Construction begins on The Danforth, home to Whole Foods and 265 ‘luxury apartments’ on First Hill

Danforth Rendering 2

Danforth Rendering 1The 16-story tower where Whole Foods plans to open by 2018 will be filled with “luxury apartments” and will be known as The Danforth, the project’s developers said Thursday in an announcement marking the start of construction at Broadway and Madison.

“We expect The Danforth to be a destination for residents and workers of not just First Hill and Capitol Hill but also surrounding neighborhoods including downtown Seattle, Madison Park, Madison Valley and the Central District,” Todd Seneker, portfolio manager for Columbia Pacific Advisors, said in the “alternative investment” firm’s announcement. Continue reading

Town Hall hopes to become First Hill gateway as two 32-story towers set to join block

(Image: Michael Hanscom via Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Michael Hanscom via Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

This August, the amazing old church that grew up to be First Hill’s Town Hall Seattle isn’t doing much but getting older as it reaches the 100th anniversary of its construction. Next August, the landmark building — and its block at 8th and Seneca — will begin a massive process of overhaul and change that will rebuild the old Town Hall and functionally rotate the structure’s presence to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the structure as a connector between downtown and a rapidly growing First Hill neighborhood. Along with the new orientation, more than 500 new neighbors are also coming to the block in a set of apartment towers planned to join the 100-year-old building.

Capital campaign director for Kevin Malgesini said that the corner of Town Hall closest to the I-5 lid Freeway Park is a focal point of the renovation project. “We’re looking at the way this corner links the two neighborhoods,” he said. “What it is is really visually connecting Freeway Park and First Hill, rather than First Hill turning its back on the city.”

Malgesini said the nondescript and closed-off nature of the building’s current west facade makes it unapproachable from downtown Seattle. “I think there are many people who see the building and don’t know what it is.” Continue reading

Driver sentenced to seven years for deadly First Hill crash

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 8.18.56 PMThe driver in a March collision on First Hill that killed 61-year-old Gibrel Mohammed has been sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to the crime.

Chase Washatko, 27, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide in a collision caught on video by an ambulance also involved in the crash. Police said Washatko had been spotted driving erratically and passing traffic in 12th Ave’s two-way turn lane before the 12:15 AM collision. A SPD officer turned to begin pursuing the suspect with lights flashing when the crash occurred a few blocks away:Screen-Shot-2016-03-21-at-2.46.53-PM

As part of their plea, Washatko’s attorneys asked for a sentencing range of up to seven years given the defendant’s remorse and lack of a felony criminal record. Judge John Erlick agreed that the seven-year sentence was appropriate.

Police say Washatko said he had been drinking at 13 Coins on Denny and had gotten lost trying to drive to his mother’s home in Gig Harbor. Police say his blood alcohol level tested at 0.20% following the crash — well above the state’s 0.08% threshold.

The 61-year-old Mohammed worked at Ballard High School as a custodian.

If you thought the First Hill ‘street reading party’ was cool just wait for the First Hill ‘street petting zoo’

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In July, First Hill held a street reading party in its pavement park. First Hill is charming!

Give densely packed — and packing higher — First Hill some public space and it will put it to great use. Earlier this summer, CHS stopped by a “street reading party” in the neighborhood’s UUB University, Union, and Boylston pavement park.

piglet-header3Next week: piglets. The First Hill Improvement Association has announced details of its next pavement park party… a petting zoo:

On Thursday, August 25th from 6:00- 8:00pm, FHIA is bringing the rural to the urban with a petting zoo in First Hill’s pavement park!

Join us at the University, Union and Boylston pavement park to behold (and hold) wonderful barnyard creatures. There will be piglets, bunnies, sheep, and many more animals for you to meet and Instagram! Most of the animals are rescues and cared for by Animal Encounters, who will bring the animals and set up a barnyard petting zoo right in the street.

The event will be free and open to the public, bring a neighbor and get ready for the cute overload.

For the safety of the animals, we ask that you please not bring your dogs to this event, no food is permitted, and folks with active colds/coughs should refrain from petting the animals.

Powered by a City of Seattle grant, the FHIA is also planning more park events including a bingo night and a movie night in September. More pictures of the reading party, below. Continue reading

9th Ave *poke* stop? Coffee Tree sprouts a second First Hill location

Ryan Lee has had an affinity for poke for years, ever since his first visit Hawaii where the fresh Ahi tuna and rice bowls can be found in abundance. So when the opportunity came up to open his second Coffee Tree cafe on First Hill, he knew poke would be part of the equation.

“I wanted to bring something I had passion for and something I had experience with,” said Lee, who worked for nine years as a sushi and hibachi chef in Dallas before moving to Seattle. “It’s a great location by Harborview and a healthy option for patients and hospital workers.”

Coffee Tree and Poke opened August 1st near 9th and James — just three blocks from the Coffee Tree at 8th and Marion. Continue reading

49-year sentence for man who killed partner and son inside First Hill condo

Louis Chen has been sentenced to 49 years in jail for the murders of his partner Eric Cooper and toddler son Cooper Chen inside a First Hill condo five years ago this August, court records show.

Earlier this year, the 43-year-old doctor pleaded guilty to the August 11, 2011 stabbings.

The plea agreement headed off a cough syrup defense being planned by Chen’s attorneys. Prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty for Chen who had faced life in prison for the murders if convicted. In 2011, the prosecution requested more time to prepare for the case in order to complete a reconstruction of the bloody murder scene. CHS detailed SPD’s account of the brutal murders here in which Chen is alleged to have stabbed his partner more than 100 times and stabbed his child to death.

In a letter to the court, one of Eric Cooper’s parents wrote:

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Chen faced between 34 to 49 years in prison, according to the King County Prosecutor.

Hugo House announces 2016/2017 season, its first on First Hill

(Image: Hugo House)

(Image: Hugo House)

Literary nonprofit Hugo House has announced the lineup for this 2016-2017 season, its first full season in an interim stay on First Hill.

Hugo’s Molly Woolbright writes:

I’m so happy to announce Hugo House’s 2016–2017 season, which features a diverse lineup of established and emerging writers throughout our two series—Hugo Literary Series and Word Works—as well as our one-off events. We’re thrilled to welcome Mary Gaitskill, Téa Obreht, Colson Whitehead, Karen Russell, Terrance Hayes, Patricia Smith, Alexander Chee, and many more.

Some of the best news in the announcement will come for Capitol Hill fans of the nonprofit’s popular Lit Series: Continue reading

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