When, almost precisely 13 years ago, the 22-year old cellist Joshua Roman stepped onto the stage of Town Hall, he made local music history. It was Roman’s first solo recital after leaving the Seattle Symphony where he’d been the youngest principal cellist ever.
Tuesday night, Roman will make history again. This time, he’s the first performer to fill Town Hall’s Great Hall with music after it has been closed for a 20-month renovation.
The First Hill cultural and civic venue, a Seattle landmark built as a Christian Science Church about a century ago, reopens Tuesday after an extensive renovation, which included a refresh of the glazed terra cotta exterior, a new roof, seismic retrofit, and much-needed accessibility upgrades.
The overhauled Town Hall was initially set to open in 2018 but complications pushed the opening date back to March and then May of this year. The venue’s certificate of occupancy was cleared just last week. When CHS visited, painters were putting finishing touches on the freshly white-painted window frames, and workers were still busy installing lights in the Great Hall.
Though Town Hall had been hosting some events in its downstairs space since April, the entire building opens tonight during what the nonprofit calls a “soft launch.” The official month-long opening festival Homecoming, originally scheduled for this spring, is now planned to run in September.
Roman’s cello concert wasn’t intended to be Town Hall 2.0’s first performance. Somehow, the stars aligned. Continue reading
Most projects considered by the East Design Review Board come to the table with three options and a proposed “preferred” design that the developers and architects have settled on. The board typically doesn’t question the selection and sets about helping to shape the design. But in the case of a planned eight-story apartment block planned to rise across from First Hill’s First Baptist Church, the board not only said nope to the preferred design, it tossed all three proposals out.
“The Board was disappointed by the lack of any significant variation between the three schemes, and that there was no exploration of other forms that might allow the project to step back from the street-edge and create conditions that better meet the criteria in the Design Guidelines,” the report from the review meeting reads.
Wednesday night, developer Carmel Partners and Encore Architects hope to erase that disappointment with a new early design proposal to get the project back on track.
Design review: 1100 Boylston Ave
More than a hundred years ago, it housed the horse-drawn carriages of the Stimson family. Until the mid-1970s, it harbored the famous car collection of Seattle businessman Joshua Green. And starting Friday, the historic First Hill Stimson-Green carriage house will be home to the new “BYOB members club” Birch Road Cellar.
Club owners and lifelong friends Sharon Provins and Kim Bosse call it a “new spin on the private members club concept” and “an oasis for friends to spend the night together uninterrupted.”
Members pay $105 or $135 per month for a storage locker for their favorite wines and spirits, which they can drink in a space that’s not exactly home, but not really a bar, either. It’s open until 2 AM, yes, but doesn’t sell any alcohol. And you’ll need to unlock two doors with your fingerprint — or accompany someone who can. Continue reading
Not the suspect’s purse
With the suspect’s reported get-up, you wouldn’t think they would get far but for the second day in a row, a First Hill bank has been robbed by a bandit with a fantastic outfit.
Seattle Police were called to the bank in the 1100 block of Madison Tuesday afternoon just after 4:15 PM to a report of a robbery involving a suspect described as a person in their 60s wearing a scarf, a cardigan over a striped dress, and carrying a pink purse.
The suspect also reportedly had a teardrop tattoo near their eye. Continue reading
Still only a massing proposal and a design concept, this is what could rise next to the Knights of the Columbus building
Here is the first look at early design proposals for the two projects that will work together to shepherd the newly landmarks protected Knights of Columbus building into its new adaptive reuse future and add more than 150 new apartments to the block at Union and Harvard.
Design review: 704 E Union St and 722 E Union St
The projects from developers SRM Development and the Runberg Architecture Group will begin the city’s design review process with a joint session Wednesday night. Continue reading
Wednesday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan will be at Capitol Hill Housing’s affordable 12th Ave Arts building to sign into law the expansion of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program into neighborhoods across the city including Capitol Hill. Wednesday night, a project to create some 350 new market rate apartments on First Hill will go before the design board for its first review.
While the timing of the eight-story project means its developer won’t be required to pay into the MHA pool — projects vested to a Land Use Code in effect before the upzones won’t be subject to the expanded program — the new development planned for 1100 Boylston will replace a surface parking lot with lots of new First Hill housing.
Design review: 1100 Boylston Ave
A First Hill neighborhood clean up last fall
As Capitol Hill’s community council has shifted to focus more on events and causes — believe CHS, you could do a lot worse — First Hill’s central community organization has stuck to a more traditional approach tackling neighborhood issues and discussing opportunities at its monthly meetings.
Tuesday night brings the March meeting of the First Hill Improvement Association. If you are interested, it takes place starting at 6 PM at Terry Ave’s Frye Art Museum. The March agenda centers on homelessness issues in the neighborhood: Continue reading
For a century, it was almost exclusively Catholic men called Knights who were allowed to freely roam the lounges, smoking room and bowling alley of the Knights of Columbus headquarters on the south edge of Capitol Hill. They could work out, or attend Glee Club, dinners, and public speaking classes. Women could not be members. They hung out in the Ladies Parlor.
If everything goes according to plan, by 2021 or so, people of all types will be able to roam the three-story steel and brick masonry, Renaissance Revival-style building. The new owner, SRM Development, a Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties, hopes to refurbish the historic building through adaptive reuse.
Wednesday afternoon, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the building for historical protections during a public meeting and presentation. Continue reading
Word spreads quickly. Bonchon is now open on Broadway.
Instagram is already all over it. The long awaited first Seattle outlet for Korean fried chicken phenom Bonchon opened quietly on First Hill over the weekend with limited hours and a limited menu.
The hype for such a thing, of course, is unlimited and it has been building since CHS broke the news in January — 2018! — that the global, South Korean-born chain was coming to Broadway. Continue reading
Attendees at last week’s information session on the reopening of Harborview Hall
Two years after the allocation of funding, the Harborview Hall shelter is targeting a December 15th opening, providing 100 beds for people experiencing homelessness to stay overnight.
Representatives from The Salvation Army and King County, which owns the property, met with dozens of community members, many of whom were Harborview Medical Center employees, last week in an open house on the hospital’s campus to discuss the opening of the shelter.
The Salvation Army will be operating the temporary overnight shelter, located at 326 9th Avenue on the first floor of Harborview Hall, which has been vacant since 2011. There will be a minimum of four staff members inside the facility while it’s open, according to The Salvation Army’s offsite shelter programs director Scott Moorhouse. Continue reading