Rapha Seattle opens on Capitol Hill this week

In October of 2013, neighbors enjoyed one final night at Bauhaus inside its original Melrose and Pine location. The only activity at the corner since has involved hard hats and construction crews building the eight-story, preservation incentive-boosted Excelsior Apartments above the old block formerly home to the cafe and a collection of independent shops and a small handful of apartments.

That will change this week as global cycling brand Rapha is ready to debut its latest “clubhouse” retail and cafe concept on the corner:

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of Rapha Seattle on Wednesday, March 22nd at 8AM. Rapha Seattle will offer the latest Rapha products, host events and exhibitions, serve the finest coffee as well as screen live road racing throughout the year. We hope to see you soon.
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Protest against displacement at 23rd and Union targets landowner’s Madrona home, sparks scuffle at Uncle Ike’s

Protesters said they were targeting the home of the family member who heads the Midtown Center partnership as Madrona got an unusual influx of activists Saturday night

Protesters said they were targeting the home of the family member who heads the Midtown Center partnership as Madrona got an unusual influx of activists Saturday night

A protest against gentrification and displacement in the Central District that followed the eviction of a longtime neighborhood activist from his 24th and Spring home showed just how personal the tumult around change can be as the Madrona home of a 23rd and Union property owner was targeted — and the owner of a controversial marijuana store momentarily lost his cool Saturday night.

Protesters Saturday night gathered at 23rd and Union outside the office space where the Black business incubator Black Dot is being booted from the teed-up-for-redevelopment Midtown Center. The protest was a planned response after the eviction of Omari Tahir-Garret from the block earlier in the week. The rally and march eventually traveled all the way to Madrona where protesters said they were targeting the home of Hugh Bangasser, head of the family partnership that owns the Midtown Center and is planning to sell the property for redevelopment.

But the sparks flew late in the night after the march returned to 23rd and Union and organizer Cliff Cawthon brought the group to the parking lot of “gentrifier” Uncle Ike’s where the I-502 pot shop was once again surrounded by a mix of protesters, Seattle Police, and Ike’s security employees. Continue reading

Standoff at 24th and Spring in eviction of longtime Central District activist

A longtime Central District resident whose activism for Black rights has often put him at odds with law enforcement and the legal system sparked a protest and a standoff Wednesday morning at 24th and Spring as the King County Sheriff, Seattle Police, and a work crew arrived to evict him and his UMOJA Peace Center from the Midtown Center block.

Omari Tahir-Garrett, who is in his 70s, was reportedly barricaded inside the house where he has lived for around a decade while working as a caretaker for the property owned by the Bangasser family who is now trying to sell the land for long-awaited redevelopment. UPDATE 2:15 PM: Authorities have determined that Tahir-Garrett is not inside the house. A protest organizer says Tahir-Garrett is “safe” and not in custody.

UPDATE 3/16/2017 8:53 AM: Police say they responded to the corner Thursday morning to help “a man trapped inside a boarded house.” We’re checking to find out more. According to police radio dispatches, SPD officers entered the house around 8 AM after being called to the scene to a report of somebody trapped inside. The person was “removed from the property” around 15 minutes later.

DSC01265UPDATE 3/16/17 2:15 PM: In an appearance outside his boarded house and flanked by City Council member Kshama SawantOmari Tahir-Garrett and organizers of the two days of protests against his eviction at 24th and Spring said they will rally again on Saturday for inclusive development with a march starting at 23rd and Union. Continue reading

Five women who shaped Capitol Hill’s apartment past

Corinne-Simpson-400x379Women were some of the most prolific early 20th Century developers to shape Capitol Hill into the neighborhood we see today. Author Diana James documented some of the more interesting female characters behind Capitol Hill’s classic apartment buildings in her 2012 book Shared Walls: Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900-1939. In a 2014 talk, James said that while she was researching for her book, she was struck by the number of women who popped up in the real estate business.

“Researching women’s involvement in the business of buying, selling, and building apartments was a worthy pursuit,” she said. “The accomplishments of these women would be commendable today, but the fact that they occurred over 100 years ago make them even more remarkable.” Continue reading

Seattle Renters’ Commission bill sees early support in City Hall debut

The proposed Seattle Renters’ Commission made its debut in the City Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee meeting last week. Early signs indicate good support for the proposed 15-member commission that aims to give renters in the city a voice on not only tenant rights and affordability but also related issues like transportation access and economic development.

“There’s a lot of issues that touch renters and they’re not often at the table,” said Sera Day, legislative assistant to council member Tim Burgess, prime sponsor of the ordinance.

“As rents continue rising, it’s critical that renters are given space to engage city government with a strong and organized voice,” Capitol Hill Community Council president Zachary DeWolf said Friday. “… This ordinance will create a platform for renters to get engaged in civic life and fully invest in their neighborhoods and ultimately our city of Seattle.”

Sierra Hansen, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, also spoke in support of the commission.

“I think that this is an amazing effort among Capitol Hill residents that will benefit folks across Seattle,” Hansen said. Continue reading

Neighborhood by neighborhood, Seattle working out HALA and Mandatory Housing Affordability changes

Some Miller Park residents are not happy with the proposed zoning changes for their neighborhood in the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

Those residents will get an opportunity to voice their thoughts in small group discussions following a presentation on HALA, Urban Villages, and the Mandatory Housing Affordability proposal at a Community Design Workshop at 6 PM on Tuesday at the Miller Community Center.

Spencer Williams, a legislative assistant to City Council member Rob Johnson, said the input collected from community members at the workshop as well as from open houses the city has hosted and online and elsewhere will be analyzed by the Office of Planning and Community Development.

Madison-Miller Urban Village Community Design Workshop

“The meeting is happening many months prior to there being a final proposal before the council,” Williams told CHS. “We are really trying to stay engaged early.” Continue reading

Proposed Seattle Renters’ Commission will tackle tenant rights, affordability

Capitol Hill’s calls for a Seattle Renters’ Commission will soon be answered creating what is likely the first such official body in the nation.

CHS has learned legislation to create a 15-member commission to represent tenants rights and weigh in on issues of development and affordability could be introduced as early as Monday.

“The goal is to attract folks across the whole spectrum,” the Capitol Hill Community Council’s Zachary DeWolf said. “Families, seniors, geographic diversity, vouchers, newer units, older units. Everyone.”

The offices of Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold have been working to finalize the proposal that comes as Seattle residents continue to face one of the most expensive rental markets… in the world.

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Design review: Country Doctor’s 19th Ave E expansion

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-5-15-25-pmA crucial Capitol Hill project for one of the city’s only providers of nonprofit, low-income health care will take what should be its final step in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

The Country Doctor Community Clinic’s plan will create a new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

The new facility will provide medical services including a new dental clinic, and expanded services for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Maternity, HIV and Chronic Pain. The project will also provide expanded administrative office and meeting space for the entire Country Doctor Community Health Centers network. The current 2,350 square feet of medical services and administrative offices provided on-site will be expanded to 9,000 square feet on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Meanwhile, the project’s top two floors will house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, $1 million in federal grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services.

Design review: 510 19th Ave E

Executive director Linda McVeigh told CHS last fall the construction will also add more private rooms, sorely lacking in the current space. “A lot of services we provide are best provided in a one on one environment,” she said. Continue reading

Big property deal set to reshape Capitol Hill’s somewhat sleepy 15th Ave E

img_1796In a sellers’ market on Capitol Hill, another big real estate deal appears primed to remake part of the neighborhood. CHS has learned that property on a key block in the heart of 15th Ave E’s strip of shops and restaurants recently hit the market and already has a prospective buyer with plans for a multi-story, mixed-use building stretching from the site where the 15th Ave E QFC stands today to cornershop ShopRite.

“If God means for us to stay, I am staying,” ShopRite owner Mohammad Abid tells CHS about the deal and his long-term lease in the building the shop has called home for more then 20 years.

Fortunately, the coming changes are still a ways off. Continue reading

‘Sellers’ market’ — The Ford Building, home to Elliott Bay Book Company, up for sale

Elliott Bay Book Company (Image: CHS)

Elliott Bay Book Company (Image: CHS)

With its neighbor already on the block for a potential sale, another centerpiece of Pike/Pine auto row preservation, culture, and arts is having its tires kicked by prospective buyers.

Word spread Wednesday that the Ford Building, the 97-year-old former auto row warehouse now home to Elliott Bay Book Company, the Little Oddfellows cafe, and upscale fashion retailer Totokaelo has been put on the market touting its “100% leased” status, its place as a “prime Capitol Hill retail creative space,” and its hosting of an “iconic master tenant” —

Jones Lang LaSalle is pleased to present the opportunity to acquire a 100% fee simple interest in the The Ford Building (“The Property”), a one-story building with two street level retail spaces, located in Seattle’s historic Capitol Hill submarket. The property’s location is walking distance to the city’s Central Business District, and a plethora of city destinations, including dining, retail, medical, professional, public transportation, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, the Northwest School, and Cal Anderson Park. The property has easy access to convenient transit and commuter options, only 1 block from the Capitol Hill Street Car stop and 2 blocks from the Light Rail station.

“This offering represents a unique opportunity to invest in a 100% leased property with a stable retail income stream and future development potential located in one of Seattle’s hottest and growing neighborhoods,” the pitch from the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm concludes.

If and when it is redeveloped, the building is eligible for Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives which provide potentially lucrative extra height and bulk bonuses for saving building facades of character structures.

Development opportunity aside, current owner Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital says the building’s existing tenants are one of its greatest assets.

“We have thought long and hard about selling one of our buildings,” Hunters chief operating officer Jill Cronauer tells CHS. “We add value to properties and feel we have maximized the improvements in the Ford Building through restoration and implementing long term leases with strong retail tenants. It’s a strong sellers’ market and we would like to take the capital and reinvest in another property where there is room to add value.” Continue reading