Capitol Hill smoke? Arson investigation after semi fire behind Harvard Market QFC — UPDATE

Seattle Police are investigating after a reported arson fire set a semi truck’s load ablaze on Harvard behind the Broadway at Pike QFC.

The incident began just before 8:30 AM as the truck was in the area for a grocery delivery to the nearby Bartell’s. According to East Precinct radio reports, police were interviewing at least one witness who saw a person acting suspiciously in the area.

According to Seattle Fire radio dispatches, the driver was unloading a delivery outside the QFC and returned to find someone had apparently set the contents of the trailer on fire. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Last tip-off on Knights of Columbus gym’s home court

There are big changes coming for the 106-year-old Knights of Columbus hall at Harvard and Union. There are small changes, too.

One of those is the end of decades of pick-up basketball that have put the hall’s gymnasium to use on Monday nights. It’s a loose connection of friends and family that some players have been part of from 8th grade into their ’60s. Other players have stayed in the game long enough to set a hard — but loving — pick on their children. Continue reading

Buyer plans two new buildings to join ‘adaptive reuse’ overhaul of Knights of Columbus property

(Image: City of Seattle)

The future of Harvard Ave’s 106-year-old Knights of Columbus building is a massive adaptive reuse project sandwiched by two new apartment buildings, according to early planning by the property’s new owner, SRM Development.

The Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties struck a deal for the building and its two surface parking lots with Grand Knight Tom Joyce that will net the Knights of Columbus, Seattle Council 676 some $18.55 million, according to King County records. Continue reading

Power knocked out to Seattle Central after reported electrical vault fire

A reported transformer explosion and electrical vault fire near Harvard and E Olive St. left a few rattled nerves and some smoke in the air but only Seattle Central’s main building lost power in an incident that began around 4 PM Wednesday.

Several Seattle Fire units arrived to make sure the scene was secure and no fire or live wires were threatening buildings from the City Light vault or nearby power poles.

City Light crews were called out to sort out the situation and try to restore power to the college.

There were no reported injuries.

UPDATE 6/7/18 1:15 AM: Outages around the incident spread overnight with approximately 1,200 customers without power according to City Light. The department says equipment failure is to blame for the initial incident. Service is estimated to be restored by around 7 AM.

UPDATE 6/7/18 8:25 AM: Seattle Central will be closed Thursday “due to an ongoing power outage.” The Capitol Hill campus’s daytime and evening classes are canceled.

Seattle City Light, meanwhile, tells CHS that crews were working to restore service Thursday morning and were expecting repairs to be finished before 11 AM.

“They are fixing damage to underground power lines that were damaged in a vault fire,” a City Light spokesperson said. “We don’t know the originating cause of that fire yet.”

City Light confirms that the secondary outage around 1 AM happened so that crews could complete some of the repair work safely by turning off some equipment in the area. That larger outage of around 1,000 customers had been restored though SCC remained dark as of 8:30 AM.

Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church announces it is ending congregation

A sidewalk baptism on Harvard Ave (Image: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church)

It’s not the typical Capitol Hill landlord and tenant situation we’re used to reporting here on CHS.

The Presbyterian church that has stood at the corner of Harvard and Howell for 95 years will soon be in search of a new congregation.

The Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church announced Wednesday morning that it is ending its congregation and will hold final services on Harvard Ave on June 24th and 9:45 AM. Continue reading

Club plans to put E Union Knights of Columbus property up for sale

Knights of Columbus, First Hill, Seattle

Depending on how you look at it, there is another historic Capitol Hill-area building lined up for sad destruction — or to be part of much needed redevelopment.

The Knights of Columbus, Seattle Council 676 will meet next week to hear Grand Knight Tom Joyce discuss one of the biggest decisions in the group’s 116 years as “a fraternal order of men dedicated in our Catholic faith” — the multi-million dollar decision to sell the Knights’ 106-year-old masonry building at the corner of Harvard and Union. Continue reading

Design review: Pratt Fine Arts Center development in the CD, ‘upscale’ small efficiency project on Capitol Hill

A development set to create market-rate housing and reshape a key block of Central District arts and culture and a project that proves Capitol Hill microhousing is not dead will both take their debut bows in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

1900 S Jackson
The plan announced in spring to create a full-block expansion of the Pratt Fine Arts Center in conjunction with a six-story, 160-unit mixed-use will move forward Wednesday night as developer Daniels Real Estate brings its proposal up for early design guidance.

CHS reported in April on the Pratt project as the Central District cultural center that serves more than 4,000 art students a year marked its 40th anniversary by announcing the venture with Daniels Real Estate. The art center today has 19,000 square feet of studio space in its two existing buildings, which will remain open during the expansion. The expansion will grow the campus by adding 75% of the block between S Jackson and S Main and 19th and 20th Aves. Underground parking will have space for 100 cars. Continue reading

There’s a hipster Best Western coming to Capitol Hill

A rendering of the rooftop view from the future Vib hotel

A new hotel coming to Harvard Avenue will likely be a Best Western, or more specifically, a Vib — intended to be pronounced with a long “i” as in vibe. The “stylish, urban” boutique hotel from the big brand will be just around the corner from Capitol Hill Station and could be the first of similar projects if zoning changes come to pass.

The new building on Harvard between Howell and Denny has been in the works for more than a year, and is now about halfway through the design and permitting process, said Jon Courter, a member of the ownership group.

Along the way, the project has gotten a bit smaller. Initially it had been planned for four stories of hotel, topped by three stories of residential units. But in an effort to make the rooms feel more spacious, the developers decided to lop off the top floor of residential units and have higher ceilings on each of six remaining floors.

“Every inch, every half-inch really matters in height,” Courter said. “We want people to say it’s small, but it’s well-designed.” Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | The 1892 problems at Harvard and Thomas

When you are at the intersection of Harvard and Thomas and look around, it’s impossible to not be awed and a bit baffled by the utter lack of planning and engineering.

You probably have an intersection that confuses you or an intersection you hate. Leave a comment and we’ll see if we can console you with some sort of reasoning. Meanwhile, here’s one odd truth.

What’s wrong?

Harvard and Thomas… it’s one of a kind. As it heads south Harvard changes from a normal, comfortably cozy Capitol Hill residential street into a confusing mass of concrete with no clear use or direction. Continue reading

Why they’re building a hotel and apartment building on Harvard Ave

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-4-13-49-pmAdding some hotel space and apartments to Capitol Hill was an easy decision for Jon Coulter and his business partners Rod McClaskey and Terry Boyle.

In spite of the common perception of soaring rents and developers making money hand over fist, Coulter says they are running up against some softness in the market, at least in the higher-end range where they build.

“The pressure of the rents is downward,” Coulter said. “We’re testing the top of the food chain.”

Design review: 1818 Harvard Ave

And he’s expecting that downward pressure to keep up, with hundreds, if not thousands of new units coming online over the next few years.

“We’re not sure what 380 square feet will get us in Capitol Hill in three years when it’s done,” Coulter said. Continue reading