Capitol Hill food+drink | Italian Family Pizza makes move from 1st Ave to First Hill

The Calozzi family has moved in on First Hill. Last week, Italian Family Pizza opened in its new home in a space formerly occupied by a check cashing business at the intersection of the neighborhood’s two main arteries at Madison and Boren.

Steve and Jennifer Calozzi moved their popular restaurant from 1st Ave to First Hill to make way for demolition and development downtown. But the change also simplifies the family’s life. The new location for Italian Family puts the Calozzis in business just down the block from O’Dea where their son attends high school. Continue reading

Celebrating 40 years of Seattle’s first I-5 lid: Happy birthday, Freeway Park

Sunnier days in the '70s in Freeway Park (Image: City of Seattle)

Sunnier days in the ’70s in Freeway Park (Image: City of Seattle)

The group determined to reclaim and revive the public asset is celebrating Jim Ellis Freeway Park’s 40-year history of bridging the gap and the interstate between Capitol Hill, First Hill, and downtown Seattle.

The park was founded on July 4, 1976, after years of Seattle civic leader Jim Ellis pushing for a park over I-5 to reclaim some of the space taken up by the interstate for community use. This weekend, the Freeway Park Association will celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the park’s opening and the group’s efforts to reclaim the space from decades of neglect.

“Freeway Park was the first park to lid over a freeway to reconnect communities that had been cut by that highway,” said Freeway Park Association’s Riisa Conklin. Conklin said the green-covered 5.2-acre park is essentially a “fertilizer box” situated over the highway.

The park is celebrating its 40th on Sunday, July 3 from 11:30 AM to 2 PM. The festivities will include a bluegrass band, free kettle corn, face painting, and a community kite painting project. All parts of the celebration are free and open to the public. A blues and jazz concert follows starting at 2 PM. Continue reading

Demolition clears the way for Broadway Whole Foods and 16-story apartment building

Demolition season continues around Capitol Hill. Here is the apocalyptic scene currently underway where First Hill meets Capitol Hill and the 16-story Whole Foods mixed-use apartment building is slated to rise.

Crews have spent the week tearing down the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building at the tri-corner of Harvard, Broadway, and Madison. They have plenty more to go. The work at the corner is heavy with the smell of mildewy dust and the satisfying thuds of large vehicles of destruction laying waste to decades-old infrastructure. Continue reading

Design reviews: 30 stories on First Hill, 6 off E Madison

Destined to rise above First Hill at 800 Columbia

Destined to rise above First Hill at 800 Columbia

Fans of skyscrapers will enjoy one part of the design reviews slated to come before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night. They might scoff at the other.

A 30-story residential tower destined for 8th and Columbia on First Hill will finish the night Wednesday but not before the board — and some concerned neighbors — have their say on a proposed project at 20th and Madison that is seeking a, gasp, contract rezone from the area’s 40-foot limit to a whopping 65 feet… hey, skyscraper folks, stop giggling. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seniors’ Senior Prom on First Hill

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

NatalieStrauss(stripes)andLauraRousso(flowers)discussTexasHoldemStrategyCHS has reported before on the value of diverse neighbors and the importance of people finding a way to stay part of Central Seattle as they age. Last weekend, some of First Hill’s senior members got together for a party and CHS was invited to stop by to see the fun — and hear a good joke or three.

Sunday’s second annual Seniors’ Senior Prom at The Summit at First Hill retirement community had a casino night theme. Like any good prom, it had some fancy outfits and people having fun looking their best. Like any good casino, there was also a comedienne.

Rose Liberman was at the prom and enjoying herself. The great grandmother and Holocaust survivor was born in Poland, spent time in the ghettos, and spent more than two years in a concentration camp. Rose was accompanied by her grandkids Neil and Sarah while kids from Capitol Hill’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai were also on hand to help out on the night. “Kids keep me young,” Liberman said, just warming up. Her advice on life? “Life is hard.”

She had a few more gems: Continue reading

Grant will help neighborhood ‘create a new future’ for First Hill Park

Last August, First Hill Park hosted a party for the neighborhood's dogs (Image: CHS)

Last August, First Hill Park hosted a party for the neighborhood’s dogs (Image: CHS)

With the neighborhood’s successful pavement parks being held up as examples for similar projects on Capitol Hill and beyond, First Hill is also looking at how to improve its 0.2-acre city park adjacent Stimson-Green Mansion.

unnamed (11)Opened in 1978, First Hill Park is at the start of a community-driven makeover that begins with a grant-driven planning process starting in the University St. green space next Tuesday night:

The goal of this project is to come together as a community so we may understand priorities, develop a vision, and create concept designs toward making First Hill Park a safe and active open space for all.

Join us at First Hill Park (Minor & University) at 6:00pm on Tuesday May 24th for the first in a series of public workshops to gather ideas, priorities, and aspirations for our neighborhood park.

Our design team at SiteWorkshop will be facilitating this workshop, which is an open house style meeting with a short presentation at 6:15pm. The meeting is free and open to the public. Your voice is critical to developing the best possible plan, so bring a neighbor and come by for as long as you can!

For more information contact FHIA Director Alex Hudson at We hope to see you there!

$25,000 in funding from the Department of Neighborhood will power the process to collect community feedback and shape a concept design for First Hill Park. A summer of park meetings is slated to follow next Tuesday night’s kick-off.

You can learn more at

Bus Stop | Off Capitol Hill: What service could look like across CD, First Hill in 2025

The #2, Central District, Seattle
Route-48In April, Bus Stop looked at what King County Metro’s long range plan — envisioning our bus network in 2025 and in 2040 — might mean for Capitol Hill routes and the riders on them. Today I want to look at how the future network sketched out by Metro’s planners imagines how things will change in Capitol Hill’s connecting communities, First Hill and the Central District.

Frequent routes
Metro defines a frequent route as a route running at 15-minute or better frequency during most of the day. Evening service, however, can be another story, but we are going to look at the frequent routes Metro has included in its long range plan as those are going to be the most important ones for providing reliable neighborhood service.

One of the most frequent routes in this network will remain the route 48. Funds have been dedicated in the Move Seattle levy package to convert the 48 corridor into a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, combined with the highest ridership route in Metro’s fleet, the 7 running on Rainier Avenue in Southeast Seattle. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Notice and act’ on First Hill

IMG_20160426_150054889_HDR (2)

With the waves of development sweeping across Capitol Hill, a peculiar art form has also developed. The “land use notice” sign hack. Most barely rise above tagging with an occasional anti-gentrification or “die yuppie scum” message.

Screen-Shot-2016-01-26-at-3.04.59-PM-600x395Reader Paul shares this well thought out example from First Hill of the art in its highest form:

Have you seen that someone whited out most of the black and white development notice sign in front of the Frye Museum parking lot, the location of a pending residential development which you have reported on? It’s cool and apt and arch.

The development set to someday replace the sign along with the Frye’s parking lot is envisioned as “two towers that lean away from each other as they rise 33 stories high and connect at the top by a thin walkway.” It will include 450 apartment units and, yes, additional approval is required.

Mayor announces cash to support Capitol Hill, CD business groups


Taste of the Caribbean’s Carlene Comrie (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill will once again get a major $137,000 chunk of the city’s Only in Seattle marketing and neighborhood business improvement funding, Mayor Ed Murray announced Thursday night. In addition, the neighborhood will get money to help address the impact from construction in the area and a check will also be cut to help the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce plan for the creation of a larger Business Improvement Area. Meanwhile, the Central District is also in line for a financial boost to help merchants overcome construction woes and a $102,000 Only in Seattle infusion — the latter now enjoying its second major press release from the mayor’s office.

“We just want to create a business that provides some economic support to the community as well as give a taste of our culture,” owner Carlene Comrie said in welcoming the mayor, an assemblage of City Hall staffers, media, and small business owners to her E Jefferson restaurant for Thursday’s announcement. “We’re mostly all Jamaican here and we’re very, very proud of that.” Comrie and business partner Dwayne Blake opened Taste of the Caribbean in 2013.

“This city is changing. But one thing not changing is its neighborhoods’ small businesses,” the mayor said Thursday night.

“You supply jobs. Give us our goods. And create community and culture in our neighborhoods.”

Capitol Hill’s portion of the Only In Seattle pie was part of $1.6 million in funding awarded. Here are the Only in Seattle components: Continue reading

Say goodbye to Hugo House’s old Capitol Hill home with party where you can write on its walls

Your 2016 calendar is filling up but make sure to leave a mark for the going away party for an old friend. Hugo House has announced details of its May 7th Epilogue/Prologue party:

It’s the end of one story and the beginning of another. Come to the last party at the current Hugo House to celebrate your time here and look toward the future. We have plenty in store for you.

Have a beer or wine on us (if you RSVP below)
See mock-ups of the new building
Browse through a gallery of photos from great times at Hugo House (since 1997)
Snag food from a food truck
Meet new people and spend time with old friends
Confess your Hugo House stories in a confession booth
Take photos with friends in our writerly photobooth
And, best, of all:Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.39.59 AM

No, this isn’t a cliché—we actually want you to write your poems and stories and anything you want on almost every wall of Hugo House. Then we’ll send you an ebook of excerpts from the wall and photos from the night.

You can learn more and RSVP here.

In January, CHS reported on Hugo House’s plans for an interim home on First Hill before its 2018 return to 10th Ave in its new mixed-use home. The old Hugo House will be demolished later his year to make way for a new six-story, apartment development that will include a new 10,000 square-foot writing center. More than 100 years old, the one time Manning’s Funeral Parlor was deemed unworthy of landmark status in 2013.

Meanwhile, V2, a new creative arts space and facility is busy making over the old Value Village building before its planned development in 2017.

Design review: lightened-up eight-story project on First Hill, second six-story at 22/Madison

Broadstone First Hill, now with less perceived mass!

Broadstone First Hill, now with less perceived mass!

The East Design Review Board busies itself Wednesday night with two projects on the periphery of Capitol Hill — one will reach six stories and add to the mixed-use overhaul around 22nd and Madison, one will reach eight stories “to create an urbane park lifestyle” on First Hill.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 4.51.33 PM2100 E Madison
Planned to be part of a burst of development activity in the area, developer Jim Mueller’s planned second six-story project at the intersection is set for what should be its final step in the design review process Tuesday night.

The 50-unit apartment building with 3,800 square feet of commercial space and underground parking for 20 vehicles sailed through its early design guidance session last July. Architects Weinstein A+U return Wednesday night with their fleshed-out design proposal for a building the board has already commended for its “aesthetic of the ‘floating’ building on a transparent and inset base,” a composition that is “unique within the immediate context.” By context, of course, the board means the Safeway across Madison and, on the southern corner of the 22nd/Madison intersection where the Twilight Exit once stood, the first Mueller six-story project that is currently under construction.

2100 E Madison St

Land Use Application to allow a 6-story structure containing 50 residential units and 3,800 sq. ft. of commercial at street level. Parking for 20 vehicles to be provided. Existing structure to be demolished. / View Design Proposal  (39 MB)    

Review Meeting: March 23, 2016 8:00pm, Seattle University, 1000 E. James Way, STCN- Student Center 210 Multipurpose Room
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews
Project Number: 3020124  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Magda Hogness

Here’s how the 21100 E Madison project design concept is described:

Design Alternate 3 locates the residential entry off Denny Way. Denny is the preferred location for a residential entry (per the SDOT Street Classification Map, Madison Street is classified as a principal arterial). There are two retail spaces along Madison, and a retail space along Denny to the north of the residential entry. The residential units are oriented in a “T” scheme. This maximizes the units with street frontage, and does not require openings along the northeast of the site, which has an adjacent to another NC-65 parcel. The residential levels are set back from the northwest property line at the alley by twenty feet, allowing for a uniform elevation at the alley façade.

And, hey, tree lovers, the building is being designed to make space for the 31-foot chestnut also currently resident on the block.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 4.40.34 PM1001 James
We’re not sure what it is about Broadstone projects but the board seems to not mind calling the developer back for the relatively unusual second (and sometimes third!) recommendation level design review. So it goes with this First Hill project slated for the land where a much smaller apartment building and a parking lot are currently located at Terry and James just off Broadway.

The eight-story, 338-unit, 285-parking stall gargantuan Broadstone First Hill development tried to take its first pass through the final recommendation phase in January but the board had other ideas. “The Board suggested the building be ‘broken’ or opened up on the Terry façade,” notes from the meeting read. Elsewhere, the board members “directed the applicant to erode the building massing” to better open the project’s courtyard concept. In other words, the building was just a bit too hulking.

Developers Alliance Realty Partners and Encore Architects have responded with a new set of plans for the proposed project that attempt to satisfy the requests for a lighter approach and to “reduce the perceived massing.”

“The Board requested the applicant continue developing a residential project with an inviting sense of place for this First Hill location to create an urbane park lifestyle,” the meeting notes conclude.

Will the newly modulated design do the trick? Alliance hopes so. But they’ve gone four before.

1001 James Street

Land Use Application to allow an 8-story, 338 unit apartment building with 5,320 sq. ft. of retail located at ground level. Parking for 285 vehicles is to be provided below grade. Existing apartment building to be demolished. / View Design Proposal  (194 MB)    

Review Meeting: March 23, 2016 6:30pm, Seattle University, 1000 E. James Way, STCN- Student Center 210 Multipurpose Room
Review Phase: REC–Recommendation  See All Reviews
Project Number: 3019215  View Permit Status  |  View Land Use Notice
Planner: Holly Godard

First Hill club fixture Ruby Bishop inducted into Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame

BishopThis Sunday night, Ruby Bishop will once again saddle up behind the piano at Vito’s on First Hill for her weekly performance. The only difference will be that the 96-year-old Seattle jazz legend will have a new, well deserved title to add to her long list of accomplishments: hall of famer.

Bishop was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame Tuesday night at the Golden Ear Awards put on by the nonprofit and music publication Earshot Jazz. Bishop has been signing and playing a mix of classic ragtime, standards and oldies in Seattle for over 70 years and playing her weekly gig at Vito’s since 2010.

“You can tell that the piano comes as naturally as breathing to her, and she holds a grace and ease that you don’t (see) very often,” said Vito’s owner Greg Lundgren. “She still has mischief in her eyes and a sharp wit.” has more about Bishop’s remarkable life:

During World War II she, like many women in her era, became a Boeing B-17 mechanic and draftsman. After the war she learned steno-typing in preparation for becoming a court reporter, then studied to be a beautician. She later took up cabinetry-making, becoming one of the first women in the Pacific Northwest in that field. That expertise paid off in the 1950s when she rebuilt the entire family kitchen. Whatever jobs she held to help support the family however, she always looked to her nighttime music career as her main profession.

Over time others recognized her musical ability. By the time she was nearly in her 50s, Bishop had achieved enough prominence to be recruited by the U.S. Army to entertain G.I. troops stationed in South Korea and South Vietnam. By this point she was also performing before audiences in London, Paris, and Stockholm. Despite that success Bishop continued to view Seattle as her home.

Seattle’s first jazz hall of fame class in 1990 appropriately included Ernestine Anderson, the legendary Central District jazz singer who died last week at the age of 87.

Ruby Bishop at Vito’s from Joon Chang on Vimeo.