As hundreds picket, Swedish pushes forward on major First Hill, Cherry Hill growth


Wednesday’s “thousand-member picket” targeted Swedish First Hill (Image:

Calls for more nurses and the improved benefits to attract them echoed through Broadway Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of hospital workers, union organizers, and a handful of elected officials staged a picket outside Swedish Hospital’s First Hill campus.

The picket came one day after another round of negotiations ended without a contract deal between SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Swedish, one of the largest Central Area employers and owned allied with Providence Health Services.

Staffing levels at the hospital are among the major sticking points in negotiations. Swedish-Providence is seeking to hire some 1,600 nurses, positions the hospital says it’s been unable to fill with qualified workers due to a nationwide nursing shortage.

SEIU members say the hospital is unwilling to offer a wage and benefit package that would attract those nurses despite the fact the hospital banked $110 million last year. In the meantime, hospital workers say low staffing levels are hurting patients and creating untenable working conditions.

Speaking before the crowd, Mayor Ed Murray said he was concerned about the strained relationship between Swedish and its workers and called on the hospital to quickly resolve the dispute. June Altaras, Swedish’s chief executive of acute care, told CHS she hoped a new round of negotiations would start sometime this month. Council members Mike O’BrienBruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, and Jean Godden were also in attendance to support picketing workers. Continue reading

‘Timeless’ Hugo House and Piecora’s developments sail through first design review


Two high profile Capitol Hill development projects more or less glided through their first meeting before the East Design Review Board last Wednesday evening on their way to final reviews.

Equity Residential and architects at Ankrom Moisan showed off their plans to replace the old Piecora’s building with a 140 unit, six-story development that includes parking for 140 cars. The second project — a 90-unit, six story building across the street from Cal Anderson Park — will be replacing the Hugo House on 11th Ave and E Olive St. The project from developer Meriwether Partners and designed by Weinstein A+U has drawn the ire of at least one resident of a nearby condo.

The view from the street and inside, however, should be a welcome surprise to those who bemoan the prevalence of Hardie board siding and corrugated steel exteriors. Plans call for a full brick facade, and not just the pasted on variety. “A real brick building,”said architect Ed Weinstein, adding that it was the longtime property owners and Hugo House benefactors that insisted the building have a timeless look. Continue reading

SASG says goodbye to the Dunshee House, seeks new Capitol Hill home

Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center, a collection of groups that has evolved with community needs over the past three decades on Capitol Hill, is losing its longtime home at 17th and Thomas and has begun a capital campaign to secure a new one.

“We have been leasing this space for the last 26 years and it pains us to bid farewell after cultivating so much rich history between these walls,” the group’s announcement, below, reads. “However, with the rapid growth and new development in this area, a move was inevitable.”

SASG says it hopes to find a new home on the Hill — with a little help:

A very generous donor has pledged $300,000 towards the purchase of a new space for SASG and is issuing a challenge to the community to match this gift. Any donations, large or small, will be matched by this gift dollar for dollar up to $300,000.

You can learn more or donate at

The group will remain in the house through the end of the year — possibly into early 2016, according to the announcement. You might know the old house best for the organization’s annual Christmas tree lot. Organizers say they will be able to hold the sale in the same location this year in the Group Health parking lot behind the house.

Continue reading

‘One of the last remaining large developable sites’ in Seattle hits market at 23rd and Union

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

Developments planned and in motion around 23rd and Union (Images: Kidder Mathews)

You’ll have to call to find out an asking price, but 23rd and Union’s hallmark property is officially for sale. Last week, realtors for longtime MidTown Center owner Tom Bangasser released some slick marketing materials with sweeping aerial photos solely dedicated to selling the property.

“We have unprecedented interest around the world on this site,” said Jason Rosauer, partner at realtor Kidder Mathews. “I anticipate it will be a record setting price.”

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

(Image: Kidder Mathews)

The 106,000 square-foot MidTown property currently includes a downsized U.S. Post Office, a handful of small businesses, a liquor store, and Smash Putt (until July 31st, anyway). The materials call MidTown “one of the last remaining large developable sites” for sale in Seattle and make a big pitch for the block’s potential given its central location in the city:

For the first time in over 70 years, the MidTown Center property, one of the last remaining large developable sites in Seattle, WA, is on the market for sale. This offering includes more than two acres of flat land on a full city block in the center of Seattle.

Continue reading

Mayor’s affordability task force asks for more time to finish plan that will include widespread up-zones

(Image: Dominic Arenas via Flickr)

(Image: Dominic Arenas via Flickr)

Members of the mayoral task force charged with finding concrete solutions to Seattle’s affordable housing crisis are seeking a two-week extension to wrap up their final recommendations.

It’s the second delay the Housing Affordability and Livibiliity Committee has asked for ahead of releasing a plan that one committee member says will include a recommendation for allowing bigger buildings across the city.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill developer and committee member Maria Barrientos told CHS there were still a few ideological differences to work out to meet Mayor Ed Murray’s call for 20,000 income restricted units in the next decade.

Still, Barrientos said the committee has developed 10 to 12 key proposals as well as an additional 60+ recommendations. In the spirit of expanding affordability across the city, Barrientos said the group is proposing the city allow for higher buildings in all residential zones, including LR2 and LR3 — areas on Capitol Hill that have generated some of the most conflict over development as three-story apartment buildings are built alongside single-family homes.

“The biggest challenge is going to be the NIMBY attitudes in the neighborhoods,” Barrientos said. “People are going to have to get over that.” Continue reading

Six-story Hugo House, Piecora’s projects face first reviews

If in the year 2020 you a writer who can afford a market rate apartment on Capitol Hill, you'd be home by now (Images: Weinstein A+U)

If in the year 2020 you are a writer who can afford a market rate apartment on 11th Ave, you will be home by now (Images: Weinstein A+U)

Two developments with loads of opportunity and a lot of interest take their first turns in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. For one at 14th and Madison where Piecora’s used to stand, a national developer will mark the start of its first attempt to build a project on Capitol Hill from the ground up. For the other, literary nonprofit Hugo House is looking forward to gaining a new home as part of a planned six-story apartment building across from Cal Anderson Park.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 2.56.40 PM1634 11th Ave
Design Review Early Design Guidance application to allow a six-story structure containing 90 residential units and 12,300 sq.ft. of commercial space located at ground level. Parking for 100 vehicles to be provided below grade. Existing structures to be removed. View Design Proposal      

Review Meeting
June 24, 2015 8:00 pm
Seattle University

824 12th Ave
Admissions & Alumni Community Building
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance  

Project Number: 3020067  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice

Planner: Katy Haima

On summer days a few years from now, we’re betting this project’s western-facing apartments rising above Cal Anderson with inset decks will be some of the most desirable on Capitol Hill. And, once we have this whole affordability problem taken care of, maybe a writer or two will be able to afford “market rate housing” to live there. But first the 1634 11th Ave project from developer Meriwether Partners and designed by Weinstein A+U will need to get through design review. Continue reading

No Walmart, but developer plans to split Red Apple Market property at 23rd and Jackson

A vision of a pedestrianized 23rd and Jackson

A vision of a redeveloped, “pedestrian zone”-friendly 23rd and Jackson

Long-expected redevelopment plans around 23rd and Jackson appear to be getting underway as the area’s biggest landowner has applied to break up one of the corner’s two major properties.

Weingarten Realty is seeking to subdivide its Red Apple Market property into three parcels, though the existing supermarket building is slated to remain standing, according to city permit records. The subdivision will allow the property owner greater flexibility to secure retailers, a Weingarten spokesperson told CHS.

“We believe this subdivision will help us preserve and enhance long term value for the property as we continue to weigh the different options to eventually remodel or redevelop the property.” said Weingarten’s Carrie Murray.

Subdividing the plot comes as welcome news to groups like the Central Area Land Use Committee, which have been advocating for smaller-scale development around 23rd and Jackson. Continue reading

With last screening at the Harvard Exit, work on restaurant and office project set to begin

(Images: S+H Works)

(Images: S+H Works)

IMG_3056-1-600x900It turns out, the last movie to be publicly screened at Capitol Hill’s historic Harvard Exit theater had a fitting title.

A Sunday night, June 7th screening of All Things Must Pass, a documentary “chronicle of the rise and fall of the biggest success story in record store history,” ended SIFF 2015’s 24-day celebratory wake for the Exit and brought to a close — after a false ending or two — its 46 years as a working cinema.

Developer Scott Shapiro, who purchased the building in a deal that closed earlier this year for $2.35 million, tells CHS the way is now clear for work to begin to transform the old theater on E Roy at Broadway into a mixed commercial and office development. You won’t see any major construction right away — permits for the project are still being reviewed by the city.

The architect on the project is Capitol Hill-based S+H Works.

The Harvard Exit is part of the Harvard-Belmont Historic District and plans are for the 1925-built masonry exterior to remain intact. Earlier, Shapiro told CHS a restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while he envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices.

If renovation work gets started this summer, Shapiro expects tenants to move in by early 2016.

From Even the Walls (Image: Canh Nguyen)

From Even the Walls (Image: Canh Nguyen)

Meanwhile, another tale of Central Seattle development with a much different subject matter was honored at SIFF 2015. Even the Walls, a 27-minute examination of the lives being changed by the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace from directors Sarah Kuck and Saman Maydání, was presented with the Golden Space Needle Award for best short film. You can view a trailer and learn more about future screenings here.

CHS Pics | Chophouse Row grand opening

IMG_3192 LizDunn


Capitol Hill-focused developer Liz Dunn was all smiles Thursday night as her years-in-the-making Chophouse Row development celebrated its grand opening with music, previews of coming-soon food and drink offerings, and wandering crowds exploring the mix of modern construction and auto row-era preservation.

CHS wrote about the Chophouse roster of food, drink, and retail tenants here including farm-to-ice cream cone champion Kurt Timmermeister who has taken a 300-square-foot patch of space for his dairy-powered cream and cheese ventureKurt Farm Shop. The centerpiece Chop Shop Cafe is still a few weeks out from opening after last-minute permit delays. Meanwhile, the new project built out of — and above — the shell of the old building that used to be home to Chophouse Studios also brings together Dunn’s 12th Ave Piston Ring building, the Thomas Kundig-designed 1111 E Pike building home to Cupcake Royale, and her E Pike Baker Linen building home to offices and Retrofit Home.

The Chophouse Row is Dunn’s second “open marketplace” development on the Hill joining the critically-acclaimed Melrose Market. The project was designed by Sundberg, Kennedy and Ly-Au Young, and Graham Baba.

Dunn told CHS she originally envisioned the project to include housing but that changing times and a need for more daytime activity in the neighborhood convinced her to switch gears and build office space above the ground-floor commercial spaces. You can check out details here on the trio of tech companies lucky enough to work above all that goodness below. The project did, however, include three penthouses. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Dunn says the exclusive spaces are already filled.

Lots more pictures, below. Continue reading

Plan would require developers to create more affordable housing — or pay

Updated map where linkage fees could be implemented.

Updated map where linkage fees could be implemented.

The days of trying to “incentivize” Seattle developers to build more affordable housing could be nearing an end. Under a plan released by the city Thursday, developers building in certain Seattle neighborhoods could be required to make up to 10% of their new units affordable and/or pay a fee that would fund thousands of new affordable apartment units.

It’s one of the first tangible results of the City Council’s effort to force developers to contribute more affordable units amid a boom of residential construction in the city, particularly on Capitol Hill. The policy could also be key in realizing Mayor Ed Murray’s goal to create 20,000 units of affordable housing in the next decade.

The Affordable Housing Mitigation Program calls for developers to pay a linkage fee on new developments, as high as $28 per gross square foot, into an affordable housing fund. Over ten years, DPD estimates the fee could generate around $1.16 billion to create 14,500 new affordable units. The inclusionary zoning part of the plan would require developers to make up to 10% of their new units affordable to create 5,900 affordable units in 10 years, according to DPD models. Continue reading