Landmark Knights of Columbus building set for ‘adaptive reuse’ future in middle of new apartment buildings

The future of the historic Knights of Columbus building lined up to be at the center of development along Union just above Pike won’t be more housing, the developer behind the project says.

The second of two new apartment buildings planned to wrap around the 106-year-old masonry clubhouse passed through the early phase of design review last month as planners were finally able to work out solutions to provide a better relationship between the planned development and neighboring E Pike buildings. Continue reading

Where First Hill McDonald’s used to stand, newest Seattle Amazon Go now open

The corner of Madison and Minor is again home to a neighborhood outlet from a massive global corporation that has sparked environmental, socioeconomic, and, yes, even health concerns but is also just a place to grab a quick sandwich and be on your way.

Outfitted with cameras, scanners, and waves of radio-frequency identification, the newest Amazon Go in the world is now open on First Hill in the 1001 Minor Ave “luxury” apartment building, The Perry. Thanks to our man on First Hill @gordonwerner for the update. Continue reading

Seattle cancels order for infamous ‘too big’ streetcars for Center City Connector line

The First Hill Streetcar line won’t get its connection to a new line running on Seattle’s 1st Ave until the project opens in 2026 — but when the Center City Connector finally opens, it will have cars that better fit with the city’s streetcar system.

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced Monday that even though it is canceling a $52 million order for 10 streetcars for the downtown line, the project remains on track for its revised 2026 target. The canceled cars were the same vehicles Mayor Jenny Durkan made a centerpiece of her decision to pause the downtown project last year as she stoked concerns the new trams might be “too big” for Seattle’s tracks. Continue reading

He already ‘owned’ it, so why did this guy just pay $21M for First Hill’s Hotel Sorrento?

(Image: Hotel Sorrento)

Capitol Hill real estate investor and developer Mike Malone already owned the business around First Hill’s Hotel Sorrento, now he owns the building and the dirt below it — $21 million of it — and the high-rise rights that come along with the Madison property’s underutilized edges.

“I’ve spent 20 some years trying to buy the property,” Malone told CHS last week about the deal first reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal, remembering back on the 50 year lease he signed to operate the historic hotel.

“I thought, ‘Shit, I won’t even be alive.” Continue reading

Seattle Bike Blog: With Pike bike lanes going in, city also making it easier to get to Broadway bikeway

CHS reported Wednesday that the Seattle Department of Transportation is ready to lay down paint to begin a major transition of Pike from the edge of downtown to Broadway to add new bike lanes. Seattle Bike Blog has news on even more bike-friendly changes coming to the streets of Capitol Hill’s core and some important safety changes near the First Hill Streetcar route.

By the end of the year, bicyclists, scooter riders, skaters, and more will find a new, special turn lane at Denny designed to make  the start of the Broadway bikeway easier to get to, SBB reports:

As noted in the fact sheet (PDF), “Southbound cyclists often miss the entrance to the Broadway protected bike lane.” The idea here is that people biking south in the general purpose lanes on Broadway will have two options for getting into the two-way bikeway on the left side of the street starting at Denny Way: Wait in the existing two-stage turn box on the right side of the intersection until the signal changes or merge into a bike-sized left turn lane. People already make this maneuver today using the painted buffer area, but this will make it more official.

The city says the new enhancements at Broadway and Denny will have four components: Continue reading

911 | Owner stops armed First Hill car prowler, I-5 gun false alarm, Cal Anderson right-wing rally draws smaller than expected turnout

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • First Hill car prowl robbery: Police are investigating a First Hill car prowl as an armed robbery after the perpetrator was caught in the act Sunday night by the vehicle’s owner and dropped his gun in the ensuing struggle:
    Shortly after 5:00 pm on Sunday, East Precinct officers responded to the 1000 block of Spring Street for the reported robbery. The owners of the vehicle stated that they saw the suspect inside their parked car, removing items from it. A struggle ensued, with the suspect actively fighting to hold on to the stolen property. Nearby security officers heard the commotion and rushed over to assist. During the struggle, a 9mm handgun fell from the suspect’s waistband to the ground. The security officers were able to detain the suspect until officers arrived. Officers arrested the suspect. A check of the suspect’s name showed that he is a convicted felon, and thereby prohibited from possessing a handgun. A check of the gun showed that it was reported as stolen.
    Police say the 25-year-old suspect is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing the handgun that reportedly dropped from his waistband during a struggle over items ripped off from the vehicle. “A check of the gun showed that it was reported as stolen,” police write. The suspect was booked into King County Jail for investigation of robbery, felony gun charges, and possession of a stolen firearm. Continue reading

Design reviews: Knights of Columbus development’s Harvard plans, plus a ‘mass timber’ first on First Hill

A split decision last spring will bring one of twin new projects planned to rise around the historic Knights of Columbus building in front of the East Design Review Board again Wednesday night. Meanwhile, another project coming in front of the review board would create Seattle’s tallest “mass timber” building.

The 704 E Union component of the Knights of Columbus project — a planned seven-story, 37-unit apartment building that will neighbor the overhauled landmark — passed through the first stage of review in April with the board’s only concern centering on a “gasket” connection planned with the 106-year-old masonry clubhouse structure.

But before the full development can move forward to the final recommendation phase of Seattle’s design review process, its larger twin planned for the land currently dedicated to surface parking along Harvard still has a few rough edges that need to be smoothed including “unresolved issues relating to tree placement, open space and the relationship of the project to the neighbor,” the board’s report on the April session reads, the St. John’s Apartments and, most importantly to you summer drinkers, encroachment on the St. John’s bar patio. Fighting words, no? Settle down. There’s a plan. Continue reading

Driver reportedly runs over man sleeping at First Hill parking entrance — UPDATE

A man reportedly sleeping along the sidewalk at a Terry Ave parking garage entrance was treated by medics after being hit by a driver early Monday morning, according to emergency radio dispatches.

Seattle Police says it responded to the incident and may have more information soon and we have not yet heard back from Seattle Fire on specifics regarding the man’s non-life threatening injuries. UPDATE: SFD reports the victim, a 57-year-old male, was transported to Harborview in serious condition. Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s *other* train — City says First Hill Streetcar ridership continues to grow

Seattle saw a sizable increase in ridership for its streetcar lines in 2018 thanks to a 31% uptick on the First Hill Streetcar line, according to a new report submitted by the city’s Department of Transportation.

“2018 was a very positive year overall for streetcar operations,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said at a Seattle City Council committee this week.

System-wide ridership went up by 18% in 2018 and indications show another increase in early 2019 over the same period last year. All of that jump came from the First Hill line, a 2.5 mile route that connects major medical facilities, Seattle Central College, Seattle University, and mixed income communities to the King Street transportation hub.

The line, which first opened in January 2016, has seen ridership increase over each of its first three years. It also went up by nearly a quarter in the first three months of this year. Chris Eilerman, SDOT’s streetcar and transit corridors manager, added Tuesday that increases continued through at least May.

“The First Hill line continues to grow,” Eilerman said. “So far, the numbers are encouraging through the early part of 2019.” Continue reading