Save the Royvue! Residents rally to thwart sale of Capitol Hill building

A view worth the fight? A look across the Royvue courtyard (Image: Haley Blavka Photograph/Save the Royvue)

Seattle’s endorsement of rapidly adding thousands of efficiency sized housing units to the cityscape has some residents in Capitol Hill unconvinced that one size fits all. Tenant-led group Save the Royvue has escalated its effort to keep the 94-year-old building from succumbing to development plans that would significantly reduce apartment size. The growing assembly of advocates says the Royvue Apartments is fine the way it is and now seeks landmark protections to keep it that way.

Eugenia Woo with Historic Seattle is consulting with the group and shares their worry that “the city is losing its identity.”

“This city has always been known for its character and that distinguishes us. It’s ok to have good new designs but unfortunately most of what’s being built is not so great,” she said. Continue reading

Up against rent boom and affordability crunch, residents worry about plan to change 1924-built Royvue into microhousing

Residents of a classic 94-year-old Capitol Hill apartment building hope to organize against a plan to gut the structure and turn its 34 apartments — some as large as four or five room spaces — into more than 100 units of microhousing.

“Everyone in the building is obviously going to be kicked out,” one resident tells CHS of the project. “This place is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in the neighborhood and I can’t believe there aren’t any checks in place to preserve other ones like it.”

In an affordability crunch and a boom market for rents, Seattle is doing everything it can to create more homes and landlords on Capitol Hill have been particularly creative trading away parking and laundry rooms (and sometimes retail space) for more places to live. Continue reading

Save the Chandelierium? City targets covered patio at Harry’s Fine Foods

Two years ago, chef and owner Julian Hagood turned the old corner store at Bellevue and Mercer into the “bistro-esque” Harry’s Fine Foods. But his transformation of the patio behind the restaurant into “The Chandelierium” hasn’t gone over as well with city planners. Hagood told customers Wednesday he’ll have to tear down the Harry’s addition.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Department of Construction and Inspections of Seattle has determined that our beloved patio enclosure known as ‘the chandelierium’ is to be torn down by Monday the 26th of February,” Hagood writes. “We rapidly built this beautiful little patio covering to allow our guests to enjoy our patio year round however the city has determined it violates building and energy codes.” Continue reading

With the push of a button, nuanced Ghost Note Coffee opens on Capitol Hill

Christos Andrews’ quest to do “every little small thing we can to make it better” when it comes to a cup of coffee was celebrated in a grand opening on Bellevue Ave with a Tuesday of demonstrations and a showcase of its fancy pants coffee machine.

Ghost Note Coffee, named for a silent beat with rhythmic value “but no discernible pitch,” is about nuances and raising the bar with custom mugs from a local ceramics maker, collared shirts and uniformed employees, no tipping, fresh herb and citrus garnishes, and “an emphasis on housemade elements borrowed from craft bartending.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | First look: Harry’s Fine Foods reborn at Bellevue and Mercer

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Hagood (Images: CHS)

A new life for an old bodega has begun at one of Capitol Hill’s quintessential corners, Bellevue and Mercer.

Harry’s Fine Foods, sharing the name of the corner market that stood there for years, opened over the weekend in a full rebuild of the old store. Plenty of the past remains.

Inside the new Harry’s — owner Julian Hagood calls the new project “bistro-esque” and “comfortable in the daytime but also sexy at night” — you’ll still find the old Harry’s cooler. The plan from Hagood and Alexa Dallas is for Harry’s Fine Foods to provide the neighborhood with a daytime cafe combined with a cornershop eventually stocking those day-to-day essentials like cigarettes and toilet paper.

The menu will be driven by what’s fresh. “We make up everything,” Hagood said. “It’s casual, produce-driven. We’re not reinventing anything. It’s delicious really well-made food.” What’s that mean? Great fries, for one. Hagood has built Harry’s on the back of his booming Lucullan Repast catering business along with a crowdsourced final boost. The catering venture will also now put the new kitchen at Harry’s to work.

The new project joins Cafe Barjot and the Lookout adding food and drink options to this particular elevation of I-5 Shores. Continue reading

As Harry’s Fine Foods finishes with Capitol Hill crowdfunded boost, Galerie 23 seeks $325K

Harry's Fine Foods is opening... soon (Image: CHS)

Harry’s Fine Foods is opening… soon (Image: CHS)

How much does it cost to open a “gourmet restaurant” on Capitol Hill? $325,000. More, actually. But that’s the total chef Rob Sevcik is looking to raise in a crowdfunding campaign to open Galerie 23 on Capitol Hill:

What I need is a sum of $325,000 dollars to purchase a local restaurant that is for sale. I have searched and searched and this opportunity is perfect. It is the right size, has the correct equipment and is located perfectly. I know I will be able to accomplish some truly amazing things with this space if contributors can help me achieve the purchase.

Sevcik’s “founders” won’t walk away empty handed, of course, for their act of generosity. The Thierry Rautureau protege will present his donors with equivalent gift cards and dinner experiences in return for their cold hard cash.

We heard back from Sevcik about his project but, at this point, can’t say what existing restaurant he has his eyes on. Plenty are available. Sevcik was originally looking at a space on E Pine in new development but tells CHS the price was out of his league. He’ll have his work cut out for him raising enough via the campaign. After about two weeks, he has around $2,300 of his goal pledged by backers. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Wall’ mural remembers Orlando on Bellevue Ave E

A work in tribute to the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting has become part of the streetscape at Bellevue and Mercer.

Artist Mariah Widman pasted up pieces of her “Wall” mural Sunday night. It represents the holes knocked out by police as they responded to rescue survivors in the deadly Orlando shooting in which a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 more. The work represents the wall of Pulse as both a barrier that had to be breached and a symbol of resiliency, Widman said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | The Harry’s Fine Foods transformation

The intriguing Harry’s Fine Foods project — as CHS called it back in September 2015 — is rounding into shape for a summer opening inside a transformed convenience store at the corner of Bellevue and Mercer.

“A jewel box” is how the contractors refer to the project which is set to restore the old market’s exterior befitting the building’s history and fill it with finely crafted elements and recovered, restored finishings including the old store’s refrigerator case, fully gutted and recreated for a new life inside the new Harry’s.

“The extra time has allowed us to make some very styled decisions,” Julian Hagood quipped as he gave CHS a cup of coffee and a tour of the under-construction restaurant and the completed apartment the chef/owner calls home upstairs.

Or, really, up-ladder. Metis, the contracting company Hagood turned to after construction on the restaurant bogged down earlier the project, had just removed the 1910-built building’s old staircase approach to the upper level and given the chef a tall ladder in its place. If all stays on the new pace, Harry’s Fine Foods will be open by July or August.

When it does, the neighborhood around Bellevue and Mercer will have a new daytime hangout — to start with. Hagood and partner in crime Alexa Dallas plan to open with a breakfast, brunch, and lunch focus before dipping toes into the dinner and nighttime bar business. With menus honed by the duo’s booming catering business, Harry’s will feature cafe offerings with vegetarian influences and a light, nutritious approach. A patio is being built behind the old store abutting the old house next door and windows are being designed to be opened wide to transform the rebuilt store into an open, airy cafe. The old refrigerator will be put to work with meals to-go and prepared items like parfaits for neighbors to grab and go. There should also be beer and wine for sale.

The project is an ambitious one — even beyond the kitchen. A company run by real estate broker to Seattle’s food and drink stars, Laura Miller, purchased the property in the summer of 2014 for $560,000 according to county records. Miller said the building is the fourth that she’s developed in Seattle — but first on Capitol Hill. To transform it from a market to a restaurant, Miller and Hagood had to navigate the city’s change of use process and make sure the surrounding community supported the new life for the old building. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Life through the eyes of a driver, played out on board a Capitol Hill bus

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IMG_2293IMG_2418We may be excited about our new subway but Capitol Hill’s first love is the bus. Performer Stokley Towles has turned interviews with the city’s Metro drivers into a show so public transit oriented, you’ll watch it performed on a real live bus on the real live Capitol Hill.

Check out Behind the Wheel:

“Behind the Wheel: Life on the Metro Bus” will take place on-board a Metro bus parked at the Route #47 bus stop near 727 Bellevue Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102 on Capitol Hill.

Performance running time: 50-minutes. Ticket prices: General $15/Student $10. For ages 12 to adult (performance includes the word f#ck).

April 28, 29, 30. Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7:30pm
May 5, 6, 7. Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7:30pm
Purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

The performance debuted last week and CHS stopped by to check out the action as crowds climbed aboard to experience the one-person show that “attempts to see the world through the eyes of a King County Metro bus driver.” The performance was funded in part by 4Culture and Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture.

And, if you plan to attend, you can, of course, take the bus:

We recommend you take the bus to the performance. The #47 stops at the performance site. The #9 and #49 are walking distance from the performance site. The #8 is also walking distance and operates on Denny Way and stops at Bellevue Ave E.

Make note of your driver — Towles might eventually need more material.

Pedestrian hit by driver at Denny and Bellevue

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

A person crossing the street near Denny and Bellevue was struck by a driver and sent to the hospital after being thrown to the pavement Tuesday night.

First responders arrived at the corner on Denny’s steep climb just before 9:30 PM to find a female pedestrian down on the pavement after being struck at the busy intersection.

The female victim was first reported to have suffered serious injuries prompting a large emergency response but a SFD spokesperson said she was hurt less seriously than first thought, characterizing her injuries as “minor” — though the woman’s injuries were serious enough to require treatment at Harborview.

Seattle Police officers were at the scene to assist with traffic and investigate the crash. Denny was closed in both directions during the response. We’ve asked SPD for any details on the investigation and will update if we learn more about the incident.

UPDATE: CHS has confirmed that two people walking together were struck in the collision. We’re told both were injured in the crash but fortunately only one required a trip to the emergency room.