Here’s why there are no Pride banners on Broadway

The 2018 Dyke March will bring plenty of rainbows to Broadway

Nobody seemed to notice when the snowflakes didn’t go up around Christmas. But a few readers have asked CHS to check in on a symbol of Pride missing from the Broadway streetscape again this year. There are no Pride banners on the street’s utility poles.

A representative for the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce tells CHS that the nonprofit’s banner program had to be discontinued last year “due to increased costs associated with installation.” Continue reading

Chamber pulls back on plan to expand ‘Business Improvement Area’ and property assessments across Hill

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is pulling back on a years-long plan to expand a Business Improvement Area (BIA) property assessment that would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for providing street clean-up and merchant support across the neighborhood.

In the announcement from the chamber’s executive committee, the group said it is “re-assessing how the BIA is organized at a larger level based on the changing political situation right now in Seattle.”

“[I]t is apparent that while the intent of the proposed BIA is for a stronger and better Capitol Hill, a shifting political reality in Seattle has made communities less trustful of how money is being spent,” the chamber announcement reads. “Seattle and Capitol Hill are very different places from when this proposal was crafted.” Continue reading

Coalition of small Capitol Hill property owners wants to halt chamber’s ‘Business Improvement Area’ expansion

Center of the opposition: This isn’t the first time Groberman has stood up against a BIA. In creating the existing Broadway BIA, planners “gerrymandered” his Harvard Market shopping center out of the assessment zone

Seattle’s “tax revolt” spring of 2018 includes a skirmish along Broadway, Pike, and Pine. Instead of a battle over “No Tax on Jobs,”  this fight pits the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce vs. a coalition of the neighborhood’s few remaining smaller and family commercial property owners and its relatively few co-op and condominium property residents. Together, the group could prove a major barrier for the chamber.

“We have huge traction to fight the proposed Business Improvement Area,” prolific Capitol Hill real estate investor Morris Groberman tells CHS.

Groberman, who owns or is partner in a collection of Capitol Hill properties including the Harvard Market shopping center at Broadway and Pike, is at the head of an effort to organize opposition to the chamber’s proposed expansion of a Business Improvement Area across most of Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Chamber to hold roundtable with Council members on business tax proposal

The debate over the proposed Seattle business tax has turned into a fight. Next week, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is bringing neighborhood business representatives for a “roundtable discussion” with City Council members on the proposed tax:

Capitol Hill Chamber Roundtable Discussion with Council members re: Tax on Business

“It is important that small business SPEAK UP as Councilmembers finalize their proposal,” the Chamber implores.

The proposal from the council’s Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold aims to raise at least $75 million annually to address the twin crises of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable people, and the increasing number of people living unsheltered. It comes in two parts: an ordinance that enacts the tax, and a resolution that lays out the spending plan.

Congratulations on your Spirit of the Hill award, Tracy Taylor — now tell us about about Elliott Bay Book Company’s coming Sea-Tac store

Mayor Durkan congratulates 2018 Spirit of the Hill winner Tracy Taylor

Last week, “work” came up a lot as the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce recognized Elliott Bay Book Company’s general manger Tracy Taylor with its 2018 Spirit of the Hill award. Taylor will soon have even more work to do as she helps the Pioneer Square-born, 10th Ave resident bookstore expand with a new presence at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“This is an award that recognizes not only hard work and dedication but love and passion,” Jeffrey Pelletier, principal at 15th Ave architecture and design firm Board and Vellum and chair of the chamber’s board said at the organization’s State of the Hill event held last Wednesday night at Queer/Bar. Pelletier said the State of the Hill winner is usually “someone who works hard and cares and oftentimes does it without thanks.” He called Taylor a “tireless advocate” and “a voice for small business.”

“I look around this room and I see how much work everyone in this neighborhood does to make sure that our neighborhood is a wonderful place to live, to work, to run a business,” Taylor said upon receiving the award in the seventh year it has been handed out.

Taylor tells CHS that the new Elliott Bay venture at Sea-Tac is a partnership with the Hudson Book Group to operate an EBBC satellite for travelers at the busy airport. Continue reading

Who deserves this year’s ‘Spirit’ honors? Chamber making plans for 2018 State of the Hill

Last year, the chamber recognized two women developers reshaping Capitol Hill, had a different director, and the guest of honor was Mayor Ed Murray. It’s been a long year. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its 2018 State of the Hill event and Spirit of the Hill award ceremony. You can lend a hand.

The chamber’s Mel Burchett tells CHS the nonprofit’s board is gathering possible nominations for the award designed to honor “an individual or organization that has shown an outstanding commitment to the Capitol Hill community.” The Spirit Award “represents the best of Capitol Hill through community service, excellence, and passion for this neighborhood.”

Continue reading

Capitol Hill Chamber puts out ‘call to action’ against Seattle homelessness tax

Restless Rest

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is joining its downtown cousin the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in a “call to action” against a proposed revival of a Seattle business “head tax” to help pay for homelessness services in the city.

“They are expected to raise about $25 million a year for this proposal and put it towards homeless programs that only take us backwards,” the announcement from the Capitol Hill pro-business nonprofit reads. Continue reading

From Melrose to 19th, Capitol Hill Chamber launches campaign to create $1.6 million Business Improvement Area

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is ready to start its campaign to build a $1.6 million a year program to help fill empty store fronts, attract visitors, expand street cleaning, improve public safety, advocate for affordable housing and improved service from City Hall, and make local attractions like Cal Anderson Park more inviting. Now the nonprofit just needs 390, or 60%, of some 650 commercial property owners to sign on to its plan to expand the neighborhood’s Business Improvement Area across Broadway, 12th Ave, 15th Ave E, 19th Ave E, Melrose, Olive/Denny, and Pike/Pine. If it can hit that threshold, all commercial properties in the BIA will be required to pay into the program.

“It’s gonna be a lot of groundwork,” director Sierra Hansen told CHS about the expansion campaign. Starting with Wednesday night’s announcement of the campaign’s launch, the chamber this week is delivering petitions to the 650 property owners within the proposed new BIA boundary. “I’m a very stubborn person,” Hansen said.

She is also already half way there. Continue reading

A call for more — and more community-aware — cops following Capitol Hill shooting

Seattle Police want people on Capitol Hill concerned about Sunday’s shooting at 13th and Olive to know that the department’s investigation of gun violence can be methodical but that the issues are known, the crime problems are being addressed, and detectives are working to make sure there is eventual justice.

SPD spokesperson Sergeant Sean Whitcomb said the department’s detectives are “actively tracking this investigation” and that gang units are “aware of recent incidents in the city” including a recent string of shootings across Capitol Hill and the Central District. According to the latest SPD statistical report on city crime for November, gunfire incidents continue to plague East Precinct and South Precinct despite a continued drop in overall crime across the city.

seastat_2016nov9_shots Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing’s annual forum: 5 projects to ‘gearshift’ the Hill

Imagine the CHS comments section come to life. You know… a deep, well-informed conversation about the most important issues and opportunities facing Capitol Hill and the people of Central Seattle. With fewer trolls and people complaining about my tiptoes typos.

Capitol Hill Housing’s annual community forum is Thursday night, the location is Hill-convenient at E Pike’s Summit Event Space, the tickets are free and still available. The theme? Gearshift:

When people talk about “shifting gears” they often mean abruptly changing direction or the topic of conversation. This idiom is confusing. On a bicycle, shifting gears has little to do with changing direction. Rather, shifting gears on a bike is about maintaining an optimal effort for maximum efficiency. It’s about making on-the-fly adjustments to keep moving over uneven terrain without getting exhausted. Shifting gears is more appropriately a metaphor for resilience.

Some important and smart people will be there:

On May 26th, five professional urban planners and passionate community organizers will introduce these ambitious projects in a rapid-fire series of Pecha Kucha-style presentations followed by an opportunity for each guest to participate in a facilitated discussion about one of the five projects. Presenters include Sierra Hansen of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, Scott Bonjukian of Lid I-5, Alex Brennan from Capitol Hill Housing, Zachary Pullin of the Capitol Hill Community Council and Tonya Lockyer of Velocity Dance Center.  Civic leaders (City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien are confirmed) will be there to listen and respond to your comments.

This year’s forum will be a little different with multiple presentations on a set of hot topics undoubtedly culled from recent CHS archives:

The evening will feature five projects with the potential to increase the resilience of the neighborhood. The five projects:

The annual forum — CHH says this is the 9th edition — has been out in front on a variety of important initiatives and issues around the area while foreshadowing big projects to come from the city and the nonprofit developer. In 2015, the forum discussed gentrification and development in the Central District. In the year since, we’ve followed as massive projects have taken shape, more are coming, and the challenges of change have taken new forms in the community that CHH is slated to become an important new part of.

Capitol Hill Housing’s work around Capitol Hill, meanwhile, continues as the nonprofit developer of affordable housing enters its 40th year. It has been selected to be part of the Capitol Hill Station development to operate an 86-unit affordable apartment building at the site. As part of its mission to build “vibrant, engaged communities,” the 40-year-old community development corporation has frequently found itself outside the traditional role of housing developer. Through the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, CHH organized the pedestrian zone pilot project and will launch a transit pass program for tenants, and a shared parking pilot.

Gearshift: Capitol Hill Housing’s Community Forum 2016 is Thursday, May 26 starting at 5:00 PM at The Summit, 420 E Pike. Free tickets are available here.