A parking plan to keep old Honda dealership active until Convention Center expansion

Over the weekend, Capitol Hill was crawling with convention goers thanks to the 2015 Emerald City Comicon. Many of the super hero-costumed attendees were unaware of the evil lurking below — a giant potential blank space between Capitol Hill and downtown after Honda of Seattle emptied its showroom and cleared its lots for a move to SoDo from its longtime Olive and Boren campus.

The former Honda of Seattle dealership and lots are planned to be part of the Washington Convention Center’s $1 billion expansion hoped to begin construction after a lengthy public process by 2017.

But fear not, super heroes and pedestrians, CHS is told the Honda properties will be put to use in the best way its new owners know possible over the next two years.

Parking. Continue reading

23rd Ave builds up with second big project at Union, ‘missing tooth’ building at Madison

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.50.17 AMThe next wave in a tide of change around 23rd and Union will take shape Wednesday night as another mixed-use development planned for the intersection takes its first bow in the Seattle design review process. Meanwhile, the board will also take what could be one last look at a long-planned apartment project for another connective point between Capitol Hill and the Central District at 23rd and Madison

2220 E Union
Design Review Early Design Guidance application proposing a 6-story building containing 146 residential units and 11760 sq.ft. of retail. Parking for 88 vehicles to be provided at and below grade.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.50.37 AMIn November, CHS reported on the plan for Lake Union Partners to acquire and develop its second corner at 23rd and Union. Last spring, change dug in on the southwest corner as work finally began on a long-planned, six-story apartment and retail project. Continue reading

Hey Pike/Pine, any advice for expanding ‘Conservation Districts’ to the rest of Seattle?


Before his impending retirement from the Seattle City Council, Tom Rasmussen is leading an effort to extend one of his signature pieces of legislation to the rest of Seattle.

We figured that those of you who have lived and loved among the preservation-minded development projects of Pike/Pine might want to give your neighbors across Seattle a little help in sorting out the proposed Neighborhood Conservation District program. Here’s how the new proposal is being positioned:

The purpose of a NCD program is to help neighborhoods keep their unique physical attributes through design guidelines and review.  Under the proposed program the City’s Department of Neighborhoods would review requests of neighborhoods to become a Neighborhood Conservation District and would manage a Neighborhood Conservation District Board which would review development proposals to ensure that they are consistent with the distinctive physical character of a neighborhood.

Continue reading

Piecora’s demolition underway as design comes together for future mixed-use building

(Image: @ngbarnett via Twitter)

(Image: @ngbarnett via Twitter)

A massing concept submitted in the project's early permitting paperwork. Developers say the first public design meetings for the new building won't start until May at the earliest

A massing concept submitted in the project’s early permitting paperwork. Developers say the first public design meetings for the new building won’t start until May at the earliest

With reporting by Bryan Cohen
The time has come to say goodbye to the physical remains of 33-year Capitol Hill favorite Piecora’s. Wednesday, crews began tearing down the 14th and Madison building on the corner that will someday be home to a new mixed-use development planned for the site. But for the next year, you’ll see a chain-link fence and the exposed remnants of the old Piecora’s foundation. Old Capitol Hill is gone. And the new one hasn’t shown up yet.

“Everything is taking longer than we thought with the permitting process,” Equity Residential vice president Bradley Karvasek told CHS. “Permits are taking longer to obtain now than they have in the past.”


Karvarasek said you likely won’t see the start of work on the new building for more than a year given current timelines. The boarded-up shell of Piecora’s had to go, developer Equity said in an announcement about the demolition, because of “graffiti, vandalism, and vagrancy” at the building. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Housing will honor history of Central District development site with Liberty Bank Building

libertybankinterior11-300x294 (2)Capitol Hill Housing has announced it plans to honor the history of Liberty Bank by naming its planned development just east of 23rd and Union for the region’s first Black-owned bank.

In an announcement earlier this week, the nonprofit developer said its planned mixed-use, affordable apartment project at 24th and E Union will be called the Liberty Bank Building and will “feature multiple historical elements in the exterior design” as part of a set of recommendations from an advisory board convened by the developer “to learn more about community priorities for the site.”

“It is important that the story of Liberty Bank is told so that Seattle knows how a multicultural community came together and created an institution that allowed individuals to achieve economic independence and success,” Michelle Purnell Hepburn, daughter of Liberty Bank founders James C. and Mardine Purnell, said in the announcement. “The advisory board is very happy with the outcome of this process and is pleased with the work of Capitol Hill Housing.”

Liberty Bank Advisory Board members (L-R): Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Derryl Durden, Merle Richlen, and Jocquelyn Duncan at the celebration on March 4th (Image: Joshua Okrent for CHH)

Liberty Bank Advisory Board members (L-R): Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Derryl Durden, Merle Richlen, and Jocquelyn Duncan at the celebration on March 4th (Image: Joshua Okrent for CHH)

Continue reading

Killer Infographics brings more daytime desk action to Capitol Hill


Inside Killer Infographics above Six Arms (Image: Killer Infographics)

One of the latest to companies to move its offices to Capitol Hill and bring more daytime activity to the neighborhood is Killer Infographics. The company moved its 23-member staff from Fremont to an office space above Six Arms last month.

To celebrate the move to Melrose and E Pike, the graphic design agency specializing in infographics created this Capitol Hill-inspired timeline:

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.28.36 PM

Check out the full INFOGRAPHIC: A HISTORY OF CAPITOL HILL from Killer Infographics

For co-founder Nick Grant, moving to Capitol Hill brings the business closer to its downtown clients while putting his designers in a more dynamic urban environment. Continue reading

First Hill apartment asbestos issue a cautionary tale for tenants in old buildings

Cadence acquired The Broadmoore four years ago (Image: King County)

Cadence acquired The Broadmoore four years ago (Image: King County)


When the property managers at a First Hill apartment building recently began drilling holes in the walls to install a new heating system, resident Eric Stapelman was immediately alarmed.

Worried that the dust flying around contained asbestos, the chef-owner of E Pine’s Shibumi called the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to have the Terry and Jefferson building tested. Initial results found asbestos levels in remnants from drilling were two times the allowed limit, according to the agency’s report obtained by CHS. The agency ordered Cadence Real Estate to stop the work.

Cadence acquired the 1911-built building in 2011 for $5.1 million, according to county records. The company has acquired property across the area including E Pike’s The Winston which it acquired for $4.3 million in late 2011.

While a second round of testing with more precise instruments found levels were not actually harmful, a PSCAA spokesperson told CHS the stop work order at The Broadmore will stay until Cadence hires an asbestos contractor to do another round of testing. Candence did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In the meantime, Cadence put up plastic containment areas in some units where work remains unfinished. “The fact that they’re having people live in the apartments and not offering them a place to go… they’re turning people’s lives upside down,” Stapelman said.

UPDATE (3/20): In an email to CHS, Cadence principal Barrett Johnston said the company has been working with tenants to get the new heating system installed as fast as possible.

I have my EPA RRP certification for lead paint abatement, and we test for this prior to working in units as well. We have spoken with the PSCAA and EPA and have done what they have asked of us. It is unfortunate that we attempted to do everything required of us, and keep the residents safe from any potential hazardous substances, but are still being seen as trying to do things improperly.

By its nature construction is invasive and can be a burden for people living in a work area and we are aware of this and try to make the living environment as comfortable for people as possible. Unfortunately the continued blocking has caused the project to be delayed and some tenants are living in spaces with dust screening still up and no progress being made.

Cadence will also be required to obtain a construction permit from the agency, which it failed to do prior to starting work. Nearly all apartment building owners are required to get a permit from the PSCAA if they are doing significant work inside their buildings.

Once the final round of testing is complete and Cadence performs any necessary asbestos abatement work, the PSCAA spokesperson said the agency would issue a permit which would allow work to continue.

According to PSCAA, a property management company should be able to confirm if its secured the proper clean air permits to do work inside a building. If you’re unsure, contact the agency here.

Stapelman told CHS Cadence has refused his request for the company to pay for a temporary relocation while the work gets completed. He said he will be moving out as soon as he can. “This should not have happened,” he said.

95 Slide corner the next on a busy block to become home to mixed-use development

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.15.47 AMHere is another watering hole you can add to the roster of Capitol Hill bars where the patrons know the days are numbered before development brings last call.

CHS has learned that the property owners of the corner of Harvard and Pike have plans for a six-story, mixed-use development joining a block already in full construction Beast Mode.

The corner today is home to 95 Slide, local investor and entrepreneur Marcus Lalario’s sports bar born of the former Hunters Gatherers Lodge and the War Room clubs. It will likely be a year or two before construction can begin given the timeline of similar projects in the neighborhood.

The early plans for the development call for construction of a “30,000 sq ft, 6-story, mixed use building with 70 units and no parking spaces.” Continue reading

‘A 24-day celebratory wake’ — SIFF 2015 will include Harvard Exit

FEST2015_HarvardExit_Promo_440x300Talk about an epilogue. After burying it with a bit of an unceremonious January funeral and sorting out what comes next with its ghost, the historic Harvard Exit will make a surprise comeback for a special limited engagement this spring as part of the 41st annual Seattle International Film Festival.

SIFF announced the plans Thursday to incorporate the Roy at Broadway venue slated for redevelopment as a preservation-friendly office and food+drink project. Work is slated to begin on the 1925-built building this summer with new tenants moving in by early 2016.

Developer Scott Shapiro paid $2.35 million for the building in a deal that closed in January according to King County Records.

“The Harvard Exit is one of my favorite SIFF venues,” SIFF artistic director Carl Spence is quoted as saying the announcement. “I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to properly say goodbye to this important cinematic institution by throwing a 24-day celebratory wake.”

SIFF’s longtime technical provider and sponsor, McRae Theatrical, will install a temporary “state-of-the-art digital projection and sound system” for the festival run.

In 2014, SIFF took over E Pine’s Egyptian Theatre and will also continue to include that venue in the film festival.

The full announcement on the 2015 festival is below. As part of the announcement, SIFF is offering a set of deals on ticket packages for the festival. Continue reading

What’s for sale at the newest shop in Pike/Pine? First Hill condos

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The latest business to move into Pike/Pike won’t be the one selling sex toys, it will be selling condos — 168 of them from a single new First Hill building to be exact.

The sales office for the soaring 24-story Luma condo building will be opening next month on E Pike near Broadway. The space had been occupied by Emerson Salon, which transitioned management and consolidated its space last year.

Marketing company Red Propeller is handling sales for Luma, which is under construction a third of a mile away at Boylston and Seneca. The new addition to Seattle’s skyline will open sometime next year without any commercial or retail space.

It wasn’t just happenstance that Luma’s sales office is opening near the heart of Pike/Pine. Red Propeller is hoping the office location will help the company reach Luma’s target buyers — creative, urban professionals

“What we’re really selling is a proximity and access to First Hill and the Pike/Pine neighborhood,” said Red Propeller’s Stephen Fina. “The sales office immersed in that experience.”

“Live every angle at the intersection of First Hill and the Pike/Pine,” one promotion for the project reads.


Artist rendering of the coming-soon Luna

The office will be open through summer 2016 when its 4 to 5 employees will move into an office in the completed Luma building, Fina said.

The land the Luma is being built on was purchased by Swedish pension fund adviser Alecta for $4 million in 2010. Another developer paid almost twice that in 2007 with plans for a high-end condo project but that venture got wiped out by the last recession. Before construction, a group of neighbors fought to no avail to scale back the Luma project.

Condo sales offices have been mostly absent around Capitol Hill since the housing market crash in 2007.

Luma developer Lowe Enterprises is one of the only companies to build new condos around Central Seattle and, really, through the entire city. Last year, Lowe vice president Suzi Morris said Luma’s location presented a prime opportunity for condo development in an otherwise tough financing environment.

Fina said he couldn’t speculate about the future of condo development around Capitol Hill, but he said interest in condo ownership is definitely on the rise in the neighborhood.