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

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 3.15.31 PM

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Residents face more than hiked rents after $73.9 million purchase of First Hill apartment tower

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

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

Central Seattle tenants already know what is coming these days when a new company buys their building on Capitol Hill, in the Central District, or on First Hill. But before the rents get jacked up at First Hill’s Panorama House, a 52-year-old, 19-story, concrete highrise on University just east of Boren, the building’s owners are taking things one step farther. By May or June, new owners Security Properties and related building management company Madrona Ridge Residential are planning to empty Panorama of residents before a massive overhaul. Here’s part of a message we received from a resident:

At the open house, it was announced that Security Properties intends to renovate the entire building and, in order to do so, they will be forcing everyone to move out. They said that they intend to have the residents begin moving out as early as February of next year, and will have the entire building empty by May or June in order to completely renovate the entire building.

Continue reading

Courts: Yancy Noll and First Hill murder trials, Monfort death penalty jury selection

As the wheels of justice slowly turn, a trio of major criminal trials involving Capitol Hill and First Hill are moving forward.

  • Road rage murder trial: The trial of the man accused in the alleged at 15th Ave NE and 75th road rage murder of Broadway QFC wine steward Yancy Noll is slated to begin later this month. According to court records, the case against Thomasdinh Bowman will begin being heard on September 22nd. Bowman has pleaded not guilty to the first degree murder charges in what prosecutors have called a “thrill kill” case. If convicted, prosecutors say Bowman will face up to 31 years in prison. UPDATE 10/15: Midway through October, the trial start date continues to be delayed. A representative for defense attorney John Henry Browne told CHS Browne is being held up in another trial. A representative for the King County prosecutor’s office said the defense will likely be ask for a continuance to early November.
  • Monfort trial Jury selection: The trial of the accused cop killer who faces the death penalty after he allegedly opened fire on two East Precinct officers on Halloween night 2009 and killed veteran officer Timothy Brenton is scheduled to move forward with jury selection in October. According to court records, jurors will begin to be notified early in the month before a planned selection process that is expected to begin on October 27th and could last into December. The trial for accused killer Christopher Monfort is slated to begin in January. In 2013, a judge ruled Monfort could not face the death penalty because county prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office had “failed to exercise the discretion it is statuatorily and constitutionally obliged to exercise.” That decision was later reversed. Early in 2014, Governor Jay Inslee instituted a moratorium on all executions in the state. Satterberg office continues to pursue a capital case against the defendant.
  • First Hill murder: The trial of Dr. Louis Chen — accused of stabbing his family to death inside a First Hill condo in August 2011 — has been pushed back and isn’t currently slated to begin until spring 2015, according to court records. In 2012, CHS reported that Chen had been “restored” to competency with mental health treatment and found fit to stand trial for murdering his partner and toddler son.

Big changes for Capitol Hill campus as Group Health babies making First Hill move

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Nearly 2,000 residents landed just off 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill in 2013 — and none of them work at Amazon… yet. Part of the news in an announcement last week that Group Health was ending its affiliation with Virginia Mason and planning to partner up with Swedish is the end of an era at the Group Health Capitol Hill campus. Sometime in spring 2015, the last momma will give birth at Group Health’s 15th at Thomas campus.

Starting in 2016, Group Health patients will go to Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals where they will be treated by Group Health. As part of the planned change, maternity services will transition to Swedish’s busy First Hill Birth Center.

Group Health officials say “patients’ access to services, including voluntary termination of pregnancy, ‘death with dignity’ services and access for gays and lesbians, will not be compromised by Swedish’s connection to Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health-care system,” the Seattle Times reports.

A Group Health spokesperson told CHS the Capitol Hill maternity facility welcomed more than 1,700 babies to the world in 2013 with a complimentary first breath of Capitol Hill air. Let’s hope a future dominated by First Hill babies is a good one.

Extended First Hill Streetcar, bikeway will (probably) terminate at Roy in 2017, funding still unresolved

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 4.18.38 PMFor years, maps of the First Hill Streetcar on Broadway have shown a dotted line extending north of E Denny Way to indicate the possible addition of two or three more stops to the route. The city is now ready to fill-in that line, and end it at Broadway and Roy.

Officials at the Seattle Department of Transportation say they have settled on a $25 million extension of the streetcar with a stop at Broadway and Harrison and a terminus at Broadway and Roy — two stops bewilderingly known as the Broadway Streetcar. The city had been considering an additional third stop at 10th and Prospect, but officials said the estimated $12 million price tag outweighed the benefits of extending the line near Volunteer Park.

“In some respects, the writing was on the wall. When we came back with the gross cost estimates, it was a lot,” said SDOT spokesperson Art Brochet.

The First Hill Street car is expected to open in November, running from Pioneer Square to a temporary Capitol Hill terminus at E Denny Way. When service begins, the First Hill Streetcar will have ten stations along a 2.5 mile route from S Jackson and Occidental to Broadway and Denny Way and will connect Pioneer Square, the ID, Little Saigon, First Hill and Capitol Hill.

Planning for the half-mile, two-stop extension is now 30% complete. Brochet said construction of the two stops could begin in 2016 with an opening in 2017. Continue reading

CHS Pics | First Hill scrabbles for park space — Next: Hopscotch CD returns

IMG_4175Public park space. Consultant. Release. Report. Blah blah blah. Let’s talk giant street Scrabble. Tuesday night, the tri-way intersection of University, Union, and Boylston hosted an oversized Scrabble tournament in the middle of the street smack in between Pike/Pine and First Hill.

Hopscotch CD returns

Hopscotch CD returns

The tournament designed to bring attention to First Hill’s lack of public spaces pitted four two-person teams head to head and attracted onlookers and plenty of second-guessing. City officials are hoping to hold future tournaments in other areas of Seattle in need of a creative though temporary mini-park. Maybe this dude from Portland will come.

For more gaming fun on the streets of Central Seattle, get ready for the second annual Hopscotch CD event on Saturday, August 23rd. The Jackson Commons community event creates 2.9 miles of hopscotch play areas across the Central District. Included in the fun, Centerstone’s parking lot at 722 18th Ave will host the grandmamma of all hopscotch games in an attempt to break a world record.