Those actually might be ‘condos’ after all: Conversions part of Capitol Hill condominium wave

The Atrium at 11th and Aloha wasn’t not developed as condos — but it wasn’t exactly planned that way, either (Images: CHS)

More condominiums than you think are coming to Capitol Hill. And it turns out one key element widely reported as a throttle on condo development may not be the safeguard against building conversion that it was thought to be.

The Neighborhood Collection — a marketing campaign for a set of three new Seattle buildings including two on Capitol Hill originally developed and designed as rental housing — says its new buildings provide “a highly engaging lifestyle” where “residents will enjoy an array of amenities for gathering, unwinding and turnkey living.” The projects are currently lining up prospective buyers for “the studio, urban one bedroom and one bedroom flats and lofts” offered “from the $400,000s to more than $800,000.”

But that wasn’t the original plan. Continue reading

With brakes momentarily tapped on 15th Ave E development, Hilltop Service Station rolls on under new owner

Closure of Capitol Hill’s Hilltop Service Station seemed inevitable this year after CHS first reported that after 48 years, the family-owned 15th Ave E property was officially promised to developer Cadence Capital for sale in July. Two months later, Hilltop is still a busy garage and there is a new but familiar owner.

“It’s the same great service that everybody is used to, just a little bit scaled down,” said Jim Peters, master mechanical technician who took over the service station this month.

Peters says even after 20 years at the station, people ask if he’s new to the garage. Usually the one under the hood, now he’s the only one left and doing it all himself with the occasional hand from the well known station crew who have gone on to seek their own fresh start when the sale was first announced. Continue reading

Mural covers design review color problems on Capitol Hill apartment building

Seattle’s design reviews can be a mystery but a compromise decision reached by the East Design Review Board in June might have produced one of the most unusual design solutions in the history of the process.

Work was recently completed on a big new mural on the west-facing wall of the surface parking lot neighboring E Madison’s Broadcast Apartments. Designed by artist Sarah Robbins, the retaining wall mural was a solution approved by the board earlier this summer in a dispute over the use of the wrong color siding during the construction of the six-story mixed-use apartment building. In the end, the board split with one member pushing for the replacement of the siding fins but the rest of the board deciding the mural would do the job.

Building developer Trent Mummery of Trent Development, Inc. tells CHS his project “wanted to work with a local group” to create the art and connected with Urban Artworks to find Robbins.

New Capitol Hill story ready to begin at Hugo House

A rendering of the soon to open new Hugo House

Construction of the new 9,600-square-foot Hugo House writing center at 11th and E Olive St. is fully imbued with the creative process — right down to the burning spirit that drives any author, poet, or journalist: a deadline.

“Construction always take longer than they think it will and there have been some unavoidable delays,” Hugo House executive director Tree Swenson tells CHS. “They say they’ll be ready.”

Like a publisher awaiting that final draft, Swenson is planning for Saturday, September 22nd — the planned official grand opening of the new Hugo House inside the six-story mixed-use apartment building that stands at the site the old Hugo House previously called home.

Opening Celebration: New Hugo House

“The celebration will be a chance for everybody to explore the whole space in a design that invites creativity,” Swenson said.

Designed by the architects at NBBJ, the new Hugo House is centered around a 150-seat auditorium but Swenson said the first thing any visitor will see from the 11th Ave entrance is the front salon with built-in writing nooks, seating areas, and a small stage. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Renters session hopes to explain ‘what exactly is design review?’

12th Ave Arts, the mixed-use affordable housing, commercial, theater, and nonprofit office space development from Capitol Hill Housing, completed its pass through design review in 2012.

Wednesday night, it will be the setting for the Capitol Hill Renters Initiative session designed to help Capitol Hill residents better understand the public process of shaping the design of its largest, most important new buildings. Seattle Design Explained: What Exactly is Design Review? takes place Wednesday night in the 12th Ave Arts Pike/Pine room:

Not sure why new buildings look the way they do? Wondering how design review affects renters? Want to find out about how to shape new design in our city for the better? Then come join us on September 12th for an explainer and discussion about design review! Christina Ghan from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections and Aaron Hursey from the Seattle Design Commission will be joining us to help explain 1) what Seattle’s design review process actually is; (2) how the recently-updated Capitol Hill Design Guidelines add on to citywide standards; and (3) how to get involved through the new Early Community Outreach process. There will be time for questions and lively discussion.

Seattle’s design review process continues to evolve. In July, CHS reported on new rules for the process designed to give communities an earlier say in shaping large developments. Meanwhile, the guidelines that shape Capitol Hill reviews underwent a revision this year for the first time in a decade.

Process begins to guide Kaiser Permanente’s $400M Capitol Hill campus renovation

Capitol Hill’s first hospital has come a long way since 1945, when an idealistic group of doctors founded the Group Health Cooperative based on the idea that healthcare should be provided affordably and at hospitals owned and staffed by physicians. They acquired St. Luke’s on 15th at John, and together the hospital and neighborhood grew together for more than seven decades. Group Health became one of the country’s largest consumer-directed healthcare organizations, but in 2015 2017 it was acquired by Kaiser Permanente, one of the biggest not-for-profit health plans in the United States.

As part of an effort to remodel its Capitol Hill campus by 2022, Kaiser announced a $400 million project last year to improve access to primary and specialty care and provide community spaces for public use. The process to shape that project has begun.

The remodeled campus won’t be any bigger than it is now, according to Kaiser Permanente’s Julie Popper, but it will provide better specialty and out-patient care so that members can get the treatment they need and get on with their day.

“We’re not building any higher. We’re not expanding any further. Patients want to get help and go home at the end of the day,” she said. “We really want to bring the building to the cutting edge in healthcare today.” Continue reading

Report looks at how best to deal with Seattle’s vacant buildings — including ideas for temporary housing

The notorious “Biohazard House” of Belmont Ave

Seattle’s relentless redevelopment also means loads of buildings sitting vacant as developers line up permits and financing windows open and close and open again.

Wednesday morning, the Seattle City Council will receive a report on proposals for better monitoring of Seattle’s vacant buildings including how the city might penalize landlords who let their properties turn into dangerous eyesores and, better yet, how it might strengthen early efforts to connect vacant properties to organizations that can help put them to use providing temporary but much needed housing. Continue reading

SPONSORED: Solis, the most intriguing new condo building to come to Capitol Hill in over a decade

The time has come for prospective owners to secure the kind of home on Capitol Hill most buyers could only dream about even a few months ago. The Solis condo building is ready to sign up new buyers.

“We are truly building this to be everything you think of for luxury. It just happens to be the greenest condo building in Seattle too,” Marc Coluccio of Seattle-based sustainable development firm SolTerra tells CHS.

CHS reported in August on the coming new project at 13th and Pike set to replace the old Fran’s Chocolate offices on the northeast corner with a Weber Thompson-designed six-story building on pace to be Seattle’s first ever Passive House condominium project.

This week the process begins for 45 new owners to make their claim on Capitol Hill. Solis developers are holding an Early Preview Event inside the old Fran’s building with live music, food, and, most importantly for anybody thinking about making the change from a renter to a Capitol Hill owner, more details on Solis including how to reserve a Condominium – the event is for registered guest only, for details sign up at LiveSolis.com.

Continue reading

Forum discusses connections between gentrification and violence on Capitol Hill

The “What’s Gentrification Got To Do With It?: Hate and Violence in Capitol Hill” forum covered “hate, violence, policing and gentrification occurring in Capitol Hill.”

At 12th Avenue Arts Thursday night, the Northwest Network Pink Shield Project hosted a panel discussion on hate violence, policing, and gentrification in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Much of the conversation revolved around the connection between these three topics, including how greater inequality in recent years in Seattle has created a situation that breeds hate violence, whether it be against people of color or the LGBTQIA+ population.

“You have wealth to a certain community increasing, inequality expanding, poverty worsening, homelessness skyrocketing,” Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a panelist, said. “At the same time, you will see correlated with that, increase in violence, crimes, car break-ins, and house break-ins.” Continue reading

A lesson for Capitol Hill? What’s being saved when it comes to Seattle’s Showbox

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With reporting from Seattle City Council Insight

Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the “Save the Showbox” ordinance into law this week, adding the site of the music venue to the Pike Place Market Historical District for the next ten months. Though the venue is downtown and off the Hill, the efforts at City Hall will certainly ripple through the neighborhood given the importance of Pike/Pine’s remaining live music scene and the continuing pressures of redevelopment in Central Seattle. The episode might also present a framework for what needs to happen — or needs to not happen — the next time an important Capitol Hill cultural venue requires rescue.

So, what is actually being “saved” when it comes to the Showbox? Continue reading