Central Co-op drops Capitol Hill Station bid over cost concerns

When the development opens in 2019, Central Co-op won’t be the retail anchor at the middle of thousands of square feet of new restaurants, shops, services and community space surrounding Capitol Hill Station. Interim CEO Garland McQueen announced the decision to drop its bid for the project Sunday night at the co-op’s annual owner meeting.

In a statement sent to CHS, McQueen said cost was the big factor: Continue reading

Central Co-op set for an E Madison facelift

Front Entry Elevation_132in sign Revised layoutCentral Co-op is getting a makeover, but nothing on the inside is going to change.

The building’s landlord, Madison Crossing, is working on some improvements to the exterior. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks, and should last about five months, assuming there are no delays in permitting or construction, the co-op’s Suzanne Schultz told CHS. The building opened in 1998, and the Co-op, moved in shortly after.

Schultz said the store plans to remain open during its normal business hours throughout the construction. She said the interior layout and selection of products will not change, nor will the look of the inside of the store.

“Most of the work is not going to be happening in our store,” she said. Continue reading

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

Chophouse Row welcomes Cake Skincare, HONED jewelry, and neighborhood bodega Sundry

Katrina Rising, owner of Cake Skincare, stands in her new shop in Chophouse Row.

Katrina Rising, owner of Cake Skincare, in her new shop in Chophouse Row.

Cake Skincare has settled into its new Chophouse Row location and owner Katrina Rising is looking forward to meeting new clients.

“Now we are able to add on some more hours and that will give us some breathing room to play again with new people, which we’re so excited about,” Rising said.

Cake held its grand opening party in December and since the new year rolled in, the second location has hit a smooth flow, she said. The Capitol Hill location is the second Cake spot in Seattle with the first opening in Queen Anne in 2009 where Rising and her aestheticians have been building a reputation as the eyebrow experts of the neighborhood.

“The neighborhoods are different … and I really wanted each place to serve its neighborhood and have its own vibe of that neighborhood,” Rising said. Rising said Cake at Queen Anne was getting a bit squished. Now about half of Cake’s clients go to the Capitol Hill location for their beauty needs. “It really has been this pull, and I’m glad that we listened because people were really wanting us to come over here,” Rising said.

Along with Cake, two other new tenants also now call Chophouse Row home. Continue reading

E Pike rumor dot com: Amazon just might be opening a grocery store on Capitol Hill

It's not very interesting inside... yet (Image: CHS)

It’s not very interesting inside… yet (Image: CHS)

A bookstore in U Village. A drive-up grocery store in Ballard. A checkout-less convenience store on 7th Ave in Amazon-ville. With Amazon’s voice control platform Alexa reportedly “stealing the show” at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the retailing giant has also been busy innovating and testing new concepts in its home city. But, so far, none of its “meatspace” experiments have made a home on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of its employees live.

That might be about to change.

CHS has learned that an Amazon executive central to the rollout of the company’s retail projects including 7th Ave’s Amazon Go checkout-less concept is involved in the giant and highly secretive retail project slated to fill a 10,000 square-foot retail space in the Mercedes Benz dealership-turned AVA Capitol Hill development in the 600 block E Pike.

A development manager for Avalon Communities declined to comment telling CHS he was not allowed to discuss the tenant and Amazon has not replied to inquiries about the project.

The Amazon senior program manager included in City of Seattle filings on the project worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go, according to his Linked In profile. Continue reading

You can soon ‘Go’ to Amazon’s new automagic grocery store on your way back to Capitol Hill

Only a mile from the crowd around the self check-out kiosks at the Harvard Market QFC, a new shopping experience — probably worked on by a few Capitol Hill residents who have stood in that crowd — will be unveiled early next year on 7th Ave.

Amazon Go will be a “self driving” grocery store in Seattle’s burgeoning new Amazonia neighborhood where shoppers can walk in and walk out with anything they like — without having to wait to ring up their purchases.

“What if we could weave the most advanced machine learning, computer vision and AI into the very fabric of a store, so you never have to wait in line,” the promo video released Monday morning asks. “No lines, no checkout, no registers — welcome to Amazon Go.”

The company’s secret grocery project comes as the retail giant has laid claim to around a third of the country’s online holiday spending this year and many industry watchers have been predicting advances with delivery technology like drones. The company is also planning drive-up grocery stores with a prototype nearly ready to open in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

While the planned Amazon Go debut in 2017 at 2131 7th Ave has garnered a lot of buzz, we’ll be more impressed when the retailer shows its new system can work on Broadway where many grocery shoppers have been employing a version of “just walk out technology” for years.

“Take whatever you like. Anything you pick up is automatically added to your virtual card. If you change your mind about that, Cupcake, just put it back…”

CHS Pics | Shopping the night market at Chophouse Row

Wednesday nights, the bounty of Vashon Island and the fertile Skagit Valley is delivered to Capitol Hill. CHS stopped through the first ever Chophouse Row night market last week. You can now enjoy the new Capitol Hill farmers market every week, rain or shine.

“It’s mellow but that’s to be expected,” flower vendor Brita Fisher told CHS during our visit to the 11th Ave courtyard of the restaurant and office development just off E Pike.

“Especially in this part of the city where people are coming home from work, a lot of people live around here. It’s great,” another vendor selling apples said. Continue reading

Central Co-op CEO announces exit

arnettAs Central Co-op attempts to win a place anchoring the commercial development around Capitol Hill Station and repair the situation in Tacoma where it is looking for a new location to open a market after this year’s merger, it will do so while searching for a new leader.

CEO Dan Arnett told the 40-year-old cooperative’s members Thursday he will be stepping down in December to head a co-op in Sacramento. Arnett told CHS he was ready for a new challenge and that controversy over the closure of Central Co-op Tacoma had no impact on his decision to leave Seattle.

8446998444_a8c3a36dab“It’s really irrelevant to my decision making process,” he said. “There’s always some group that’s mad about something.”

Overseeing the merger of the Tacoma co-op with the  E Madison-headquartered Central Co-op was one of Arnett’s most significant accomplishments during his four years in Seattle. The Tacoma store later closed when Central Co-op could not reach an agreement on a new lease. Arnett said there were no plans for Central Co-op to make any further mergers, with Sacramento or elsewhere.

Last month, CHS reported on the frustrations of Tacoma co-op members following the abrupt closure of their store in the wake of a merger. Christine Cooley of Tacoma’s Friends of the Co-op group told CHS that she hopes Arnett’s resignation could expedite the opening of a new Tacoma store. “I worry a lot for Sacramento,” she said.

Continue reading

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

As it seeks bigger presence on Capitol Hill, Central Co-op faces scrutiny over Tacoma closure

13895466_1758284874439311_5546797305899163347_n

Co-op members gather in Tacoma Sunday to watch a live tweeting of a “community conversation.” (Image: Friends of the Co-op)

As Central Co-op continues its effort to open a second Seattle grocery store above the Capitol Hill light rail station, some members from the cooperative’s recently closed Tacoma branch want to know when they will get their store back.

The Tacoma Central Co-op closed in July when the board of trustees said it could not come to terms with the property owner on a new lease. CEO Dan Arnett said financial issues were also at play and the grocery store would have closed in the first quarter of 2016 had the merger with Central not taken place.

Some Tacoma members say they were blindsided by the closure and have been left in the dark about the future of their co-op. A group of Tacoma members have since started holding weekly meetings to demand more transparency from the board. On Sunday, Friends of the Co-op founder Monique Smith said Tacoma members drew up a list of questions for the board, including questions about the co-op’s finances. They also want the board to commit to opening a store in Tacoma within two years.

“The Tacoma community was devastated because they had worked so hard to get the co-op in that location, to serve the 6th Ave community, and to get to the point of growth in profits,” Smith said. “Without involving the Tacoma community, without asking for fundraising help to keep the co-op alive, a board of 11 members, two of which represented Tacoma, decided to close the Tacoma location.” Continue reading