Seattle University RAMPs up Central District with small biz project

Central District businesses can look to Seattle University for help thanks to a program funded by a $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. Many CD businesses owned by minorities, women and immigrants face worries over lost space, high rents, changing markets and construction, according to a press release. Seattle U’s Resource Amplification & Management Program (RAMP), aims to keep businesses in the neighborhood and help them grow.

“The objective is to work with the business owners to create a customized strategic game plan with multiple elements, from marketing to raising capital and more for their long-term success and sustainability,” said the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center team executive director Sue Oliver.

Oliver and the IEC team are the grant recipients and have been working on a pilot funded by JPMorgan Chase during the past year.

During the three-year program, the RAMP team will use the grant dollars and school and community resources to more than 200 CD businesses by providing resources, training, coaching and connections.

Student interns and a team of business mentors will spend a year each working with neighborhood business owners to determine their needs and help connect them to resources, including existing civic and private services and Seattle U’s interns, researchers and mentors. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Ribbon cut at Central District’s new ‘Community Living Room’

It wasn’t a very pleasant day to show it off but residents, community leaders, and city officials made do Sunday with a ceremony inside the Central District’s Garfield Community Center to celebrate its new outdoor “living room.”

The Community Living Room was conceived as a gathering space for the neighborhood and features barbecues, benches, a large picnic table, game tables, a beautiful seating stone, and a large flexible space for events. When the doors are open to the Garfield Community Center gym and multipurpose room, the indoor and outdoor spaces will connect and provide a new welcoming space for the community.

Continue reading

Tai Chi for Seniors

This 10 week class will focused on better balance and improved coordination. Instructor Viola Brumbaugh will guide you through fundamentals and a short form to bring better health and vitality, improve structure and strength, reduce blood pressure and reduce stress. Each class will begin with a longevity joint lubrication qigong, followed by form practice and fundamentals. If you want to register by mail, print this form and send it in with your check, or you can also bring it with you to your first class.

More information and registration via PayPal at:


Street Treats adding ice cream sandwiches, sweets to busy scene around 23rd and Union


(Images: Street Treats)

(Images: Street Treats)

It’s been a big week for change around 23rd and Union. How about some more ice cream?

“We’re going to do what we do everywhere,” Seattle food truck entrepreneur Diane Skwiercz tells CHS about her new Central District headquarters for Street Treats, one of the grandmamas of Seattle’s on-the-move food and drink scene.

The business moved into its new kitchen over the holidays at 24th and Union in The Stencil building. Come spring, the Street Treats counter will open offering scoops, ice cream sandwiches, and the cookies and baked goods that Street Treats has been featuring around the city for years. With the space inside dedicated to Street Treats’s kitchen needs, the new E Union sweets provider will be walk-up only. You can drop by the nearby parklet in front of Cortona if you’re looking for a place to sit.

Skwiercz tells CHS the search for a permanent home for Street Treats included more affordable neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and the Central District and Capitol Hill, “no offense,” wasn’t even an option. Still Skwiercz will be part of a growing business community in her new neighborhood. Neighbor Union Coffee — yes, from the Molly Moon’s ice cream family — opened in September and Feed Co. Burgers joined the building with a late October debut, and the Ponder pot shop opened just down the hill in 2015. Add the Midtown Center development and new buildings coming across the street at 24th and Union and another on the northwest corner at 23rd and Union. Continue reading

Board and developers agree, Midtown Center project needs further review

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-58-13-pmIt’s not often that the backers behind a big time project in Seattle ask to be slowed by another review. But the project to redevelop Midtown Center and a city fully city block at 23rd and Union is complicated.

The East Design Review Board agreed Wednesday night that the project planned for 2301 E Union should, indeed, return for a second Early Design Guidance meeting.

Brad Reisinger with Lennar Multifamily Communities, one of the site developers along with Regency Centers, requested a second EDG because the project is complicated due to the block-sized site and the pending agreement with the Africatown nonprofit.

An agreement between developers to sell Africatown about 20% of the 2.4-acre property at 23rd and Union to give the nonprofit an ownership stake is still being finalized. Regency is currently under contract to purchase the block.

CHS looked at the history of the block, its importance in the Black community, and the long road to redevelopment for Midtown here. Capitol Hill Housing, meanwhile, is developing the Liberty Bank Building across the street from Midtown Center under a community agreement with partners including Africatown that will be fully affordable and  is hoped to become a template for inclusive development in Seattle.

Plans from Encore Architects for the Midtown Center project propose two seven-story buildings with 355 units in one and 120 in the other. In the larger building, 10% of the units and a to be determined portion of the units in the second would be affordable. Plans also include a large local grocery store, pharmacy, smaller retail spaces and 482 parking spaces. CHS looked at the design here earlier this week.

“The overall mass and scale seem kind of grotesque in my mind,” one neighbor on 24th Ave said. Many commenters raised similar concerns and the board referred to the proposed development as “massive.” Continue reading

Design review: Long paths for Midtown Center’s mixed-use grocery future, Hill dive bar-turned microhousing

Blueprint Howell

Blueprint Howell

Long-anticipated development is the shared theme Wednesday night as the East Design Review Board takes its first look at two projects neighbors have been expecting for years — one will replace the home of a classic Capitol Hill dive bar, the other could redefine the heart of the Central District.

600 E Howell
You know it best as the Redwood. After more than 10 years on E Howell, the much-loved, and long-doomed dive bar is set to be replaced by a seven-story, mixed-use building that will create 73 “Small Efficiency Dwelling Units,” and four studio apartments atop 1,500 square feet of commercial space. Continue reading

Mumps case confirmed at E Cherry’s Nova High School

front-mann-0913-1024x766Health officials have confirmed one mumps case at Nova High School in the Central District.

The Public Health Department of Seattle & King County announced last week that a student was diagnosed with the illness. No other cases have been confirmed in Seattle Public Schools.

According to a the joint announcement from Seattle Public Schools and King County Health, officials believe the case is linked to an ongoing mumps outbreak in the Auburn School District. Seattle Public Schools is monitoring the situation with health officials. Continue reading

CHS 2017 New Year’s Day pictures, what’s open, resolutions, etc. thread

Space Needle New Years Fireworks

Congratulations and welcome to 2017. Unlike this seagull, you have qualified for another year on the planet. It is best to start with coffee and brunch — no matter what time you finally got out of bed. On this post, you will find a few pictures from overnight, a few from the first day of 2017, a few 2017 resolutions, and some notes on what’s going on around Capitol Hill. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Get happy at the Central District Ice Cream Company

Yeah, yeah, we got it. 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center is about to be rebuilt by a massive grocery and retail developer. Of more immediate concern is a much smaller project a few blocks away on E Union.

The Central District Ice Cream Company opened to help wrap up the last few weeks of 2016 as slightly less disastrous. If their selection of one-of-a-kind flavors and ice cream sandwich combos can’t make you happy, we have bad news about the next four years for you.

CHS broke the news last month on the new ice cream shop from Nate’s Wings and Waffles and Happy Grillmore food truck creator Darren McGill. “I’ve been making ice cream for years,” McGill said. “A lot of people were coming into Nate’s and asking for dessert.” The shop also features candy by the scoop and sodas.

Go get happy. Have some ice cream.

The Central District Ice Cream Company is located at 2016 E Union and opened Tuesdays through Fridays, 4 PM to 9 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays, 11 AM to 7 PM. You can learn more on their Facebook page.

Shopping center developer in deal to buy 23/Union block with Africatown as partner — UPDATE

Echoing a framework for “inclusive development” forged across the street where Capitol Hill Housing’s affordable Liberty Bank Building is slated to rise, the developers behind a project planned to bring a seven-story, 400-plus-unit project to 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center say they are working on a deal with Central District community nonprofit Africatown that will give the organization an ownership stake in the project.

The planned deal “articulates a path forward and shared goals for inclusive redevelopment of the property” the companies say.

According to the announcement, California-based multifamily housing developer Lennar is working with Regency Centers to develop the 2.4-acre block and Regency is currently under contract with the property owners to purchase the site. Lennar and the “developer, owner and operator of “quality retail property leasing in shopping centers nationwide” have worked out a plan for Africatown to develop around a half-acre of the site, or around 20% of the land.

“For the past two months, Lennar Multifamily Communities, Regency Centers and the Africatown Community Land Trust (Africatown) have been exploring ways for private developers and the neighborhood to work together in the development of the Midtown Center at 23rd & Union in the Central District,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

No injuries reported as van, cars burn in 24/Spring fire

Thanks to a reader for this picture from the scene

Thanks to a reader for this picture from the scene

Three vehicles engulfed in flame in front of a residence at 24th and Spring drew a large Seattle Fire response Monday just after noon.

Seattle Fire was called to the area just before 12:30 PM to a report of vehicles on fire. Arriving units battled the blaze which burned hot enough to crack windows on the home but did not spread to the structure.

It took crews around 20 minutes to snuff the flames. No injuries were reported and searches of the vehicles including a van that neighbors said was being used to camp in fortunately turned up no victims.

The property where the fire occurred has been part of a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by longtime neighborhood activist Omari Tahir-Garrett against a large roster including the the family partnership behind the Midtown Center propertyKshama Sawant, and Seattle City Light after utilities were cut off. The property is home to his UMOJA P.E.A.C.E Center.

Sunday night, CHS reported on a community meeting this week to discuss plans for a seven-story development to fill the Midtown block including the 24th and Spring property. In September, CHS found campers from 24th and Spring lined up to sign agreements to move off the land and never return. Some of the homeless residents told CHS they had been paid $400 to leave the camp and sign the agreement.

Seattle Fire did not immediately dispatch the Seattle Fire Marshal to investigate Monday’s blaze. A Seattle City Light crew was called to the scene to secure the site following the fire. Red Cross was called to help provide assistance for an adult male victim of the fire.

UPDATE: A Seattle Fire spokesperson reports the cause is believed to have been “misuse of electrical equipment (hotplate) inside of a car.”