Capitol Hill leather and kink shop ready to breathe life back into Pike/Pine building with history of silent movies, auto row rubber, burlesque rumors, and, um, toy repair

Left to right: Jo Wellington, Raine Walker, Jeff Henness (Image: Tom Heuser. June, 2018)

Over the summer, CHS reported on an amazing move for a longtime Capitol Hill business. Doghouse’s Leather’s leather and kink retail project is making plans to bring life back to a 107-year-old Pike/Pine building with a (probably) racy past. As part of his plan to restore the 1911-built 715 E Pike Neal Apartments building into the new home of Doghouse Leathers, owner Jeff Henness invited the Capitol Hill Historical Society in to see the structure’s old bones and dig into its colorful past.

By Jo Wellington and the Capitol Hill Historical Society

Doghouse Leathers is a business native to Capitol Hill. It has provided fetish gear and custom leather pieces to the queer male community for many years. However, Doghouse is more than a sex shop. It has provided a community center for many groups over the years, as magazines, activism groups, and others met in the private back room. Jeff Henness, who opened the business in 2006, clearly makes an effort to support that community. He has been in Seattle since the 1980s and has an extensive knowledge of the local people and history.

All of this makes Henness an exciting person to renovate 715 E Pike St. He has a vision of a building that fits in on the block aesthetically, and maintains as much of the original material as possible. Continue reading

Why save Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue? ‘A lot more to it than just the number of units’

An effort to extend landmark protections to the Roy Vue building marks the Capitol Hill Historical Society’s first foray into preservation, but it won’t be the last.

“This is a sign of our involvement in the community,” said Rob Ketcherside, vice president of the society and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. He said the nearly two-year-old group is hoping to do more such work, as long as members of the all-volunteer organization can find the time for it.

“It’s not about trying to control every property in the city. It’s about holding on to the heritage properties we have,” Ketcherside said. Continue reading

120-pastrami-sandwich-high, 78-unit building at 14th and Pine comes to design review board’s table

The concept for new retail on E Pine destined to be part of a new four-story apartment building set to rise at the corner of 14th Ave (Images: Revolve)

Nowhere in the design objectives for a four-story, 78-unit apartment building destined to rise at the corner of 14th Ave and E Pine do the developers include providing a key Capitol Hill resource: housing for foodies looking to minimize their commutes for stacked-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.

Design review: 1320 E Pine

The planned L-shaped project from developer Revolve Development is slated to take its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

“This building site provides several unique opportunities,” developers write: Continue reading

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