Sorting out the drama — and the comedy, cult and action — at On 15th Video

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

In the week since we learned about the closure of On 15th Videothe last video store on Capitol Hill — CHS still hasn’t learned what led to closing down the more than 25-year-old business but we have learned more about the man who owned the store, his family’s video business history, and, maybe most importantly, the people in the community who loved stopping by to visit a good, old-fashioned video store.

“It’s really been a valued community asset,” Capitol Hill Housing property manager Billie Abers tells CHS. “I’ve reached out to Lyle.”

“It was shorter notice than we normally like.”

Lyle is On 15th’s owner Lyle Holmes. CHS has attempted to contact Holmes about the closure but have not heard back from him so far.

Customers of the shop have also been left in the lurch with rented movies still in their possession and, for some, questions about just-paid membership fees. But, for most, the writing was on the wall.

“Video stores that you walk into really aren’t the best business any more,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Abers tactfully put it. Others might wonder why Holmes didn’t close the store sooner.

Others, meanwhile, are getting together to mourn the loss and visit with the store’s mostly blindsided staff. Here’s an invite passed along to CHS:

Fans of “On 15th Video” have reserved the back room at the Liberty Tavern this Saturday, September 20, from 4:30 to 7:30 to celebrate the community the store created and thank the staff.  If you’re one of the many people who will miss “On 15th Video”, stop in to say hello, say thank you, say goodbye, or just talk about movies.

UPDATE: We’ve heard from one employee who says the Saturday gathering was news to him. Sorry! We should have included information from the organizer who told us he had been able to reach one employee but was reaching out through CHS in hopes of reaching more. You should go. Somebody will buy you a beer! UPDATE x2  9/20/2014 10:53 AM: We just got a message that Saturday’s gathering is canceled.

tumblr_naxfvlOVzE1s7gjzzo1_500According to people familiar with the situation, Holmes acquired On 15th Video from his mother. The family had owned the store since the ’90s and also owned other shops in Seattle. In 1998, their company Director’s Ltd. attempted to purchase Scarecrow Video but the store’s founders tried to scuttle the deal after learning about Holmes’s background. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A sidewalk festival on 15th Ave E




IMG_1139While there was sad news for one of the street’s long time businesses, Sunday was a time for celebration of the independent-focused shops, restaurants, bars, and neighbors of 15th Ave E.

The first ever 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival brought housemade tonic from Smith and groovy tunes from Trickbag Record Party onto the street in front of Smith. Up the street, the Wandering Goose was ready with cheddar and scallion biscuits. Coastal Kitchen partied with its “fries with eyes” – fried smelt from the Oregon coast. And the nerds from Ada’s had a Tesla coil. Add a few musicians up and down the street and you had an extra special Sunday afternoon stroll on 15th Ave E.

More pictures below. Continue reading

The last video rental shop on Capitol Hill has closed

Employees Chris Hirinig and Will Corr help out customers in 2010 (Image: Clara Ganey for The Spectator with permission to CHS)

Employees Chris Hirinig and Will Corr help out customers in 2010 (Image: Clara Ganey for The Spectator with permission to CHS)

Fire Station 7 has been home to a lot of movies -- and a lot of history (Image: Seattlest)

Fire Station 7 has been home to a lot of movies — and a lot of history (Image: Seattlest)

It’s difficult to believe it lasted this long — and that there’s not a bar or restaurant entrepreneur or three chomping at the bit to turn an old Capitol Hill firehouse into their next food+drink venture.

On an afternoon of celebration for its neighborhood at the 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival, On 15th Video announced it had closed down its more than two decade-old movie rental business:

Dearest Customers,

It is with great sadness that we share with you that our ownership has made the extremely difficult decision to close our beloved video store, effective immediately.

Speaking on behalf of the employees, some who have worked at On 15th Video for more than 14 years, we want to say how very sorry we are that we can’t continue to provide quality home video for this wonderful community here on Capitol Hill.

Continue reading

Reminder: First ever 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival

The Smith kids (Image: Smith)

The Smith kids (Image: Smith)

We told you earlier about the merchants and restaurant, bar, and bakery owners of 15th Ave E getting together to throw a sidewalk party. Sunday afternoon and evening from 2 to 6 PM, you can be there for the first ever 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival.

Lilli from Smith will be there…

Thanks so much for publishing the info about the 15th Ave Sidewalk Fest that I sent! We here at Smith are really excited for Sunday and I thought I’f give you a taste of what we have planned.

From 2-6pm in front of Smith we will be handing out samples of our amazing house-made tonic (hint of lemongrass anyone?), Tshirts, buttons and free hugs!

We also will be welcoming Trickbag Record Party. Trickbag Record Party is a collective-really more of a party- of vinyl lovers spinning 45s on vintage Califone record players.

There will be dancin’ in the streets….or should I say sidewalks?

Smith will be offering brunch until 3, Happy Hour from 4-6 and full menu starting at 4pm during the event.

If you are in the neighborhood please stop by and say Hi!

Thanks again for all the great neighborhood news!


Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.50.28 PMMeanwhile, at Cal Anderson starting at 6:30 PM

The World is Fun is excited to bring Bubble Fütbol to Seattle as part of our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration Weekend and we want you to be part of the fun!
The World is Fun is excited to bring Bubble Fütbol to Seattle as part of our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration Weekend and we want you to be part of the fun!


Merchants old and new holding first ever 15th Ave E sidewalk festival

The merchants of 15th Ave E have declared the start of Capitol Hill’s fall festival season. If you’re ready to celebrate “all that makes 15th Avenue East so special,” you’ll be excited for the party being planned by the 15th Avenue East Merchants Association for this Sunday: 

15th Avenue East Sidewalk Fest Sunday September 7, 2-6 pm

We here at the 15th Avenue East Merchants Association are thrilled to announce our first ever event! The 15th Avenue East Sidewalk Fest will take place on what hopes to be a lovely fall afternoon on the commercial stretch of 15th Ave East from E. John St. to E. Mercer St.

As the name implies, this festival will all take place on the sidewalks in front of the shops and restaurants of our cozy corner of Capitol Hill.

There will be live music, modern dance, DJs, poetry readings, lots of free stuff, hair, health and beauty demos, tastings, and many of the participating merchants will be offering raffles for goods and services! We look forward to seeing our community come out and celebrate all that makes 15th Avenue East so special!

CHS last reported on the merchant group’s works in 2013 as restaurant and shop owners on the street got together to better represent the area in dealings with City Hall and in marketing efforts like Sunday’s street fair. Headed by longtime business owners in the area like Ross Kling of Rainbow Natural Remedies and Jeremy Hardy of Coastal Kitchen, the group takes a low key approach similar to the sometimes laid back style of 15th Ave. There are no Twitter accounts or Facebook pages.

There is the continued success and growth on 15th, however. New additions like Ada’s book shop and co-working space, and the newly overhauled Canterbury have been part of continuing the injection of new life in the street while longtime favorites like Hopvine, LibertyRed Balloon and Remedy Teas continue to do their things. More projects like Sur 16′s overhaul of the old Bagel Deli and the new Nuflours cafe are coming. As is more development. The merchant association members can hope events like Sunday can help maintain the unified spirit of the street.

Capitol Hill apartment boom getting new ripples as 15th Ave E development moves foward

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

The Salal sign went up in 2010 as the Group Health Credit Union got a new brand (Image: Prima Seadiva via Flickr)

There are more signs that developers expect Capitol Hill’s building boom to continue and demand for apartments to remain steady if not continue soaring. CHS has learned details of a project moving forward to create a new four-story, 60-unit apartment building on 15th Ave E.

According to filings with the city, developer John Links of The Metropolitan Companies is moving forward on a plan to redevelop the lot currently home to Salal Credit Union in the 100 block of 15th Ave E across from Group Health. The planned building will stand four stories, be planned for 60 units and could have two levels of underground parking.

Continue reading

Big changes for Capitol Hill campus as Group Health babies making First Hill move

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Nearly 2,000 residents landed just off 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill in 2013 — and none of them work at Amazon… yet. Part of the news in an announcement last week that Group Health was ending its affiliation with Virginia Mason and planning to partner up with Swedish is the end of an era at the Group Health Capitol Hill campus. Sometime in spring 2015, the last momma will give birth at Group Health’s 15th at Thomas campus.

Starting in 2016, Group Health patients will go to Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals where they will be treated by Group Health. As part of the planned change, maternity services will transition to Swedish’s busy First Hill Birth Center.

Group Health officials say “patients’ access to services, including voluntary termination of pregnancy, ‘death with dignity’ services and access for gays and lesbians, will not be compromised by Swedish’s connection to Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health-care system,” the Seattle Times reports.

A Group Health spokesperson told CHS the Capitol Hill maternity facility welcomed more than 1,700 babies to the world in 2013 with a complimentary first breath of Capitol Hill air. Let’s hope a future dominated by First Hill babies is a good one.

Nuflours turns to the crowd to finance Capitol Hill cafe

The Nuflours crew (Image: Nuflours)

The Nuflours crew (Image: Nuflours)

In the wake of the successful SIFF campaign to reopen the Egyptian Theatre in what may have been the biggest crowd-sourced financing drive ever for a Capitol Hill project, 15th Ave E’s Nuflours gluten free bakery is also turning to the crowd for a much smaller loan.

We’re seeking community support in a form of loans which will be paid back based on revenue from our business. Your loan, in the form of a Square will supply the financial support needed for the construction and equipment for opening the retail portion of our store. Here is a link to more information about Community Sourced Capital and how you can help. Our campaign page is

The community loan process is done in $50 chunks — you put up $50 to help Nuflours finance its buildout and you get back $50 from the bakery’s revenue sometime over the next 18 to 36 months, according to the site’s documentation. Continue reading

The small unit: Review board looks at 15th/Howell microhousing project

1420 E Howell's future

1420 E Howell’s future

The future of 1420 E Howell

G’bye fourplex

The next two Capitol Hill apartment projects slated to come in front of the East Design Review Board starting Wednesday night share common frameworks: nimble projects squeezing as many highly coveted, small units as possible onto land where old single family homes or underutilized fourplexes stand today. They also share a common reaction from some neighbors in the area: complaints –

Will there be any restrictions on car ownership by residents of these buildings? Will they be eligible for zone 4 permits?
Even if there was parking provided for these units, the very high density would be a stress on the neighborhood parking just because of their guests parking on the street. While we have parking for our car, our friends do like like to come to visit us in Capitol Hill specifically because it is difficult for them to park.
Continue reading

Capitol Hill developer sues homeowner for stalling 15th and Mercer project

The future Stream 15th

The future Stream 15th

A Capitol Hill developer has sued a homeowner for breaking a property lease agreement and stalling construction of a new 15th and Mercer mixed-use project, according to court documents obtained by CHS.

Stream Real Estate, developers of the Stream 15 project at the former Chutney’s Grille on the Hill site, filed a lawsuit in June against Chris Rugh, claiming the landowner prevented construction crews from rightfully accessing his property adjacent to the project site and bringing to a halt the construction of the four-story, mixed-use apartment building with 33 units, 3,400 square feet of retail or restaurant space and underground parking spaces.


Though it’s a battle over a laurel hedge and a temporary utility pole, the situation is causing a rare pause in the somewhat relentless pace of development around Capitol Hill.

Continue reading