Bauhaus and its ‘strong coffee’ will return to Capitol Hill with Harvard Ave E cafe

After finding its footing in Ballard, Bauhaus ready for Capitol Hill return (Image: Bauhaus)

Older and wiser, a legendary name in Capitol Hill coffee is preparing to return to the neighborhood.

Bauhaus, one of the earliest purveyors of Capitol Hill cafe coffee culture, is set to return to its birth neighborhood with a new project that will open in coming weeks on Harvard Ave E.

Smita Patel says she and significant other, Bauhaus founder Joel Radin will open the new Bauhaus in the 500-block Harvard Ave E cafe location recently left empty with the departure of Down Pour Coffee. Continue reading

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

What’s more painful? Running for mayor of Redmond — or closing down your struggling Capitol Hill coffee shop?

Redmond City Council member Steve Fields should have bigger things to worry about than the closing of a Capitol Hill coffee shop his wife Ronni Fields has run for three years. He’s running for mayor of the Eastside city, the state’s 18th largest.

“I’m the grassroots candidate. My opponent is very well established with lots of support from developers.”

The political match-up, in a way, parallels the August shuttering of Harvard Ave’s tiny Down Pour Coffee.

Fields says the lessons from Down Pour are about making sure you remember you’re going up against a well established system when you’re chasing your dreams of small business ownership. 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

About that early Saturday morning gunfire you heard on Capitol Hill… — UPDATE

If there is truly a staffing issue at Seattle Police and in the East Precinct, it wasn’t evident early Saturday morning after a bout of nighttime gunfire drew a small army of officers and ended with at least four people cuffed and in custody.

Five or so gunshots reportedly rang out across Pike/Pine just before 3 AM from the area near the Harvard Market parking lot. Police had already been responding to a large fight disturbance in the Broadway Mud Bay parking lot when East Precinct radio dispatches reported the firearm activity nearby. Continue reading

Truck dangles over I-5 after crashing into Harvard guardrail

(Image: @sdottraffic)

In a scene reminiscent of a much more precarious crash in 2008, a large box truck caused some traffic headaches Saturday afternoon after it crashed through a guardrail along Harvard Ave E at E Boston.

According to the Seattle Police brief on the 2:30 PM incident, the driver was headed up the steep slope of E Boston “when for an unknown reason the vehicle began rolling back down the hill, struck the guard rail and stopped.” Continue reading

What happens when a church closes on Capitol Hill

The Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church stands at 1729 Harvard Ave

On a recent Sunday, the large brick building that previously housed Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church was quiet and still. Two black couches with flaking upholstery sat in a small courtyard facing the vacant parking lot. Although a sign at the entrance advertised Sunday worship below the cheery words “visitors welcome,” the only passersby were dog owners taking their pets on a morning constitutional.

Located at the corner of Harvard Avenue and Howell Street, CHPC held its final service on June 24 at 9:45 AM after over a decade of Sunday services. Church leadership cited the inability to afford a seismic retrofit on the nearly century-old building and decreasing church membership as reasons for Capitol Hill Presbyterian’s closure. According to CHPC data from 2007 to 2017, attendance dropped from 161 to 45 members in a decade.

The church’s dwindling attendance followed regional trends: Between 2013 to 2017, the Seattle Presbytery closed six churches as its total membership fell from 17,113 to 12,762.

Since the final service, the Capitol Hill building has remained under the ownership of Seattle Presbytery — a religious organization that oversees more than 40 Presbyterian churches in the region. Presbytery staff occasionally use the building for office hours, or to hold preliminary conversations with groups interested in acquiring the property. Otherwise it remains vacant. Continue reading

Capitol Hill homeowners mount last-ditch effort against MHA upzoning… in Eastlake

The view from Harvard Ave E (Image: CHS)

They know they are probably too late. They know that after a multi-year journey of hearings, community meetings, public comment, and legal challenges, the Seattle City Council wants the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation, which connects affordability mandates to upzoning parts of the city’s densest neighborhoods, to reach its destination during a final vote Monday afternoon. Perhaps they even know Monday’s vote is basically pro forma, as council members have worked on it for years and voted unanimously to advance the legislation last month.

And, yet, a group of North Capitol Hill homeowners, along with the Eastlake Community Council, is trying to fight the upzoning of a seven-block-long (and mostly half a block-deep) sliver of I-5-bordering properties in Eastlake. The amendment for zoning increase, from low-rise to mid-rise with a height limit of 80’ on Boylston Ave. E and a short stretch of Franklin Ave. E was recently introduced and approved by the city council as part of a series of amendments that scaled back upzones across neighborhoods and increased some others. Continue reading

Destined for overhaul and preservation as part of mixed-use development, Harvard Ave’s Knights of Columbus building considered for landmarks protections — UPDATE

For a century, it was almost exclusively Catholic men called Knights who were allowed to freely roam the lounges, smoking room and bowling alley of the Knights of Columbus headquarters on the south edge of Capitol Hill. They could work out, or attend Glee Club, dinners, and public speaking classes. Women could not be members. They hung out in the Ladies Parlor.

If everything goes according to plan, by 2021 or so, people of all types will be able to roam the three-story steel and brick masonry, Renaissance Revival-style building. The new owner, SRM Development, a Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties, hopes to refurbish the historic building through adaptive reuse.

Wednesday afternoon, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the building for historical protections during a public meeting and presentation. Continue reading

Microhousing still has a home on the Hill on Harvard Ave

A trio of single-family style homes that have somehow survived in the heart of Capitol Hill at the corner of Harvard and Denny for some 116 years will make way for a planned seven-story building with 80 or so new apartment units. But first the 102 Harvard project must pass through design review. The process begins Wednesday night.

Design review: 102 Harvard Ave E

Continue reading