Design review: What could be Capitol Hill’s (and Seattle’s) first Passive House-certified mixed-use project

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-4-43-51-pmWednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board includes what could be the final session before construction can begin on the Liberty Bank Building, a project that many hope can be a model for inclusive development in the Central District. Another trailblazing project — this one at 13th and Pike — could also pass through its final review Wednesday night.

Design review: 1300 E Pike

The project hoped to become Seattle’s first Passive House-certified mixed-use project will come to the board with developers Maria Barrientos and Cascade Built teaming up with architects Weber Thompson to take another crack at approval after falling just short in September. Continue reading

What the Liberty Bank Building will look like

Black ownership, Black identity, Black residents — there is a lot hinging on the design plans for the six-story, mixed use Liberty Bank Building. The project, part of a wave of new development around 23rd and Union, takes what could be its final step in the design review process this week.

Last week, community members heard about the proposed design and progress on the project to fill the lot that used to be home to the Liberty Bank, the West Coast’s first black-owned bank.

Nonprofit developer Capitol Hill Housing is hoping the community support that has helped shaped the project thus far will be on display at Wednesday night’s design review session.

“We would be very grateful for that because your voice matters,” CHH’s Walter Zisette told community members last week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Design review: 2320 E Union St

The building is designed to have 115 studio, one-bedroom and two bedroom apartments and four commercial spaces. Apartments will be available at 30 to 60% of the area median income, ranging in price from $434 to $1,154. Continue reading

Central District elementary school testing program to help families stay in rapidly developing neighborhood

The City of Seattle, the Seattle Housing Authority, and Seattle Public Schools have partnered to launch a pilot program at 14th and Yesler’s Bailey Gatzert Elementary School that aims to help families at the school find housing. The program can hopefully grow to help students on the edge of homelessness and displacement across the city.

“All the stress is lifted off of them and teachers notice as well and that makes a big difference,” said Keith Ervin, family support worker at Bailey Gatzert, who helps families in crisis whether it’s getting them clothing, or now helping them find a place to live under the Home from School program.

When students are homeless and don’t know where they’re going to sleep or are worried about their parents who are out looking for shelter, Ervin said students aren’t able to focus on their work.

Ervin has been working with shelters in the area and assessing what the families there need to get them housed and keep the kids at Bailey Gatzert. So far, two families have found new housing in the school’s Central District area, and Ervin is working with others. Continue reading

Med Mix preparing for Central District return

An excited reader sent in this picture of the good news on Jackson

A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

Med Mix is finally ready to return to the Central District.

Owner Otmane Bezzaz confirmed with CHS Monday afternoon his new restaurant is under construction on S Jackson and says he is happy to be returning to the neighborhood after a 2013 arson fire destroyed his first Central District location at 23rd and Union.

“It’s been a three-year nightmare,” Bezzaz told CHS of the long, painful process of losing the 23rd and Union restaurant after just over a year of business at the corner. Continue reading

Chicken and waffle ice cream? The Central District Ice Cream Company says yes

Of course he’ll serve chicken and waffle ice cream. The food and drink entrepreneur behind Nate’s Wings and Waffles and the Happy Grillmore food truck is putting the finishing touches on his new candy and ice cream shop, The Central District Ice Cream Company on E Union near Hollow Earth Radio and 20/20 Cycle.

Darren McGill’s latest project has created a nice bit of buzz along the stretch also home to Katy’s Corner and Chuck’s. McGill said the buildout of the former pilates studio is nearly complete and he is hoping for an opening around Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Design board looks at First Hill Apartments, Central District Community House project

The First Hill Apartments project set to rise above Union

The First Hill Apartments project set to rise above Union

The East Design Review Board Wednesday night will take up one project set to create new First Hill neighbors for the city’s first pavement park. Meanwhile, an important social services organization is set to begin the design process to create an important new facility in the Central District — and with it, 52 affordable places to live for its clients.

First Hill Apartments — 1320 University
It’s hard to believe the project name First Hill Apartments wasn’t already snatched up. But there you go. Once this University St, just off Broadway development is complete, the name will be off the board.

The planned seven-story, 36-unit building with around 5,000 square feet of commercial space is envisioned as having a “transparent and porous” street-level retail component that features “an integrated design between the building, sidewalk, and park, blurring the public and private areas,” following the design board’s guidance in the sessions first go round in March. Continue reading

#pacifiquenorthwest — L’Oursin washes ashore at 14th and Jefferson

The flavors of the Salish Sea now reach the shores of E Jefferson.

L’Oursin, French for “The Urchin,” opens its doors to the masses — 50 at a time — on Tuesday.

“It feels really good. It’s been a long time coming,” co-owner and bar manager Zac Overman told CHS Sunday night at a party for the restaurant’s Kickstarter backers.

Co-owner chef JJ Proville and Overman hosted a couple of test runs with family and friends and one for their Kickstarter backers that raised $27,325 from 183 supporters. Continue reading

Developer completes 12th Ave affordable housing trifecta

Reverb apartments as seen from the rooftop of its sister building, Decibel.

Reverb apartments as seen from the rooftop of its sister building, Decibel.

In 2014, CHS wondered whether Capitol Hill’s affordable housing might not be built on Capitol Hill but in the neighborhoods to the south along 12th Ave. Today, a trio of Capitol Hill-adjacent affordable housing developments from Spectrum Development Solutions has been completed.

Reverb Apartments, the final of three developments in the 12th and Alder area of the Central District, threw an open house party on Thursday featuring music and a community event to show off the newly opened building.

“It’s been a long journey, and we’re really excited to be a part of the community and to play hopefully an important role in bringing workforce housing to this area. It’s much needed,” Spectrum’s Jake McKinstry told CHS.

Across the three buildings, 56 units qualify as affordable with the other projects priced as “workforce” housing designed to appeal to young, working professionals willing to sacrifice space and perks like parking in exchange for proximity to employment centers and public transit. Spectrum is focusing on “the missing middle” — teachers, nurses and other young professionals, who are trying to live near their jobs and don’t qualify for affordable housing, McKinstry said. Continue reading

CD’s 23rd Ave overhaul slated to end in early 2017, full project still has no timeline

(Image: SDOT via Flickr)

(Image: SDOT via Flickr)

The Central District’s long neighborhood nightmare is almost over. The 20-month project to overhaul a busy section of 23rd Ave is on track to finish in February 2017.

Final paving at 23rd and E Union is scheduled to be completed next weekend, weather permitting — though, it was already pushed back a week due to rain. Crews will also continue to work in the area through February to rebuild sidewalks, install electrical components, and complete finishing touches like landscaping and signage.

During that time northbound 23rd Ave will remained closed from E Union to E John. The full northbound detour, which sends traffic to MLK Way, will stay in effect through early 2017. Starting next week, crews are also scheduled to commence several weeks of road work at E Olive, which will include moving the 48 bus stop about 200 feet south on 23rd Ave.

After that, Central District-proper should be in the clear, but 23rd Ave as a whole still has a way to go before the upheaval is over and the full benefit of the major infrastructure investments are realized. Late next year, work will move to the avenue’s outer reaches for Phases 2 and 3 of the improvement project, which still do not have a definitive timeline. Continue reading

Jackson’s Catfish Corner returns to the Central District

Terrell Jackson (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Terrell Jackson (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Terrell Jackson was busy so we’ll leave it to a mother’s pride to describe what it feels like for her family’s business to come home.

“He brought it back with our name on it,” Evelyn Jackson told CHS Wednesday night inside the new home of Jackson’s Catfish Corner at 123 21st Ave S.

“He’s the man.” Continue reading

How the CD could be re-zoned to meet City Hall’s affordable housing goals

if you build it....

mha-cdWith even more competing interests than on Capitol Hill, the effort to forge a new pro-affordability zoning scheme for the Central District has resulted in quite a complex map.

Earlier, CHS looked at Capitol Hill’s portion of the 15% of Seattle slated to be re-zoned to allow for taller buildings as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

The Central District is poised for even more transformation.

Most of the affected zones throughout the city (Central District included) would get the standard “HALA bump” — a one story increase in allowable building height along with new “mandatory housing affordability” requirements for all new residential construction. As part of Seattle’s “Grand Bargain,” MHA will link the creation of affordable housing with market-rate development by requiring all new multifamily buildings to make 5-11% of their units affordable or require developers to pay into an affordable housing fund. Continue reading

First look: Feed Co. Burgers opens at 24th and Union


There might be a thousand or more new neighbors likely to join the surrounding blocks over the next five or so years, but there are already plenty of people around the Central District hungry for a burger.

Feed Co., a burger joint from the Quinn’s Pub family of food and drink ventures, opened this weekend inside new construction at 24th and Union.

The expansion from Scott and Heather Staples now puts a Feed Co. burger shop in the CD and Redmond, joining their other ground beef-grounded spot Uneeda Burger in Fremont.

CHS talked with the couple behind the Staples Restaurant Group this spring about their plans for the Central District. “You’ve got Uneeda which is kind of like burger tech,” Staples told CHS last May. “You take that kind of rural roadside and give it an urban twist,” he said of the feel at Feed Co. You’ll also find a heated patio and, before it becomes the next six-story development on the block, parking in the lot across the street. Continue reading