Taste of the Caribbean ready to share the flavors of Jamaica at 12th and Jefferson

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Friday at 12th and Jefferson will be like a day at the beach in Jamaica. Taste of the Caribbean will host its monthly fish fry – another step in the changes at the former home of Waid’s and, the restaurant’s owners hope, another moment to further connect with the surrounding neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of building fences, credibility — and really being infused in the community so this can be good for us,” co-owner Carlene Comrie tells CHS. She and Dwayne Blake have operated a restaurant in the shadow of Waid’s since 2013 but with the troubled night spot closing in June and plans to revive a nightclub there apparently ended, the entrepreneurs are now making 1212 E Jefferson theirs with plans to “take over the establishment” as a full-fledged, true-to-Jamaica restaurant.

“We see a lot of folks offering jerk and Jamaican but it’s not really authentic,” Comrie says. “The spice level is traditional, You’ll taste the pimento. You’ll taste the habanero.”

Ready to put the Waid’s chapter behind them and get back to their goal of creating a successful restaurant business, Comrie and Blake are investing in the space with plans to expand hours and offerings. Coming soon will be a liquor license with Caribbean rums and Jamaican beer. The partners want Taste of the Caribbean to have a life of its own.

“Music will be part of the offering,” Comrie said. “There has to be a balance that is struck so that we can do business and offer our customers a taste of the culture.”

Friday’s monthly fish fry is part of what she hopes helps Taste connect with the community.

“In Jamaica, it’s a big thing,” Comrie said. “We go to the beaches and have a nice fish fry.” You can stop by from 11 AM to 9 PM to be part of it. Comrie said they’ll keep the fry events to once per month to help you keep your beach bod.

Taste of the Caribbean is currently open 11 AM to 9 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 4 PM to 9 PM on Sundays. Keep track of changes and learn more on the Taste Facebook page.

Stuff the Bus to help new Westside Baby/St. Joseph’s Baby Corner team help families

(Image: WestSide Baby)

(Image: WestSide Baby)

St. Joseph’s Baby Corner on 18th near Cherry and WestSide Baby merged into one organization in an effort to help Seattle families make ends meet. Sunday, there’s an opportunity to help the new team.

“We have kept the heart of serving local children in need and are excited to bring our expertise and watch it blossom and thrive in Capitol Hill,” WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland said. “We actually modeled ourselves after St. Joseph’s Baby Corner and are excited to come in and increase services.”

The two organizations collect second hand items for babies and children that providers such as social workers or other agencies distribute to families in need.
Continue reading

Tenants petition mayor to stop sale of Central District affordable apartment building

Squire Park Plaza at 18th and Jackson (Image: Central Area Action Committee For Affordable Living)

Squire Park Plaza at 18th and Jackson (Image: Central Area Action Committee For Affordable Living)

Tenants fearing they could one day be forced from their affordable Central District units are fighting to stop the sale of their building to a private company. On Wednesday tenants of the Squire Park Plaza Apartments gathered outside their 18th and Jackson building to call on Mayor Ed Murray to intervene.

Using a mix of tax credits and federal loans, Squire Park Plaza was built seven years ago as a workforce housing project through an agreement between the city and current nonprofit owner, Central Area Development Association. The city has recommended that CADA sell the building in a competitive bid.

“If Squire Park Plaza were sold to a for-profit developer, there is no question that many of our families would be displaced,” said a statement from the group. “Gentrification and displacement have a long and accelerated history in the Central Area and across Seattle.”

While a new private owner would initially have to keep half of the units open to those making under 80% of the area median income, tenants say that over time, the number of below market units would drop. They want the city and CADA to look for a nonprofit buyer to assure the building’s low-to-mid income residents can continue to live there.

The residents have organized under the Central Area Action Committee for Affordable Living: Squire Park Plaza Tenants. The group began a change.org petition in June to submit 400 signatures to the mayor to ask his administration to not sell the building. As of Thursday morning, the group was around 55 signatures short of its goal.

CHS recently wrote about soaring rents throughout the central Seattle area.

Washington’s first marijuana stores open with lines, short supply

Marchers at this year's Cannabis Freedom March across Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Marchers at this year’s Cannabis Freedom March across Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Anybody planning a road trip to be one of the first people in Washington state to purchase legal marijuana better hustle. The lines are already formed.

With 24 official state retail licenses issued — including one in Seattle — Tuesday marks the planned first day of sales at the few shops around the state ready for business and stocked with inventory:

Barring some 11th-hour business catastrophe, 10 pounds of marijuana will line these shelves Tuesday, a quantity Lathrop expects will sell out that day at $15 to $20 per gram. But until he officially receives his retail license from the state Monday, it’s only glass paraphernalia and small label plates that read “Fine Jewelry,” remnants from when the cases lived in a Sears department store.

4th Ave S’s Cannabis City and its 10 pounds of first-day-of-business pot joins 23 other stores in the first wave of Washington retailers.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 7.56.13 AMMeanwhile, the owner of Mello Times, the only retailer within walking distance of Capitol Hill to make it through the state’s license lottery with a permit opportunity secured, told CHS his 24th and Union concern won’t be operating until later this summer at the earliest as he prepares the business for the long haul. Despite a pot-friendly, dense population, the various intertwining local and state rules around retail marijuana have conspired to keep Capitol Hill proper a legal pot shop-free zone. The black market will continue to thrive, of course, and the gray market, so far, is also making a game go of it. Capitol Hill’s thousand of apartment dwellers, unless the have a forward thinking building manager, might find it difficult to overcome the renter’s pot paradox. One solution to avoid the smoke — edibles. You can buy and possess 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused products like brownies and candy. Use it wisely.

Marijuana legalization in Washington began rolling with the passage of I-502 in 2012 legalizing the purchase and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Advocates are now moving forward to protect medical marijuana in the state and to introduce legalized homegrown pot. Meanwhile, other states are watching Washington and the only other state in the union that has so far approved the sale of retail pot — Colorado.

If you do go shopping this week, expect some disappointment here and there as shops work out issues with supply — and demand.

With fundraising victory, Cappy’s Boxing Gym not going down without a fight

 Ravel Scheiner eyes her rival during a training session at Cappy’s Boxing Gym. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

Ravel Scheiner eyes her rival during a training session at Cappy’s Boxing Gym. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

After nearly 15 years of supporting Central Seattle’s boxing community, Cappy’s Boxing Gym asked for some online help in return. This summer, they go it.

After facing some recent financial setbacks, owner Cappy Kotz said his 22nd and E Union gym had joined a long line of businesses which have found the raised rents and changing social dynamics of Capitol Hill and the Central District difficult to weather.

So, in order to expand the business and prepare for the future, Cappy’s Boxing Gym began an Indiegogo fundraising project on June 1. The campaign asked for $15,000 to help “continue to produce Olympic caliber athletes and transform lives,” with much of the money going towards marketing. Last week, donors answered the call, raising just over $15,000 well before the July 1st deadline. Coach Ann Bailey said she was overwhelmed with the response.

“We kind of knew something special was happening,” Bailey said. “We were really moved by what people had to say about our gym.” Continue reading

You’ll have to wait for Central Seattle’s only approved pot shop


This Central District house stands at the address registered by Mello Times in its successful application to be one of the first legal marijuana stores in Seattle (Image: CHS)

If you want to be among the first to legally purchase recreational marijuana in Seattle, don’t go looking for it in the Central District (and definitely don’t go looking on Capitol Hill). Seattle’s first crop of marijuana shops are slated to open on July 8th, but the only licensed shop in central Seattle won’t be one of them.

John Branch told CHS his 24th and Union shop Mello Times may not open until August. Branch said he’s still building the business after finding out in May he would receive one of the city’s 21 retail marijuana licenses.

“People were assuming they would win (the lottery). I didn’t assume I would win,” he said. Continue reading

Embattled Waid’s closes doors but 12th and Jefferson nightclub’s days may not be over

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

Waid Sainvil said he has shuttered his Waid’s Haitian Restaurant and Lounge for good Sunday night after a few weeks of fighting to keep his popular nightspot open after its liquor license was yanked by the state.

Sainvil announced the closure Sunday and had one last night of partying at the 12th and Jefferson club before closing his joint for good.

Early this month, CHS reported on Sainvil’s vow to keep his troubled club open despite the state’s decision to strip Waid’s of its liquor license following years of alleged transgressions of liquor rules and SPD drug busts. According to a liquor board representative, Waid’s faced five enforcement violations and one licensing issue. In 2012, a series of drug busts were orchestrated by SPD at Waid’s. An account of the violations as documented by the City of Seattle is included on this CHS post

Sainvil told CHS it was racism and the push of gentrification driving authorities to target his lounge after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson club. “It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

Despite Sainvil’s end of gutting it out as an all-ages club, the building’s days as a nightclub may not be over. An establishment calling itself the Agora Lounge has applied for a liquor license for the address. Event producer Richard Heart de Lion declined to comment on the application at this time.

25th and Union parklet nears $10,000 fundraising goal

A sketch of the 25th and Union parklet's possible design

A sketch of the 25th and Union parklet’s possible design

The effort to raise $10,000 from the community to help create a parklet at 25th and Union is in its final stretch — and within reach of its goal.

In May, CHS wrote about the efforts to create two separate parklets within a few block on E Union. With the Chuck’s project pulled off the drawing board, the community seems to have rallied support for a street park proposal at 25th and Union adjacent the Cortona Cafe. As of Thursday, the giving total was less than $1,000 from its 10 grand goal.

You can give here if you’d like to help put it over the top before the June 30th deadline — Crowdrise: 25TH & UNION PARKLET

Backers of the project added this CHS Community Post to explain how parklets work and provide a few details on the 25th and Union proposal.

Group wants community priorities to shape future 23rd/Union development


Amanda Bryan of Central Area LURC (Photo: CHS)

While the languishing Post Office and large parking lots remain, a Central District community group is seeking to bind a set of community priorities to future development of the MidTown Center at 23rd and Union.

Some 70 people gathered Tuesday night at 18th and Columbia’s Centerstone to discuss their desires for the 106,000 square foot property at a meeting organized by the Central Area Land Use Review Committee. 

“Central Area LURC is not trying to stop development,” said the group’s chair Amanda Bryan. “We want to make sure it’s engaging with our community.”

To do that, the group wants the City Council to attach community influenced development stipulations to the site before the current family owners sell it off. Next month the City Council will consider whether or not the property can be up-zoned from four to six stories. If the up-zone is granted, the council can also require what’s known as a Property Use Development Agreement. PUDA’s can include a broad range of requirements for a future developer, including community aspirations for the site, Bryan said.

Longtime property owner Tom Bangasser told CHS he’s already begun talking with interested developers. Continue reading

Design board looks at Central District projects including ‘a missing tooth’ development

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 9.41.27 PMThe plan for a long-empty triangle the developer calls a “missing tooth” between Capitol Hill, the Central District and Madison Valley will take its first pass in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. It joins an affordable housing project that will replace a lot most recently used as a Jackson St. Nickelsville camp in an all-Central District edition of design reviews this week.

Madison Apartments
The empty wedge at 23rd and Madison will someday be home to a four-story, 53-unit apartment building above 1,700 square-feet of commercial space and parking for 11 vehicles. But for now there are only weeds and a chain-link fence alongside four-star neighbor, Crush.

Bought by Charles Waterman of Hamilton Urban Partners for nearly $2 million in 2007 from those savvy real estate investors at the City of Seattle, the land is planned to be home to the new Neiman Taber-designed apartment building. The developer calls the land “Capitol Hill” — Continue reading

‘Family dinners among friends’ grow into Food at Cortona pop-up in the Central District

(Images: Food at Cortona)

(Images: Food at Cortona)

Given the amount of posturing, PR, and promotion that goes into the launch of typical new food and drink ventures in Seattle, it’s refreshing to see there are still opportunities for a simpler approach.

Food at Cortona is beginning its life as a two-day per week “pop-up” inside a Central District cafe. It seems like a prime opportunity for Central Seattle diners to say “I went there before it was cool.” Continue reading

Man arrested in 29/King double homicide cleared — Police still searching for second suspect

Police are still searching for who killed Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said.

KING reports that detective have ruled out Matalepuna Malu as a suspect after reviewing surveillance video that shows the 26-year-old in an area casino at the time of the June 1st murders that left the two young men shot to death in the street at 29th Ave S and King.

The Seattle Times reports Malu remains in custody on a federal probation violation charge. The paper also says the other man police have been searching for in connection with the case remains a suspect. 30-year-old Ali Muhammed Brown’s fingerprints were found on Said’s car which was driven away from the murder scene following the shootings, the Times reports.

From SPD:suspect (2)

Ali Muhammed Brown is a black male, 5’9, 190 pounds, with brown eyes. Brown is 30-years-old and believed to be a transient, who has previously frequented the South King County area.

If you see Brown or know where police can find him, please call 911 or the SPD Homicide Tip Line at (206) 233-5000 immediately, and use extreme caution as detectives believe he is armed and dangerous.

City officials and Seattle Police representatives were on hand for a vigil to remember the victims and call for justice earlier this month in the wake of the murders. Police have not ruled out a possible hate crime motive in the slayings of the two young, gay men who had been out partying on Capitol Hill the night of their deaths.