Displaced First Hill seniors offered discounts at retirement communities

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The Panorama House building at 1100 University (Image: King County)

In September, around 200 residents of a First Hill apartment tower — many of them elderly, long-term residents of the building — went on the search for new housing after learning they would be forced to move out for an overhaul of the building starting next year.

The Panorama, a 52-year-old concrete highrise on University just east of Boren, was sold in September for $73.9 million. Shortly after the sale, new owners Security Properties notified resident they would need to be out by summer 2015 for the massive renovation.

A Federal Way-based housing company is offering seniors at Panorama special deals at two of their retirement communities: El Dorado West in Burien and Mill Ridge Village in Milton. Village Concepts is also offering to pay for residents’ moving costs and one month’s rent. Continue reading

Goodbye First Hill McDonald’s, hello 17-story mixed-use building  

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The First Hill McDonald’s franchise is an intriguing community hub. The Madison and Minor location seems to accomplish what an urban McDonald’s can be at its best: a place for surgeons, construction workers, homeless people and everyone in between to gather together for a cheap, gigantic cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Other times, it’s just weird.

Documents recently filed with the city show the First Hill McDonald’s is now a goner and slated to be torn down. Developer Holland Partners has filed permits to demolish the McDonald’s building and erect a 240,000 square foot, 17-story mixed-use development.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 2.47.11 PMDetails on the new project are sparse, but early plans call for 200 apartment units and 151 parking spaces. The Vancouver, WA based developer was also behind the similarly sized Coppins Well project next door. At the time, developers touted the Coppins Well project as the first high-rise apartment building to break ground on First Hill in 35 years.

Just a few blocks away, Whole Foods will be part of a 16-story mixed-use apartment building planned at Madison and Broadway slated to open in 2018.

CHS couldn’t reach anyone at Holland for comment about the McDonald’s project.

A representative for franchisees in the region said the Madison McDonalds has been open for about at least 17 years (see comments for memories of this location going back to the 1970s). Earlier this year, CHS reported on McDonald’s employees urging their coworkers to walk off the job for higher wages. We don’t know yet if the franchise will relocate in the neighborhood or nearby, but the possibility may get the Capitol Hill rumor mill churning again.

Capitol Hill infill fills in with seven stories on Boylston, four off Broadway

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The “site analysis” for the 1404 Boylston project is AWESOME and worth clicking to see a larger version (Image: S+H Works)

It will be a real-world lesson in neighborhood infill development — and the work of E Pike-based architect Hugh Schaeffer — as the East Design Review Board gathers Wednesday night to assess two proposed development projects that will create another 140 or so apartments on Capitol Hill in exchange for one two 1900s-built single family homes and a 1905-built, 8-unit apartment house.

(Image: S+H Works)

Coming soon to Boylston just off E Pike — seven stories (Image: S+H Works)

1404 Boylston
On Boylston just off E Pike, the Emerald City Manor building has provided a place to live on Capitol Hill since 1905. Today’s Hill calls for a bigger solution.

Planned as a seven-story affordable apartment building with 105 units that will replace the old manor, the developers of the Boylston Flats project promise some lofty goals –including helping to connect Capitol Hill to First Hill: Continue reading

Whole Foods coming to Capitol Hill in new development at Broadway and Madison

Site Plan (69)Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svgNational grocery chain Whole Foods Market has finally found its home on Capitol Hill.

The company announced it will open the 40,000 square-foot market in 2018 as part of a new 16-story apartment development planned for the 1000 block of Broadway near Madison.

It will be the ninth Whole Foods in Seattle, the company said.

“We have been interested in the Capitol Hill and First Hill communities or a long long time,” a company spokesperson tells CHS. “We couldn’t be more pleased about the location of the new store.”

In 2009, CHS reported on the Austin, Texas-cased company’s interest in Capitol Hill and rumors of a store opening on north Broadway.

The spokesperson said the 40,000 square-foot store qualifies as “extra medium” size in the spectrum of the company’s more than 400 markets around the world.

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First Hill’s grand Sorrento Hotel getting hip Pike/Pine-style makeover

(Image: The Sorrento)

(Image: The Sorrento)

Sorrento-17Just a few blocks from the rambunctious nightlife of Broadway Pike/Pine, the Sorrento Hotel and its restaurant and bar have quietly persisted for nearly a century as one of the few remnants of Seattle’s original cocktail culture. Now the family behind the hotel is seeking to apply some of the the Ace Hotel “casual luxury” recipe to breathe new life into the First Hill gem.

The Sorrento has announced that the Seattle-based firm Magnetic/ERV is taking over management of the 76-room hotel and plans to start its revamp work early next year. Magnetic/ERV is a hospitality management company with staff that have worked on the Palm Springs Ace Hotel and a handful of other boutique hotels around the country.

Cori Ready, a Seattle event designer that’s working with the Magnetic/ERV, told CHS the management group is still in the early planning stages of the overhaul. “We want to make it more like a culture hub,” Ready said.

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First Hill’s Stimson-Green hosts Haunted Mansion Party

(Image: Kayla Clark Events)

Inside Stimson-Green (Image: Kayla Clark Events)

Which is more frightful? The $100 ticket price *or* the marketing of the “ghosts” of “mistreated slaves” for a “haunted mansion party” Saturday night at First Hill’s landmark Stimson-Green house?

For a hundred bucks plus fees, you fan find out at Seattle event producer Kayla Cook’s October 25th Haunted Mansion Party:

Are you ready for a scare? Join us at the Stimson-Green Mansion for the first annual Haunted Mansion Party. Rumor has it, the mansion is haunted…. Continue reading

‘As many authors as we can logically put on the physical map’ — Lit Crawl Seattle ready for a new march around Capitol Hill

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 2.29.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 2.23.48 PMIf you have a love for literature or perhaps even just a passing interest in the written word you may be wishing for the power to be in quite a few places at once in Capitol Hill and First Hill Thursday night. The third annual Lit Crawl Seattle requires you to make a few decisions — three, to be exact.

A fitting, albeit more densely packed, fall compliment to APRIL Festival’s early spring celebration of strictly independent literature, and punctuating a Seattle literary calendar already relatively rich with year-round activity, Lit Crawl Seattle will bring some 64 writers and artists out for 21 readings at venues across First Hill and Capitol Hill, along with a over a dozen more folks acting as hosts. The full schedule is here.

“It’s a festive, large event that is meant to provide a giant showcase of as many authors as we can logically put on the physical map in the time span that we have to play with,” co-chair of Lit Crawl Seattle’s board of directors Jane Hodges told CHS.

“We really think of it as sort of a buffet,” she said. “The literary community here is huge. We want to bring out people that have large followings because they’re out being social, as well as people you don’t see so often.” Continue reading

A suddenly-empty block of First Hill won’t be empty for long

No ghosts (Image: CHS)

Quiet, dark, but no ghosts (Image: CHS)

Despite some of the boom times for development and commerce in the area, a stretch of retail space in the 1300 block of Madison suddenly looked like a ghost town in recent weeks as a longtime cafe joined an exodus from the block. It appears it won’t be empty long.

Cafe Madison, the latest iteration of a longtime cafe space on Madison just above Broadway, has closed to make way for a Salal Credit Union.

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For its 100th birthday celebration, First Hill’s Town Hall in line for major restoration project

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

As it nears the celebration of its 100th birthday in 2016, First Hill’s landmark Town Hall Seattle building is in line for millions of dollars in renovations and a full restoration.

While the project remains it its early planning phases and has not yet been announced to the wider public, Town Hall representatives have begun discussing the work with neighbors and businesses in the First Hill community and confirmed details of the construction on the City of Seattle, state, *and* federal landmark building that dates way back to a first phase of construction in 1916 and completion in September, 1923. CHS wrote about the landmark process for the 8th and Seneca structure here in 2012.

“We have it in mind what we want to do to renovate this great historic building,” Town Hall’s Anthony Detrano said.

Detrano said to expect several opportunities for the community to hear updates and weigh in on the coming project.

“We’re being more transparent about this kind of project because that’s in the DNA of what Town Hall is,” Detrano said.

Malcolm Gladwell (Image:  Seattle Arts & Lectures via Flickr)

Malcolm Gladwell (Image: Seattle Arts & Lectures via Flickr)

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First Hill Streetcar delayed until 2015: New plan would move more rider revenue to Seattle


For a briefing to the City Council Tuesday morning, transportation planners have unveiled a proposal to change the agreement between Seattle and Sound Transit so that City Hall will be in position to see increased revenue if the First Hill Streetcar ridership numbers are strong.

Planners also revealed that CHS’s November forecast for the start of operations of the First Hill line between Pioneer Square and Broadway is likely too ambitious.

“Construction of the Project is nearing completion,” the planners write. “Although the start date of passenger service is uncertain due to delay in delivery of the streetcars, service could begin as early as the first quarter of 2015.”

UPDATE: SDOT planner Ethan Melone told the council committee that streetcar manufacturing “setbacks” have lead to the uncertainty about when the First Hill line can start service. In February, CHS reported about fire testing issues causing problems with the manufacturing schedule. Council committee chair Tom Rasmussen acknowledged that he had been briefed on the problems in February but criticized SDOT for missing deadlines on quarterly reports on the line and the manufacturing problems. The council member asked for a more complete update on the manufacturing problems in the next quarterly report due at the end of this month.

UPDATE: Following our report on the morning briefing, SDOT issued a statement on the delay.

“The schedule for streetcar delivery and service will continue to have some uncertainty until mid-November when more is known about testing results, supply chain issues and the pace of local production,” the SDOT statement reads.

SDOT says “several” of the streetcar vehicles are “near completion” and are expected to be delivered in December with “the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in early 2015.”

The full statement is below:

If you have visited Capitol Hill or the International District lately, you have likely seen the finished construction work for the new First Hill Streetcar line. New track, electrical lines, traffic signals and sidewalk abound thanks to the project. But one critical component is missing: the streetcar manufacturer is behind schedule in delivering the line’s streetcars.

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