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 :)

2407 E Union
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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Pop-up baker making longterm Central District plans with Pocket Bakery

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Baker Grunig makes a sale, meets a neighbor (Images: CHS)

Baker Grunig makes a sale, meets a neighbor (Images: CHS)

The development digging in around 23rd and Union means a lot of change for this part of the Central District. It will also mean opportunities for creators like Josh Grunig.

The Bay Area transplant, father, and, now, entrepreneurial baker is keeping his place in the Central District warm with Saturday pop-ups full of the sourdough bread, pluot hand pies, parmesan sage scones, cinnamon rolls, tamale muffins, pistachio shortbread, birthday cake, and mallow flake cookies of the Pocket Bakery.

“There’s a huge amount of opportunity around Union,” Grunig says. “It’s really an opportunity for me to be in a real neighborhood.”

For now, you’ll find Pocket on Saturdays inside the new location of Magpie, the toy and clothes shop that moved off 18th and around the corner to 2002 E Union. This Saturday, Magpie celebrates its third anniversary and grand re-opening from 11 AM to 2 PM. And, yes, Pocket will be there. Continue reading

More pot coming to E Union?

From the real estate listing for the site: "NC2P-40 zoned 40x120 foot 4800 SF site in the heart of new development & Chic & Trendy mixed use buildings all around w/luxury apts & cute retail establishments. The adjoining property to the west to begin construction on a luxury apartment/retail building in December of 2014 (in just 6 months!) Development set to begin for the site across the street on the NW corner of 24th Ave/Union Street on the Keybank site. Construction already began on site 23rd/Union. Great development potential here!"

From the real estate listing for the site: “NC2P-40 zoned 40×120 foot 4800 SF site in the heart of new development & Chic & Trendy mixed use buildings all around w/luxury apts & cute retail establishments. The adjoining property to the west to begin construction on a luxury apartment/retail building in December of 2014 (in just 6 months!) Development set to begin for the site across the street on the NW corner of 24th Ave/Union Street on the Keybank site. Construction already began on site 23rd/Union. Great development potential here!”

Uncle Ike’s might soon have company. In the same week the 23rd and Union store became home to only the second retail marijuana shop operating in Seattle, CHS has learned that the I-502 lottery winner for a license to operate in the Central District has purchased a nearby property.

Mello Times owner John Branch has secured an E Union-facing storefront just down the Hill from Uncle Ike’s. According to King County records, Branch bought the 4,800 square-foot property in the 2400 block of E Union this week for $590,000. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Central District gets a parklet

IMG_8733Funded by the surrounding community, the 25th and Union parklet made its debut Sunday with a kid-powered ribbon cutting. The ceremony and gathering on the Ten Penny Studio-designed mini-park in front of Cortona Cafe was part of a busy weekend around the Central District including the first annual Central Area Block Party and a 100th anniversary celebration for 23rd and Yesler’s Douglass-Truth library.

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The new Central District public space joins a similar mini-park on E Olive Way that was the first parklet constructed in Seattle back in 2013. Planning remains in motion for a street park near 10th and Pike backed by the Comet and Lost Lake.

More images of the new parklet — organizers Amanda Bryan and Karen Estevenin wrote about it here — and all the Central District fun, below.

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

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Seattle’s second I-502 retailer, Uncle Ike’s opens Tuesday — UPDATE

IMG_8324IMG_8318UPDATE 9/30/2014: At noon around 20 people were waiting in line at 23rd and Union when a man poked his head outside Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop and yelled “we’re open!”

The line was not nearly as long and didn’t start nearly as early as when the first I-502 stores first opened in July, but it was a ceremonious afternoon nonetheless as Seattle’s second pot shop “officially” opened in the heart of the Central District.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, was vacationing in Seattle from Florida when a friend dared him to be the first in line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening. Elbrecht said he got in line at 9 PM Monday night with a backpack full of beer and a goose-shaped pillow.

“It’s just cool to walk into a shop and buy weed. You go to prison for that where I’m from and we’re in the same country,” he said.

Elbrecht said the experience was so good he’s going to make Seattle his new home. A construction worker by trade, Elbrecht said he doesn’t think he’ll have any problems finding a job in the area. “There are cranes everywhere around here,” he said.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35,

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, at the front of the line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening (Photo: CHS)

One man waiting online with his husband said he worked for the Department of Defense while his spouse worked for the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not appropriate for me to be here, but I don’t care,” he said. Both men asked to remain anonymous.

Prices at the store were high, but appeared to be in line with Washington’s other I-502 shops: $26 for a gram and $44 for a package of edibles. Sales seemed to go off without a hitch, aside from a few customers who were turned away for not having an ID.

Following a successful soft launch to test out the state’s I-502 computer system and work out any kinks in being only the second legal marijuana retailer in Seattle, Uncle Ike’s was ready for its “official” opening.

CHS broke the news last week on the two-building Central District mini cannabis campus moving forward with its business venture after state inspectors approved it as only the second I-502 retail license in Seattle.

Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg tells CHS that the shop will begin serving customers at noon Tuesday with plans to remain open until 7 PM — or until its $26/gram pot runs out. “We have flower and joints from Avitas and Monkey Grass Farms, a nice selection of edibles and RIF oil cartridges from Green Chief, and we expect to have JuJu Joints as well,” Ike’s posted in a Facebook update. Continue reading

Central District weekend: Central Area Block Party, Douglass-Truth turns 100, Hack the CD


unnamed (31)The Central District has a big party — and a lot of work — planned this weekend. Saturday brings the Central Area Block Party to 23rd and Cherry while the Douglass-Truth Library at 23rd and Yesler celebrates 100 years. Meanwhile, a group of entrepreneurial geeks are gathering at Garfield High School for the Central District Startup Weekend.

BLOCK PARTY
Starting at 10 AM Saturday, you’ll find bouncy houses, face painting, an art walk, a car show, a concert, and community performances going down at 23rd and Cherry:

On September 27th from 10 AM to 6 PM, the corner of 23rd and Cherry is going to be transformed into a block party that is open and free to everyone. You won’t want to miss out on a great time with your neighbors enjoying live music, food trucks, art activities and more.

Performers including Raz Simone, Draze, Porter Ray, and Camilla Recchio are scheduled to take the stage starting at 2:30 PM — and, yes, there will be food trucks: Continue reading

Ready to serve the Central District and Capitol Hill, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop set to open at 23rd and Union

10639712_790347977691561_1458183800514921383_n (1)Since early July, only one store has been able to tie together the permits, the building, and, most importantly, the product to sell legal retail marijuana to the people of Seattle. This week, the equation is about to change at 23rd and Union.

Land owner and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg tells CHS that Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop pot shop has received its temporary license and is planning an opening in the Central District sometime in the next week — if all goes to plan.

“I haven’t slept in a month,” Eisenberg said of the sudden rush of activity around the venture.

The license puts Eisenberg on pace to operate only the second retail marijuana operation in the city and puts him behind the counter of the shop closest to the densely-packed population of Capitol Hill.

UPDATE 9/25/2014: Looks like Saturday is a go:

UPDATE x2: The opening menu from producer Avitas:

* Black 84
* Cinex
* Lemon Kush
* Pineberry
* Snoop’s Dream

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