Broadway Whole Foods and apartment development begins design review this week

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

We showed you what the Broadway Whole Foods building will look like the minute we got our hands on the plans back in February. This week brings the first public test of the design proposal to create a 16-story, 288-unit, mixed-use development with parking for around 350 cars at the corner of Madison and Broadway where Capitol Hill and First Hill with its high-er-rise zoning meet.

The early design guidance for the Columbia Pacific Advisors development designed by Tiscareno Associates is Wednesday night:

1001 Broadway/Design Proposal (84 MB)
Review Meeting: March 4, 6:30 pm
Seattle University
1016 E. Marion St
PIGT Room #304
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3019050 permit status | notice
Planner: Lindsay King

The project will include a two-level 40,000 square-foot street-level “urban grocery” from the Texas-based chain of markets “specializing” in organic food. The project is targeted for a late 2017 to early 2018 opening and will replace the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building currently at the site.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Whole Foods has cited the coming First Hill Streetcar line and proximity to First Hill’s hospitals and nearby Seattle University as important factors in choosing the Broadway and Madison location.

We’ve embedded the full design proposal, below. Continue reading

After 90 years at the Harvard Exit, Woman’s Century Club finds a new First Hill home

8446263966_1144f4da8f“Woman’s Century Club” may remain engraved on the Harvard Exit for years to come, but the women of 124-year-old organization have left the building.

On Friday, the Woman’s Century Club will hold its annual organizing meeting — the first in decades to be held without the group’s Harvard and E Roy home. The meeting will take place at The Dearborn House, the club’s new base on First Hill. The 1907-built Spring and Minor house serves as the full-time headquarters for Historic Seattle.

The Harvard Exit was originally built as the Women’s Century clubhouse in 1925 and was transformed into a movie theater in 1968. Through an agreement with theater owners, the club continued to meet monthly in the building’s lobby until last month, after developer Scott Shapiro bought the Exit to transform it into an office and restaurant project. The Exit’s last film showed on January 8th.

Given that the modern-day club only used the space a few hours a month, club president Mimi Sheridan is confident the roughly 40-member organization will continue to press on.

“We were tied to it emotionally and it was important part of our history, but we can live on without it,” she said.

In addition to holding monthly events that feature a variety of speakers, the club also sponsors a scholarship program and charity events. During Friday’s annual meeting, Sheridan said the group will discuss plans for the upcoming year, including new programming and the future of the club without the Exit. That future won’t include the Steinway piano that stood for years in the Exit lobby, which the group is now selling.

Shapiro previously told  CHS a restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while he envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices.

Once a restaurant opens, Sheridan said club members hope to make it their unofficial hangout.

What the 16-story Broadway Whole Foods development will look like

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

(Image by Tiscareno Associates)

Probably.

Though its first round in the Seattle design review process isn’t slated until March, city planners are getting their first looks at the plans for the new Whole Foods grocery store and 16-story apartment tower planned for the intersection of First Hill and Capitol Hill at Broadway and Madison.

Developer Columbia Pacific Advisors and the architects of Tiscareno Associates are preparing plans for a 160-foot-tall, 288-unit apartment building featuring a two-level 40,000 square-foot street-level “urban grocery,” and five stories of underground parking for 374 motor vehicles and 98 bikes.

“The four sides of the project site face different neighborhoods. The design responds to these different areas with one unified concept. forms and materials wrap the corners to create continuity,” a draft of the “early design guidance” document for the project reads. Continue reading

First Hill group makes final push to stop preservation of Harborview art deco building

Harborview Hall, on the left, in 1935.

Harborview Hall, on the left, in 1935. (Image: King County)

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 5.46.04 PM

King County’s Harborview Hall preservation plan. Plans initially included leveling Harborview Hall for a plaza. (Image: King County)

It’s rare that a neighborhood group in Seattle would push for a historic building to be demolished, but the fight over First Hill’s Harborview Hall is not a typical one.

Members of the citizens advisory committee for Harborview Medical Center’s major institutions plan say they are on the ropes in a last ditch effort to have the art deco hospital building torn down to make way for some much needed public open space.

On Friday, a city hearing examiner will hear testimony over whether plans should move forward for a Harborview Hall preservation project. Continue reading

Seattle City of Literature will have center on First Hill

8445863019_336acfdb40Seattle’s quest to become an International “City of Literature” will have a home on First Hill.

The Sorrento Hotel announced Wednesday that a new “book-filled conference room at the hotel, where readers and writers can work, meet, and learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities network” is part of the project underway to overhaul the 105-year-old landmark.

“Cultural tourism is a major tenet of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and the Sorrento understands the impact cultural tourism can make, both here and abroad,” Seattle City of Literature director Ryan Boudinot is quoted as saying in the announcement. “For those who love books and writing, in Seattle and beyond, this is going to be a destination unlike any other.”

CHS reported last fall on the “Pike/Pine-style” makeover for the Sorrento with a new management company, overhauls of The Hunt Room restaurant and Fireside Room lounge, and a new look for the hotel’s Madison-facing courtyard. You’ll also soon see a giant mural on the hotels parking garage.

The Seattle City of Literature initiative seeks to include the city’s writers and literary history in the United Nations’ Creative Cities program. According to the announcement, Seattle City of Literature will organize readings, conferences, book clubs, festivals, and more at the hotel. The new meeting space is scheduled to open by spring.

In the meantime, a longtime favorite Sorrento event for lovers of literature won’t be taking place this month. January’s Silent Reading Party has been canceled, organizer and Stranger editor in chief Christopher Frizzelle announced, citing the work underway to update the Fireside Room. “I am sad to say they’re getting rid of that carpet. I love that carpet. I really wish they wouldn’t get rid of it,” he writes. “But seasons change, carpets change… Happily, the new management is not getting rid of the silent-reading party.”

Capitol Hill gets ‘efficient’ as two new-era microhousing projects face design review

"It doesn't feel like microhousing at all!" -- Guy in rendering

“It doesn’t feel like microhousing at all!” — Guy in rendering

As CHS reported last fall, Seattle’s new microhousing rules left plenty of room for aPodment-style development on Capitol Hill. One of the biggest asks for microhousing critics was to subject the “efficiency unit” building type to the Seattle design review process. Critics — and the rest of us — can see their dreams become reality at Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 2.13.46 PMBoylston Flats
1404 Boylston is familiar territory for the board. The seven-story “affordable” apartment building with 105 units averaging around 440 square feet a piece and slated to replace the 1905-built Emerald City Manor apartments took its first run through early design guidance back in November.

At that meeting, the board didn’t like what it saw and kicked the project back to microhousing developers Tyler Carr and Kelten Johnson and architect S+H Works to sort out the issues for another EDG round. Continue reading

Writer Dotty DeCoster remembered

Dotty and her family (Images courtesy David Collett)

A nearly 50-year resident of Capitol Hill and First Hill died last week — CHS was lucky to call her a friend. Dotty DeCoster, who spent her last six years on First Hill after four decades on Capitol Hill, was a writer, researcher, and historian who often worked for little more than her love for some of her favorite subjects — the people, places — and sometimes birds — of Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central Seattle.

She was an activist:

A political radical, DeCoster was involved with “old guard” leftist groups like the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and experienced the sexism within them.  “It is almost impossible to imagine what it was like in the mid-to late 60s if you were a woman.  If you went to a radical meeting you weren’t allowed to talk.”   Like other women at the time, DeCoster began to see the need for a separate space for women to exchange ideas.  Through the Free University, DeCoster encountered discussion around “the woman question”, became part of the anarchist Women’s Majority Union, and worked on the feminist journal Lilith. Quickly, radical women’s groups surfaced which were addressing the problems that mattered to them, driving the changes which would grant women further autonomy.

DeCoster’s family tells CHS she died during the week of complications from colorectal cancer. She would have turned 71 on February 1st. She is survived by daughter Tara, son Tristan and granddaughter Esme.

Despite her move to a First Hill apartment on Spring, DeCoster still identified as “Capitol Hill” and her knowledge of our history stretched back over the decades.

“In the late ’60s, the housing here was in pretty bad shape even on Capitol Hill, not just in the Central Area,” DeCoster said in a 2000 interview. “After the Boeing Crash, housing prices were so cheap that a lot of young couples bought houses here, and still live here because they can’t afford to move, but there were a lot of children here in the ’60s and ’70s. That’s not true now. You see a lot of weekend children.”

Over the years, we were lucky to share some of DeCoster’s work. You learned where the steam at Pike and Harvard comes from. You learned about Broadway’s stairway to nowhere. You learned about the vanished nighthawks of First Hill:

They also have an odd habit while perching.  Rather than sitting on tree limbs or wires or rooftops facing you (with the perch on the horizontal) they sit sideways, aligned along the perch.  Called “goatsuckers” some places, they used to be a delightful addition to the August falling star show viewed from the Capitol Hill ridge crest.

Thanks for your work and your sharing, Dotty. We learned a lot.

3,000 new residents and the need for ‘open green space’ on First Hill

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 7.19.36 PMFirst Hill might get a whole lot greener — at least in the spring and summer. 

Earlier this month, more than 150 residents of the First Hill community and representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and the Department of Planning and Development gathered at Town Hall Seattle to discuss ideas for revamping certain streets in the neighborhood to allow for more dynamic and multi-purposed public open green space. 

“Not only do streets need to function as mobility, but they need to be the front door, the place where people go to meet. They’re social spaces,” said Susan McLaughlin, project manager for the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. 

“Over the last decade First Hill has grown by over 3,000 new residents,” said Lyle Bicknell, principal urban designer with DPD and one of the speakers leading the town hall. “These new residents and workers need quality green space, in addition to those who already live here.”

During the session, First Hill residents gleaned insights into how parts of their neighborhood might be transformed within the next few years. Continue reading

SDOT responds to CHS First Hill Streetcar delay report — UPDATE

The tracks are in... now we just need the streetcars (Image: Stacy Witbeck)

The tracks are in… now we just need the streetcars (Image: Stacy Witbeck)

Here is an official statement from the Seattle Department of Transportation about CHS’s report that a SDOT official has told Capitol Hill Block Party organizers the 2.5 mile First Hill Streetcar line connecting Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill will not be ready for service in time for the annual July event.

This is the response sent to CHS about the status of the line. We’ll let you parse the statement:

As previously announced, the manufacturer of streetcars for the First Hill Line has failed to meet the delivery milestones for the six-vehicle fleet, which has delayed both testing and the start of passenger service. SDOT is assessing liquidated damages against the contract price and tracking the manufacturing progress on a daily basis. SDOT cannot establish an opening date until we are satisfied that the manufacturer can meet commitments to a revised schedule for all six vehicles.

A spokesperson for SDOT also referred us to http://seattlestreetcar.org/firsthill.htm for more info and “ship tracking for the very first streetcar coming from the Czech Republic.”

The Sound Transit-financed, SDOT-built $132 million First Hill Streetcar project includes the tracks running through streets up Jackson from Pioneer Square to Broadway across First Hill and Capitol Hill as well as a separated bikeway designed to improve the area for bikers and steer them clear of the dangerous streetcar trackbed. Continue reading

More delay for First Hill Streetcar puts open date after July Block Party

(Image: Gordon Werner via Flickr with permission to CHS)

(Image: Gordon Werner via Flickr with permission to CHS)

It may be time to add the First Hill Streetcar to the list of Seattle transit projects facing serious setbacks. After the Seattle Department of Transportation pushed back the launch date from fall 2014 to “early” 2015, CHS has learned that the SDOT now expects the Capitol Hill-to-Pioneer Square streetcar won’t be in service until at least August.

An SDOT official, speaking at last week’s meeting of the Seattle Special Events Committee, said the streetcar would not be operational for this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, which runs from July 24th-26th. SDOT media personnel did not respond to requests for comment on this story. The SDOT official who spoke at the meeting pointed us to this December update (PDF), but the document says nothing about when the streetcar would come online. Meanwhile, City Council transportation chair Tom Rasmussen also did not respond to our repeated requests for comment on the delay. Continue reading

First Hill open house to discuss ideas for creating public space in a dense, expensive neighborhood

10849746_10152681958713472_254082806541285596_nThey can construct big and tall apartment buildings on First Hill — and there are projects underway and plans to do so on a growing number of corners along Madison like here and here. Creating public space for those residents present and future and the thousands of people who work on First Hill is the goal of the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. Wednesday night, city planners will host an open house at First Hill’s Town Hall to talk about how “street spaces” and “private development” can create “a greener, more walkable neighborhood” —

Open House: First Hill Public Realm Action Plan
Wednesday, January 7 5:00 PM
First Hill’s growing residential population, cultural institutions, and influx of workers warrants high quality public spaces that meet mobility and recreational needs. The current First Hill neighborhood plan (from 1998) recognizes this need for open space in this bustling, downtown-adjacent neighborhood, but despite efforts to advance this goal, land acquisition has proven to be challenging. For this educational open house, city staff will be present to discuss open space concepts and implementation strategies for these innovative open space proposals. Moving beyond land acquisition, the plan incorporates street spaces and private development to create a greener, more walkable neighborhood.

Presenters include Susan McLaughlin, Urban Design Lead/Project Manager at Seattle Department of Transportation; Donald Harris and Chip Nevins, Department of Parks & Recreation, Property and Acquisition Services; Lyle Bicknell, Principal Urban Designer with the Department of Planning & Development; and Alex Hudson, Coordinator for the First Hill Improvement Association.

Last year, CHS wrote about the City of Seattle initiative for the First Hill neighborhood born of the challenges of acquiring adequate land for parks in the area. In 2000 and 2008 voters approved levies to fund land acquisitions for new parks on First Hill, but affordable properties are almost non-existent in one of the densest neighborhoods in the state. With Seattle’s continued growth, First Hill’s plan might end up part of the solution for the future of “parks” in the city.

A documentation of the plan including specific concepts for locations across First Hill is below.
Continue reading

Massive mural to adorn First Hill’s Sorrento Hotel parking garage

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 12.06.42 PMTransforming dreary concrete walls into interesting spray paint and paper compositions has been one of the street art movement’s greatest gifts to society. A new work is now being commissioned for such a wall on First Hill.

The group hired to apply some of the Ace Hotel “casual luxury” to the century-old Sorrento Hotel has rolled out one of their first projects: a big mural to liven up the drab exterior of the hotel’s parking garage. Magentic/ERV has teamed up with the Seattle Mural Project to commission a 32-foot by 120-foot mural for the 9th and Madison exterior. Continue reading

Displaced First Hill seniors offered discounts at retirement communities

MediaHandler

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

In September, around 200 residents of a First Hill apartment tower — many of them elderly, long-term residents of the building — went on the search for new housing after learning they would be forced to move out for an overhaul of the building starting next year.

The Panorama, a 52-year-old concrete highrise on University just east of Boren, was sold in September for $73.9 million. Shortly after the sale, new owners Security Properties notified resident they would need to be out by summer 2015 for the massive renovation.

A Federal Way-based housing company is offering seniors at Panorama special deals at two of their retirement communities: El Dorado West in Burien and Mill Ridge Village in Milton. Village Concepts is also offering to pay for residents’ moving costs and one month’s rent. Continue reading

Goodbye First Hill McDonald’s, hello 17-story mixed-use building  

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The First Hill McDonald’s franchise is an intriguing community hub. The Madison and Minor location seems to accomplish what an urban McDonald’s can be at its best: a place for surgeons, construction workers, homeless people and everyone in between to gather together for a cheap, gigantic cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Other times, it’s just weird.

Documents recently filed with the city show the First Hill McDonald’s is now a goner and slated to be torn down. Developer Holland Partners has filed permits to demolish the McDonald’s building and erect a 240,000 square foot, 17-story mixed-use development.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 2.47.11 PMDetails on the new project are sparse, but early plans call for 200 apartment units and 151 parking spaces. The Vancouver, WA based developer was also behind the similarly sized Coppins Well project next door. At the time, developers touted the Coppins Well project as the first high-rise apartment building to break ground on First Hill in 35 years.

Just a few blocks away, Whole Foods will be part of a 16-story mixed-use apartment building planned at Madison and Broadway slated to open in 2018.

CHS couldn’t reach anyone at Holland for comment about the McDonald’s project.

A representative for franchisees in the region said the Madison McDonalds has been open for about at least 17 years (see comments for memories of this location going back to the 1970s). Earlier this year, CHS reported on McDonald’s employees urging their coworkers to walk off the job for higher wages. We don’t know yet if the franchise will relocate in the neighborhood or nearby, but the possibility may get the Capitol Hill rumor mill churning again.

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