Behind the Tully’s Capitol Hill closure: the lawsuit, the taxes, the what’s next rumors

No, the property hasn’t (yet) been sold to a developer but, yes, the financial issues surrounding the closure of the Tully’s coffee after 20 years at 19th and Aloha go much deeper than a lost lease.

CHS broke the news on the coming closure for the popular neighborhood hangout in mid-November. We documented more than $300,000 owed in taxes to the state of Washington and decisions including a $102,000 judgment for unpaid rent on the company’s Western Ave offices. It turns out, the company owes much more. By the end of the month, the Tully’s across the street from St. Joe’s and a few blocks from the Holy Names Academy was closed for good. Along the way, Global Baristas, the company that took over the struggling chain, never responded to our requests for more information on the closure and chair Michael Avenatti blocked us on Twitter. Continue reading

For the first time in 20 years, a back-to-school Monday without Tully’s at 19th and Aloha

For the first time in 20 years, the kids from Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy don’t have anywhere to hang out the first Monday morning of back to school after the Thanksgiving break.

Messages from longtime customers and staff were one of the few things left on the walls Sunday night as the process to pack up and move out the Tully’s Coffee at 19th and Aloha began. Continue reading

More tough times for Tully’s: 19th/Aloha cafe to close

As can be the usual around Capitol Hill, smaller local changes around big coffee can be the harbinger of things to come.

People familiar with the situation say the longtime Tully’s cafe at 19th and Aloha is set to close later this month. According to court documents, the struggling Seattle-based coffee chain has larger problems.

CHS has found a series of judgments against Global Baristas, the holding company that took over the struggling chain in 2013. They include more than $300,000 owed in taxes to the state of Washington and decisions including a $102,000 judgment for unpaid rent on the company’s Western Ave offices earlier this month. Continue reading

With possible boost from the ‘Big Blue Wall,’ Country Doctor digs in on new Capitol Hill facility

The “Big Blue Wall” formed across the West Coast on Election Night should help Country Doctor build its new expanded home on 19th Ave E.

The nonprofit provider of low-income health care announced the start of construction this month on their new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

In November 2017, Country Doctor Community Health Centers (CDCHC) initiated construction on a new dental clinic at their site on 512 – 19th Ave E. CDCHC finalized plans to demolish its worn out administrative building and replace it with a new dental clinic, clearing the way for CDCHC’s long held dream of providing dental care for their patients. Accessing dental care for CDCHC’s clients is often difficult, even if they have Medicaid. The new facility will change thousands of lives by making dental services available on a sliding scale to people who currently have no access to dental care. The demand for affordable dental services is so great other Seattle health centers are forced to limit dental appointments, leaving CDCHC patients without any dental access.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services. Gridlock in Olympia has been an issue. But Shelley Lawson, grants manager with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, tells CHS that Tuesday night’s strong showing by West Coast Democrats including Manka Dhingra in the “pivotal” 45th District State Senate race should help.

“Now that the WA legislature is controlled by Democrats (after last night’s elections),” Lawson writes, “we hope they will finally approve the capital budget which includes funding for the dental clinic.”

“In this political climate funding is fluid,” she said. “We have many community partners who are helping us overcome several obstacles to make this dental clinic a reality.”

The clinic also announced is has hired a new executive director. Raleigh Watts replaces Linda McVeigh who retired in September 2017 — “the first leadership change at the community based health center in 41 years.” Raleigh joins Country Doctor after most recently working as a public health management consultant with clients including UNICEF, WHO, the CDC, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CDCHC said it expects the building to be ready and dental services to begin in early 2019.

Rocket Taco to set down on Capitol Hill in old Kingfish Cafe space

There is yet another new chapter coming for a legendary Capitol Hill restaurant space.

CHS has learned that Rocket Taco, a family restaurant with Capitol Hill roots first launched on Whidbey Island earlier this year, will touch down on 19th Ave E in the old Kingfish Cafe location with plans to open in 2018.

“We already feel like we’re part of that strip since we live a few blocks away,” Jill Rosen tells CHS. “We’re really excited to be among friends.”

While Rocket Taco is a family-run venture first fired up in the sleepy island town of Freeland, Whidbey Island where the couple also keep a home, the family restaurant’s launchpad is stronger than most. Steve Rosen is an industry veteran who helped create Blue C Sushi and build Madison Holdings, the company behind concepts including Boom Noodle. His current ventures include Elemental Pizza, a two location wood-fired pizza concept. But Rocket Taco is Jill’s baby. And she has had tacos on her mind for awhile.

“I think our first conversations about tacos were about eight years ago in San Diego,” she said of the restaurant’s genesis and a lack of good Mexican food options in her home city. “Why not in Seattle?” Continue reading

Crunch time for effort to expand Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area

Community leaders seeking to expand a Business Improvement Area to advance clean streets, public safety, and business growth across Capitol Hill are looking for a special person to drive creation of the possible $1.6 million program. The candidate needs to be detail oriented and tenacious, able to connect with small business owners and landlords in every nook and cranny of the Hill, and able to track down every single loose end. Sorry, I already have a job.

“People are busy,” says Jeff Peletier, architect at 15th Ave E’s Board and Vellum and spokesperson for the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the efforts to create an expansive Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area. “This economy is insane.”

In these boom times, the job listing for a new campaign manager to wrangle the expansion process is a good sign for those behind the proposed expansion. CHS reported on the February launch of the Hill chamber’s campaign to expand the existing Broadway BIA to encompass Broadway, Pike/Pine, Melrose, as well as 15th and 19th Avenues. The new manager will help drive the day to day to prepare petitions for the City Council as the campaign shifts into an all-out effort to gather signups from 60% of property owners within the proposed boundaries of the expansion. That includes “owners of business property, multi-family residential property, and mixed-use property.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Your Voice, Your Choice Results — Four District 3 Projects

From SDOT

We’ve counted each vote and checked it twice! And, now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the announcement of vote results for Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets!

DISTRICT 3  

  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at I-5 Exit on to Olive Way (Cost: $75,000, Total Votes: 240)
  • Central District: Traffic Calming on 17th Ave S between E Yesler Way & S Jackson St (Cost: $15,000, Total Votes: 200)
  • Judkins Park: Improved Connections to Judkins Park from S. Dearborn St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 173)
  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at 19th Ave E & E Denny Way (Cost: $83,000, Total Votes:  171) 

As a bonus, while Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reviewed ideas submitted by Your Voice, Your Choice participants, it ran the projects through its program priorities and was able to fund additional traffic calming and pedestrian improvement projects in underserved neighborhoods throughout the City. SDOT will work with communities to announce, design, and implement these projects in the upcoming year.

To provide some context to the results above, with $2 million to spend on park and street improvements, we allotted a maximum of $285,000 per City Council District. After the top projects in each district were selected by voters, there was $233,019 remaining in the budget. These dollars were used to fund one additional project in the three districts with the highest voter participation (Districts 1, 2, and 5).

You will also note that the number of funded projects varies per district. This is because the fund allotment is based strictly on overall cost and not the number of projects. The funding for these projects will be included as part of the Mayor’s 2018 Proposed Budget, and the work will begin in 2018.

This is the second year we have asked residents to weigh in on how to spend a portion of the City’s budget. Last year the focus was on youth, and this year anyone over the age of 11 could participate.  We are blown away by the response with 7,737 community members voting for projects in their neighborhoods! We are so grateful to everyone who participated:

  • The community members who kicked things off in February by submitting 900 ideas for projects.
  • The community members who participated on the Project Development Teams.
  • The Vote Champions who mobilized their communities.
  • The educators in Seattle Public Schools who made sure students’ voices were heard.
  • Our Community Liaisons who were out in force with translated ballots in Arabic, Chinese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • The amazing City staff at libraries and community centers who facilitated in-person voting.
  • And, of course, you the voters!

19th and Madison’s Mount Zion to be considered for Seattle landmark protections

With more than 125 years of history in Seattle, one of the largest black churches in Seattle will soon find out if its 1962-built home qualifies for landmark protection. The Mount Zion buildings at 19th and Madison will be considered by the Landmarks Preservation Board in September:

Landmarks Preservation Board to consider nomination of Mount Zion Baptist Church for landmark status

SEATTLE (August 4, 2017) – Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the Mount Zion Baptist Church (1634 19th Avenue) located in Central Area on Wednesday, September 6 at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue, Floor L2) in the Boards & Commissions Room L2-80.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments regarding the nomination. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following mailing address by 3:00 p.m. onSeptember 5:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

You can also submit comments via email.

According to our Re:Take history of the church, Mount Zion was founded in the 1890s, and for its first decade rented a few different spaces downtown. Church members date Mount Zion to 1890 when “a small group of African Americans held prayer services in their homes.” The church eventually bought its own property and moved to 11th and Union joining another African American — First African Methodist Episcopal (First A.M.E.) at 14th and Pine. 24 years later, Mount Zion moved to its present day home.

As development on East Madison has risen around it, Mount Zion has also been making longterm plans for redevelopment. The church has also recently sold off nearby property. In 2015, CHS was there as Mount Zion celebrated its 125th anniversary.

The full nomination document is below. Continue reading

CHS Pics | March showers bring Capitol Hill rain gardens

It has been an abnormally rainy start to spring for Seattle with rainfall more than double your typical wet and dreary Pacific Northwest March. You can learn how to put that extra rainfall to work for flowers and plants at a Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair coming up in April at Madison Valley’s City People’s:

Meet-a-RainWise Contractor Fair

We found this “RainWise” garden in motion along 19th Ave E. The joint city and county program helps take some of the burden off its taxed sewer system by providing rebates that cover “most or all” of the cost of installing cisterns and rain gardens. “To receive a rebate, you must live in an eligible combined sewer overflow basin,” reads the fine print. You can learn more here.

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People's)

New owners have got the garden store looking good again (Image: City People’s)

Meanwhile, we reported here on the interim rebirth of City People’s following delays of the mixed-use grocery and apartments project being planned to replace the garden store. Meet the new owners Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales:

Longtime employees Alison and Jose are the new owners of City People’s Garden Store. Jose has been working at the Garden Store since 1998 as the Annuals Buyer, and Alison started in 2003 becoming a Manager and the Tree & Shrub Buyer. The two worked closely with former owners Steve Magley and Dianne Casper to move the business forward.

Chamber ramps up campaign for expanded Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area

A campaign to create a $1.6 million program to address clean streets, public safety, and business growth across Capitol Hill’s commercial districts will begin a new phase this week with the first in a series of planned open house sessions to gather support for an expanded Capitol Hill Business Improvement Area and a new, larger charter for the organization behind the campaign, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Open House – Capitol Hill BIA Expansion

In February, when chamber director Sierra Hansen officially announced the campaign to form a new Business Improvement Area, she said the organization had received commitments from about half of the 60% of 650 commercial property owners needed to move the proposal forward to the City Council for approval.

As the petitions have been circulating, Hansen said much of the past month has been spent following up with those committed owners, gathering official signatures and scheduling meetings with other stakeholders.

“Our list of supporters is strong,” she said, noting it includes Capitol Hill real estate developer Hunters Capital, faith-based organizations, Capitol Hill Housing, and residents.

Hansen declined to say what gains in the percentage of needed signatures the chamber has been able to secure in the early days of the campaign.

Not everyone is buying into it. Morris Groberman, who along with an investment partnership owns Harvard Market, says the current, smaller BIA focused only on Broadway already doesn’t do enough to clean up the neighborhood and keep crimes down — and he says his taxes are high enough already.

“I can only pass so much on to the residents before it hits my bottom line,” he said. Continue reading