Doubling down in the Central District, developer plans another apartment project at 23rd and Union

In 2010, things seemed bleak at 23rd and Union as even the gas station temporarily shuttered (Image: CHS)

In 2010, things seemed bleak at 23rd and Union as even the gas station temporarily shuttered (Image: CHS)

The new project on the northwest corner will join this Lake Union Partners apartment project on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union

The new project on the northwest corner will join this Lake Union Partners apartment project on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union

Last spring, change dug in at 23rd and Union as work finally began on a long-planned, six-story apartment and retail project on the intersection’s southwest corner. Now, change at the corner is rising higher. A developer already busy in the Central District is doubling down on redeveloping the blocks around the intersection with a $4.1 million-plus purchase of land currently home to a gas station and Cappy’s Gym.

Permits detail Lake Union Partners plans to build a 160,000 square-foot,146-unit apartment building with underground parking for 120 vehicles on the site. Continue reading

CHS Pics | 29th and Yesler on the five year anniversary of the Officer Brenton murder

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CHS included one somber stop at 29th and Yesler on what was otherwise a fun and peaceful Halloween Friday night. Five years ago, Officer Timothy Brenton was gunned down in what investigators would call an assassination of the veteran officer as he sat in his patrol car with a trainee partner. CHS heard the East Precinct radio broadcasts that Halloween night 2009 as partner Britt Sweeney called for help. She had been grazed by a bullet and was in obvious, painful distress. Brenton died at the scene.

Friday night at Brenton’s 29th and Yesler memorial, CHS found flowers and a cup of coffee left for the fallen officer. Continue reading

Opponents shine light on Swedish Cherry Hill expansion

unnamed (35)A protest of the planned expansion of the Swedish Cherry Hill campus will lit up the facility again on Halloween night, CHS is told.

We were sent images and video of a recent “protest projection” to call attention the hospitals “major institution master plan” process slated to be wrapped up by next summer as Swedish prepares to add to its “1.2 million square-foot specialty center” to add capacity for an expected 30 to 50% increase in patients seeking services at the E Cherry facility.

The planned expansion has drawn opposition from many including neighbors in the area who are concerned about increasing the “height, bulk and scale” of the facility.

Garfield Theatre presents Anatomy of Gray

Garfield HS Theatre presents a Drama Club production of the play Anatomy of Gray, by Jim Leonard, directed by senior Emma Franklin.

When her father passes away, 15-year-old June Muldoon writes a letter to the powers that be asking for a healer to come to her town of Gray, Indiana. Her request is answered in the form of Galen P. Gray, a doctor unlike anyone the town has seen before. Doctor Gray seems to be healing anything and everything that ails the townspeople, until they start developing strange marks on their bodies that not even the doctor can find the cause of. While dealing with love, loss, and sickness, Anatomy of Gray tells the story of an unexpected arrival changing the town of Gray, and the life of June, forever.

Church sues to shut down marijuana shop at 23rd/Union, change way Seattle zones pot

Pastor Witherspoon assists Mt Zion's Reverend Samuel B. McKinney with the bullhorn at a rally against Uncle Ike's in October (Image: CHS)

Pastor Witherspoon assists Mt Zion’s Reverend Samuel B. McKinney with the bullhorn at a rally against Uncle Ike’s in October (Image: CHS)

Opening weekend at Uncle Ike's (Image: CHS)

Opening weekend at Uncle Ike’s (Image: CHS)

The Central District church that turned to prayer and protest when it suddenly found itself neighboring Seattle’s second I-502 marijuana retailer is taking its case to close Uncle Ike’s to an even higher power — King County Superior Court.

The Seattle Times reports that Mount Calvary Christian Center is suing to shut Uncle Ike’s down:

The suit alleges that Uncle Ike’s was allowed to open despite being about 250 feet from a teen recreation center. It says the city and state did not perform due diligence in allowing Uncle Ike’s to open.

The church and community center ask the court to revoke Uncle Ike’s license and direct the city of Seattle to set up measures that would require it to let communities weigh in before potential marijuana stores are approved.

The Times reports Mount Calvary’s Pastor Reggie Witherspoon told the paper that Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg needs to take the “community’s concerns” more seriously.

Ike’s, the WSLCB and the City of Seattle are all reportedly named in the lawsuit which has not yet been filed. Continue reading

Tougo Coffee owner ready to open charcuterie and wine spot Bannister next door at 18th and Union

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(Image: Bannister)

(Image: Bannister)

The Central District’s one-block commercial stretch along 18th Ave at E Union is one of the quaintest and most neighborhood-y around. Since 2007, Tougo Coffee has anchored the stretch as a neighborhood hangout. Now owner Brian Wells says he’s hoping to cultivate the same sense of community one door down at Bannister, his new charcuterie-wine venture.

Wells tells CHS he’ll hold a reservation-only soft open starting October 24th and a grand opening on November 1st. UPDATE: After a short delay, Bannister celebrates its grand opening Tuesday, November 4th.

On the menu, Wells said to expect fine cheese, cured meats, olives, made-in-house,  pickles, and a full wine bar.

The restaurant is named after Edward Mitchell Bannister, a 19th century artist Wells said he has long admired.

Wells started his coffee career in Boston in 1991. He moved to Seattle in 1996 and spent most of his time in the service industry. In 2010 CHS reported on financial and tax troubles at Tougo. The 18th Ave cafe closed temporarily while Wells fundraised to pay back business taxes in order to renew his license. Since, Wells shuttered his Westlake Ave location. Wells said these days everything is going swell at Tougo and he’s ready for the expanded business venture. Continue reading

Day of anti-police protests planned with marches on Capitol Hill’s East Precinct — UPDATE

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UPDATE 4:18 PM by Sumedha Majumdar: A group of about 30 protesters marched from Garfield with chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Being black is not a crime” before assembling in front of the East Precinct around 4 PM. “We the community will police the police,” one speaker said, addressing the crowd and the group of police officers assigned to the protest. Streets in the area were partially closed but the rally has been peaceful and there have been no arrests.

"We belong together. We wanna be the the best we can be for you but when you start breaching the law and breaking the law, we have to do something. We can't just turn a blind eye and I hate to tell you this but this is what I tell my kids. Just because you're Black doesn't give you the right to do something wrong and then jump up and say they did this because I'm Black. We need more people who understand what is going on in the Black community." -- East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, addressing the crowd

“We wanna be the the best we can be for you but when you start breaching the law and breaking the law, we have to do something. We can’t just turn a blind eye and I hate to tell you this but this is what I tell my kids. Just because you’re Black doesn’t give you the right to do something wrong and then jump up and say they did this because I’m Black. We need more people who understand what is going on in the Black community.” — East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, addressing the crowd

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Original report: The heartiest of activist souls will take to the drenched streets of Seattle’s Central District and Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon and into the evening as part of protests against “police brutality and harassment of youth of color in Seattle.” The Garfield High School Black Student Union’s March for Ferguson begins at the 23rd Ave school at 3:30 PM. Organizers tell CHS the plan is to march to SPD’s East Precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine. Meanwhile, the annual October 22nd anti-police rally and march will again gather at Seattle Central starting at 5 PM and also is planned to include a march on the East Precinct. Continue reading

Sam’s Moroccan Sandwich Shop opens at 23rd and Union

Sam (Images: CHS)

Sam (Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Sam’s Moroccan Sandwich Shop — opened up at 23rd Ave and Union a month ago — is named after Hisham Habchi. Hisham Habchi, of course, goes by Sam. The shop sells all kinds of sandwiches. The most popular seems to be the tuna sandwich which they call, in a simplified spelling of its Spanish inspiration, “Pocadio Tuna”.

“Morocco was a Spanish colony in the past and a lot of our dishes have a Spanish influence in them also,” the Moroccan Habchi tells CHS.

The shop is owned by Habchi and his business partner Mostafa Said. While Habchi is from Morocco and makes different kind of sandwiches from his homeland, his business partner Said hails from Eritrea and has lived in the States for over twenty years. Said said that war with Ethiopia made him flee to Sudan and from there he migrated to the United States.

On a Friday afternoon, you could hear holy music playing in the background as they quietly went about working in the kitchen. The friends met at a local mosque and decided to go into business together. Continue reading

City Council vote will pave way for new youth detention center at 12th and Alder

12th and Alder in a design rendering of "Concept A"

12th and Alder in a design rendering of “Concept A”

UPDATE: The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 Monday in favor of a land use bill that will give King County the ability to replace its crumbling Youth Detention Center at 12th and Alder.

Land use bills rarely evoke significant emotion or public attention, but Monday’s meeting drew a number of public commenters who opposed spending more money on a youth detention system that disproportionately detains African Americans.

Council member Kshama Sawant cast the lone “no” vote, saying the county should instead use a fraction of the estimated $200 million to repair the currently crumbling Youth Services Center and spend the rest on youth jobs programs. Council member Mike O’Brien said it was not up to the council to decide whether or not to continue investments in youth detention and that the old facility needed to be replaced.

Council members passed an amendment to the bill that would delay the implementation of the zoning changes until April 2015 so a racial impact study of building a new detention facility could be complete.

In 2012, 55% of voters approved a $210 million levy to build the new 144-bed facility. The existing center has 210 beds. Detention data shows the current center is typically less than half full.

The council bill would alter the zoning code to allow for construction of the new center, even though one already exists on the 9-acre site. The new facility, called the Children and Family Justice Center, will also include a courtroom and gymnasium:

The project includes building a new 136,992 square foot (sf) courthouse with 10 courtrooms, a new 98,031 sf juvenile detention facility with 154 dorms, and a new four-level parking structure with 440 spaces. The existing buildings will be demolished, leaving 2.8 acres of the county-owned property at 12th Avenue and Alder Street unused.

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Final designs unveiled for four-story Stencil at 24/Union, six-story Decibel at 11/Alder

You can someday walk across the street to Uncle Ike's from the planned Stencil building (Images: Johnston Architects)

You can someday walk across the street to Uncle Ike’s from the planned Stencil building (Images: Johnston Architects)

Two development projects in neighborhoods on the edges of Capitol Hill undergoing significant change will take what could be their final steps in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

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Look, a violin shop :)

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The second of two projects near 23rd and Union from developer Lake Union Partners had a pretty smooth go of its first East Design Board review earlier this year.

The four-story Stencil project is being planned as a 39-unit apartment building with 3,000 square feet of retail and two live/work units at ground level. The building will contain parking for 21 vehicles. In April, the board seemed amenable to the project’s few zoning departure requests and public comment was mostly about details like bulk, privacy and landscaping. Continue reading

Should state turn over I-502 pot zoning to the Seattle City Council?

Mount Calvary Christian Center prayed, rallied and waved signs Sunday at 23rd and Union (Image: CHS)

Mount Calvary Christian Center prayed, rallied and waved signs Sunday at 23rd and Union (Image: CHS)

Sumedha Majumdar — CHS Fall 2014 Intern contributed to this report.

As protest continues in the Central District over a retail marijuana shop opening next to a church, community members and city officials are asking for a review of how pot shops are located in Seattle. Is it already time for lawmakers to start making changes to the state’s young recreational marijuana law?

In August, CHS spoke with I-502 author Alison Holcomb about how the law was progressing. At the time, we discussed the possibility of giving local officials authority to approve the locations of I-502 stores, rather than the state liquor board. Couldn’t Seattle’s City Council approve the location of 21 retail marijuana shop locations under its own rules?

“Politically it’s a lot cleaner,” Holcomb said this summer. “That makes a lot of sense to me.” Continue reading

‘Shut it down’ — Rally, prayer against I-502 marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union

Pastor Reggie C. Witherspoon, Sr. asked the crowd for help continuing the protest in coming days (Images: CHS)

Pastor Reggie C. Witherspoon, Sr. asked the crowd for help continuing the protest in coming days (Images: CHS)

IMG_570223rd Ave’s Mount Calvary Christian Center and its Pastor Reggie Witherspoon lead a sea of support Sunday afternoon shutting down the street in front of its newly opened neighbor — I-502 marijuana store Uncle Ike’s.

“We gotta have a strategy,” Pastor Witherspoon shouted through a bullhorn to the assembled group of Sunday worshippers and protesters who gathered in the street on 23rd Ave just north of the intersection. “We’re going to be working with the legislature. We’re going to be doing all the legal things we have to do. A rally alone may not be the answer. They got to change this law.”

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