Despite stormy economic seas, Whole Foods still set to anchor 17-story Broadway tower

The Danforth, still rising, its anchor Whole Foods, still coming to Broadway and Madison

The Danforth, still rising, its anchor Whole Foods, still coming to Broadway and Madison

As news broke this week that Whole Foods is pulling out of its plan for a new West Seattle store as part of nationwide cutbacks, CHS asked what about the company’s plans for The Danforth, the 16-story mixed-use building rising at Madison and Broadway.

A company spokesperson says plans have not changed for the Broadway store. “We are still on schedule to open our Capitol Hill store at the corner of Broadway and Madison in late 2018,” she tells CHS. Continue reading

Final…ly APRIL will be held in April as Capitol Hill-born small press festival closes book on seven years

By Tim Kukes for CHS

The APRIL Festival and Book Expo is breaking with tradition.  For the first time — and the last time — the uniquely Capitol Hill literary festival will be confining its celebration to one day only — April 1st.

The Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature festival, traditionally held in the later part of March to honor National Small Press Month, is coming to the end of its tale after a six-year journey of bringing eclectic reading events and diverse small press publishers to the people of Capitol Hill and Seattle.

APRIL Festival & Book Expo

“We feel like this is a good time to end the festival,” Frances Chiem, acting director, said. “We’ve done a lot with it and the small press community is a lot more vibrant than when we first started.  We feel there are other community voices that will step in and fill the void.”

The story of the festival starts with Pilot Books, once located on Broadway, and Willie Fitzgerald and Tara Atkinson.  The small press bookstore had a reputation as a vibrant community space and hosted a Small Press Festival in 2011 — essentially the first APRIL event and renamed after Pilot Books closed in the summer of 2011. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Last meals at the First Hill McDonald’s

IMG_8968CHS stopped by Tuesday morning for the final breakfast — ever? — at the First Hill McDonald’s. Of course, in 2017, McDonald’s will serve you “All Day Breakfast,” just part of the many strategies and optimizations the global burger chain has made to stay a part of 21st century dining habits and continue its run of “Billions and Billions Served.”

CHS reported in February on the coming demolition for the proletariat dining room and the corner of Madison and Minor’s future as host to a 700-Big Mac-tall apartment tower. You can attend a public pre-construction meeting on the project Thursday.

We never did hear back from franchise owner David Santillanes about the closure. Continue reading

Finishing one story from the Capitol Hill pizza boom — plus A Pizza Mart tale on First Hill

Meltdown tossed it in after less than a year of business at Pine and Minor

Meltdown tossed it in after less than a year of business at Pine and Minor

It’s true, Reddit, we did leave a storyline incomplete from the great Capitol Hill pizza boom of 2016. Let’s finish the story and, yes, start a new one with yet more pizza coming to a VERY TALL building on First Hill.

“If it would have taken off it would have been great,” Josh Carrigan tells CHS about the rise and fall of his Meltdown Pizza which was born and died in the Minor and Pine building during the 2016 boom in pie joints. “I just said, ah fuck it, I’m not happy anymore.”

Carrigan wasn’t new to Capitol Hill food and drink. For seven years, he has been part of building the no frills Still Liquor into a popular place to drink like a grownup beneath Melrose Market. Carrigan said it quickly turned out “the pizza market was saturated” so he pulled the plug early on the project and hit the slopes for a winter of snowboarding. He still holds the lease and says a new project is lined up for the space. More about that soon. It won’t be a pizza joint.

A Pizza Mart pie, coming to First Hill (Image: A Pizza Mart)

A Pizza Mart pie, coming to First Hill (Image: A Pizza Mart)

The next new pizza investment in the area will instead come at the base of a 31-story apartment tower on First Hill.

A fifth location of the A Pizza Mart pizza bar family has been building out its space in the Cielo Apartments at 800 Seneca and is close to opening. The 27-year-old pizza player is known for its liquor and pie combination. As Carrigan notes, it joins a saturated market but, with 30 stories of apartments above it, A Pizza Mart First Hill might come with a built-in customer base.

 

Long-term fix for First Hill Streetcar likely to take months, bill to be determined

IMG_0702The First Hill Streetcar went back into operation at 5 AM on Monday after a sliding incident on March 1 took it out of service. Short-term fixes and precautions have been put in place until a long-term solution is ready, which could take months. And, while a bill for the 20-day outage and repairs is still being tabulated, officials told a City Council committee Tuesday afternoon that Seattle shouldn’t be on the hook for the costs.

“If we go the direction that we’ve kind of talked about, some of those components have to be specifically ordered and manufactured, and that’s a two month period just to get the components made in Germany,” Michael James, with the Seattle Department of Transportation said. “So we’re probably talking months not weeks.”

SDOT did not provide an estimated cost due to the service failure, but James said it appears to be manufacturer Inekon’s or its insurance company’s responsibility to cover costs from the service closure, which could include work to get the streetcar operating again and bus service provided during peak travel times on the route by King County Metro. Continue reading

First Hill Streetcar fleet ready to return to Broadway after repairs

IMG_0029-600x400 (1)The Seattle Department of Transportation announced late Sunday night that a fix was identified and executed and the First Hill Streetcar will be back in action Monday morning starting at 5 AM — albeit at a speed-restricted 7 MPH through the stretch where the March 1st sliding incident occurred:

Prior to returning to service, the entire fleet of vehicles had a modification installed, tested, and documented individually. The modifications and operating orders have been reviewed and approved by the required safety officials. With these modifications, operating orders, and safety approvals in place, the vehicles are safe and operational for return to service. Continue reading

Capitol Hill parks notes | Summit Slope legal fight, I-5 Columns design, Montlake lid

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

With the most excellent news of Volunteer Park’s new bandshell and amphitheater rounding into shape, here are a few more bits of news and notes from the Capitol Hill area’s parkland and open spaces.

  • Summit Slope Park: Here is some unhappy news from the Unpaving Paradise group that shaped the vision for the small — but growing — Capitol Hill park just off E Olive Way:
    Some Parks employees are starting the process of removing the table, benches, and BBQ from the upper area of the park this morning. They are taking the BBQ today. Their work order was to remove the boards of the table, leaving the metal frame. They had a call in to someone to see if they were also supposed to remove the boards from the benches. Then a Parks supervisor of some sort came by and she said they should remove the benches and table completely, since leaving the metal frames would be a safety hazard. They plan on moving them out in the next few days. But it all seemed to be a moving decision process, subject to change at any moment Continue reading

43rd District leaders on health care, homelessness — and what it’s like working with Washington Republicans

By Tim Kukes for CHS

What is it like working with Washington’s Republicans?

“We tried everything we could have. Cajoling, complaining, amending, making procedural motions, protesting and acting out in various ways,” State Senator Jamie Pedersen said Saturday at a town hall meeting with the 43rd District’s leaders.

Pedersen’s story of the state’s education “levy cliff” battle had a happy ending Saturday. Instead of, they lived happily ever, Pedersen’s happy conclusion went like this: “… finally senate Republicans agreed on Wednesday at the very last bill before the cutoff to pass the levy extension.”

Constituents of the state’s 43rd legislative district filled the Seattle First Baptist Church sanctuary, on Harvard Ave on First Hill just above the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Organizers said it may have been the largest 43rd town hall gathering yet as the old church’s pews were filled. Yes, the town hall has officially outgrown the church’s basement. Continue reading

With no plan for return of service, First Hill Streetcar slide latest problem in $27M batch

Engineers may have pinpointed what failed on car 405 but the near-term fix — and the paperwork — to get the First Hill Streetcar line back in action could take “weeks,” the Seattle Department of Transportation’s head of rail told a city council committee earlier this week. In the meantime, Seattle officials are beginning to look into whether the streetcar’s manufacturer should be on the hook for the cost of lost service on the line which serves around 3,000 riders a day between Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Broadway.

“If we find out it’s a manufactured error, what sort of recourse do we have about asking for them to compensate the city for this loss of service?” Seattle City Council transportation committee member Rob Johnson asked. Continue reading

What the latest designs for RapidRide G look like, Madison Bus Rapid Transit block by block

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill's most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill’s most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The City of Seattle has released its latest designs and is collecting public feedback on what is being billed as a powerful overhaul of E Madison that will change east-west travel in Central Seattle from downtown, through First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and into Madison Valley. Judging by a few of the designs for blocks along the route, Seattle City Hall will need your help to get it right.

This month, public feedback will shape the final designs for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s updated Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit project — now known as RapidRide G. You can provide feedback in person beginning Thursday on First Hill or again next week on Capitol Hill. You can also weigh in online:

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online

If you can, make time for an in-person visit and add your thoughts online. Last year, SDOT collected public comments on the proposed project that would create a BRT line from 1st Ave downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The project team has furthered the project’s design since then, reshaping the $120 million plan. Continue reading