Two Capitol Hill houses that have stood for more than 100 years are set to be designated official City of Seattle landmarks Monday afternoon. The Seattle City Council will vote on the final designations following approval at the committee level last week and previous approvals by the Landmarks Preservation Board.

UPDATE: As expected, both ordinances were passed by the full city council Monday.

The structures share vastly different recent histories but both will now be afforded protections that should preserve the structures even as the city’s much needed multi-family development continues to flow around them. Continue reading

Details key for apartment project set to replace 15th Ave E parking lot

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Developers are ready to trade a 15th Ave E parking lot for a new 36-unit apartment building. Now, they hope to convince the review board they have the finishing touches necessary to do the job.

The Wren building will take its second and likely final pass in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night after getting kicked back in the process in July for a design proposal that lacked in the “materials and detailing” department on its 15th Ave E-facing façade. “The Board struggled with how the design relates to adjacent buildings and creates its own sense of place and identity,” the report (PDF) on the July session reads.

Wednesday night, developer Isola Homes and the architects from Caron Architecture will come to the table with a plan for cedar siding and aluminum that they hope convinces the board the four-story, 36-unit project with a planned 1,400 feet of commercial space is ready to move forward. Continue reading

Liberty celebrates a decade of craft cocktails and sushi on Capitol Hill

15th Ave E is a place where businesses tend to stick around. The neighborhood commercial district is still home to a century-old cobbler and one of the area’s longest standing mechanics. Ten years ago it was still supporting a church-run thrift shop called Trinkets & Treasures.

The wicker furniture and dusty vinyl records left in 2006, but in its place came a bar that has become a neighborhood institution in its own right. This month Liberty celebrates 3,800+ consecutive days of business on Capitol Hill.

Owner Andrew Friedman has been at the helm every one of those days and plans to continue being a constant presence even as ownership changes loom for the cocktail and sushi lounge. “I really enjoy the community aspect of a neighborhood bar,” Friedman said.

The craft cocktail craze was still a few years off in Seattle when Friedman opened Liberty in 2006. Having prior service industry experience, Friedman decided to take a shot at opening a bar when he walked  by15th Ave space and noticed it had become available. “I knew I wanted to open a bar … I was dreaming of being on Capitol Hill,” he said.

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Big news for tiny 15th Ave E restaurant, Teriyaki Madness expanding

(Image: Patricia via Flickr)

(Image: Patricia via Flickr)

A mighty mite of the Capitol Hill food+drink scene is about to get a little bigger.

Hammers are pounding away at 15th Ave E’s Teriyaki Madness as the longtime takeout joint is expanding.

CHS didn’t learn much about the business behind the busy worker-bee food and drink stop but we did confirm that work is underway to expand the teriyaki shop into the space left empty by the exit of a neighboring pot dispensary as the state’s medical marijuana system was merged into its recreational pot economy. Gyro Cafe will continue to operate next door. We’re told Teriyaki Madness Capitol Hill is no relation to the Teriyaki Madness in Kirkland nor a franchise of Teriyaki Madnesses that operate on the West Coast. We don’t know how long it has been operating on 15th Ave E but we expect you’re about to tell us.

The construction permit calls for our Teriyaki Madness to expand into the retail space to its north to add more seating for the tiny but busy walk-up.

The expanded teriyaki joint is in the midst of lots of activity on its busy block of 15th Ave E. Earlier this year, architects from Board and Vellum took over and totally redesigned the old credit union to the north for their new office space. Upstairs, Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center has settled in to continue its long running mission of building communities around specific HIV issues and other recovery assistance like addiction.

And it’s about to get busier. Permits have been issued to begin construction for the four-story, mixed-used development designed to fill in the old credit union building’s parking lot.

Committed to staying on Capitol Hill, Lambert House starts fundraising drive

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 10.51.31 AMCapitol Hill LGBTQ youth nonprofit Lambert House has started a capital campaign to raise the money it needs to stay in its 35-year 15th Ave home. The organization is committed to staying on Capitol Hill.

Lambert House needs around $2 million to be able to stay in its longtime home on 15th Ave past the end of 2016. Executive director Ken Shulman said the organization is pursuing several different sources of funding through the capital campaign, including major private donations and a campaign started Pride weekend.

Shulman says that the nonprofit will assess the status of its fundraising in early October and decide whether they will likely have enough to buy up their current location by the end of the year. If not, Lambert House will move into an interim space for a few years while it continues to raise money for a more permanent location. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | With room for a Sugar Plum counter, Plum expanding on 12th Ave

Makini Howell’s vegan bistro Plum is expanding on 12th Ave — and adding something sweet in the process.

“We are booking a lot of catering this summer,” Howell said about the new Plum expansion set to take over the empty steakhouse just up the sidewalk. “It shows — more people are vegan but, also, the growth of the city. We’ve managed to stay through a lot of ups and downs.”

Plum Catering will put the expanded kitchen from the departed Manhattan to good use supporting Howell’s booming catering business while also making space for takeout meals, sauces, dips, and sundries. Pioneer Square’s London Plane offers an example of how it might fight together. A sweets counter featuring creations from the reinvigorated Sugar Plum will also be part of the construction underway in the space. Continue reading

In case it wasn’t clear (because it wasn’t), Uncle Ike’s is coming to Capitol Hill

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You're our favorite uncle.

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You’re our favorite uncle.

That second pot shop approved by the state at one intersection on Capitol Hill at 15th and Republican? It will be an Uncle Ike’s.

The latest twist in the As the Weed Turns-level soap opera playing out around 15th Ave E pot is that building owner Ian Eisenberg is, indeed, a big part of the plan to open a new pot shop on the corner.

We asked Eisenberg — a CHS advertiser — after seeing a sign teasing the Uncle Ike’s brand show up outside the construction underway to transform the former veterinary clinic into a new Uncle Ike’s.

We already knew another pot shop was coming to the street. And we knew it would be in Eisenberg’s building. In February, CHS reported on the approval of an I-502 retailer license for an entity called Lion’s Heart owned by Daniela Bernhard, a veteran of Seattle’s medical pot dispensary scene. The location for the permit is across the street from Ruckus which opened in December as the first I-502 pot shop on Capitol Hill.

Now we know Eisenberg will be involved in more than just developing the property he acquired for $1.5 million in 2015 and collecting rent. Continue reading

As sibling Liberty ponders going co-op, Good Citizen focuses on coffee, not cocktails

The plans for Good Citizen, Andrew Friedman’s second Capitol Hill hangout that eased into operation more than a year ago only to quietly go dormant again, have changed. Meanwhile, Liberty, Friedman’s plucky 15th Ave E bar that made its reputation in growing Seattle’s craft cocktail scene out of equal parts integrity and bitters, is up for sale — but likely only available to a very special group of buyers: the people who work there.

After opening as an event space more than a year ago, Good Citizen on E Olive Way is, for now, anyhow, moving forward as a cafe — craft cocktail-free.

Friedman tells CHS Good Citizen re-opened “just for fun” starting Tuesday, June 21. Right now, the store only has Stumptown coffee, but Friedman says pastries, and coffee from other roasters will soon be available. You can stop by now though be prepared for a flexible schedule as Friedman’s crew sorts things out. Continue reading

Here’s what it looks like when Capitol Hill architects design their own office

The architects at the Capitol Hill architecture firm Board and Vellum are enjoying the results of some of their latest work — their own new office space on 15th Ave E.

“We’re all beyond giddy,” said principal and founder Jeff Pelletier. “It’s rare for architects to get to design their own space, and we were just given a blank slate to do with what we wanted to do with it, and it’s just turned out fantastic.”

The firm was created more than five years ago in Pelletier’s Capitol Hill attic. Once they expanded enough to need a more formal office, Board and Vellum moved downtown for a year, then to a space in Capitol Hill off 16th Ave, where they stayed for the past three years. Pelletier says that office was made for about 11 people but was holding all 21 members of the firm. It got old quickly. Continue reading

Mother of the Brazilian in Seattle, 15th Ave E’s Wax On

Wax On's Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

Wax On’s Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

If the whole actress thing doesn’t work out for Demi Moore, maybe she can look into being a business consultant. An offhand comment made by the movie star in 1997 led Anne Uhlir to open Wax On Spa on 15th Ave E.

Uhlir was working at a salon and was sent to Moore’s hotel room to perform a Brazilian. Moore said there was nowhere in Seattle that offered the service and a business was born.

The idea bounced around in Uhlir’s head for a while before she opened the spa (yes, it took its name from “The Karate Kid”) in 1999. Those early years were lean, Uhlir said. At the time, there wasn’t much personal grooming of that particular variety going on.

“I had to educate them about what a Brazilian was,” Uhlir said.

Initially, she was giving the waxing away, so people could understand it. “It took me thousands of free services,” she said.

She’s also used a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign featuring beavers, the occasional pussy cat, and, during the 2000s the president’s name.

“The Bush years were a heyday,” Uhlir said.

It took about three years — with a possible assist from the adult film industry making the style more fashionable — before she really had the client base she needed to know the business was going to be able to sustain itself. Continue reading