With brakes momentarily tapped on 15th Ave E development, Hilltop Service Station rolls on under new owner

Closure of Capitol Hill’s Hilltop Service Station seemed inevitable this year after CHS first reported that after 48 years, the family-owned 15th Ave E property was officially promised to developer Cadence Capital for sale in July. Two months later, Hilltop is still a busy garage and there is a new but familiar owner.

“It’s the same great service that everybody is used to, just a little bit scaled down,” said Jim Peters, master mechanical technician who took over the service station this month.

Peters says even after 20 years at the station, people ask if he’s new to the garage. Usually the one under the hood, now he’s the only one left and doing it all himself with the occasional hand from the well known station crew who have gone on to seek their own fresh start when the sale was first announced. Continue reading

Process begins to guide Kaiser Permanente’s $400M Capitol Hill campus renovation

Capitol Hill’s first hospital has come a long way since 1945, when an idealistic group of doctors founded the Group Health Cooperative based on the idea that healthcare should be provided affordably and at hospitals owned and staffed by physicians. They acquired St. Luke’s on 15th at John, and together the hospital and neighborhood grew together for more than seven decades. Group Health became one of the country’s largest consumer-directed healthcare organizations, but in 2015 2017 it was acquired by Kaiser Permanente, one of the biggest not-for-profit health plans in the United States.

As part of an effort to remodel its Capitol Hill campus by 2022, Kaiser announced a $400 million project last year to improve access to primary and specialty care and provide community spaces for public use. The process to shape that project has begun.

The remodeled campus won’t be any bigger than it is now, according to Kaiser Permanente’s Julie Popper, but it will provide better specialty and out-patient care so that members can get the treatment they need and get on with their day.

“We’re not building any higher. We’re not expanding any further. Patients want to get help and go home at the end of the day,” she said. “We really want to bring the building to the cutting edge in healthcare today.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s last independent service station’s days numbered as developer has deal for 15th Ave E corner

After more than half a century of business on Capitol Hill, the Hilltop Service Station on 15th Ave E is slated to be no more. Customers have been told the station’s last day of service is coming — possibly this week.

Cadence Capital, a Colorado-based real estate and development firm, finalized an agreement to purchase the property last month, according to King County records, making the deal official and paving the way for the property to be acquired and redeveloped. Financial details and terms of the memorandum of agreement are not yet publicly available.  Continue reading

Police investigate reported gunpoint hold-up at Malden and Mercer — UPDATE

Seattle Police investigated an armed robbery involving four masked suspects overnight on Capitol Hill.

Police were called to the area near E Mercer and Malden just after 4 AM to a report of a gunpoint robbery. The suspects were described only as four black males, each wearing a black hoodie and bandanas over their faces. The suspects fled in a BMW SUV last seen northbound on Malden. According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the victims reported the group was armed with what appeared to be a silver .38 revolver.

UPDATE: According to the report on the incident, one of the victim’s was also punched in the face as the thieves took cash and destroyed a phone: Continue reading

Scary 911 call at 17th and Olive turns out to be false report

A scary looking 911 callout from overnight

Seattle Police and Seattle Fire were dispatched to a terrible situation overnight on Capitol Hill but fortunately the incident turned out to be a false report.

Just before 4 AM Thursday, a caller to 911 reported that he had shot and killed multiple people and was ready to kill himself. The caller would not provide his location but police were able to track the call to the area around 17th and E Olive St. Continue reading

Defiant Ruckus growing as Capitol Hill’s non-Ike’s pot shop

Ruckus Recreational on E Republican at 15th expanded their tiny grass shop into the joint next door in January but no one on the staff remembers which day exactly. With the square footage of a van, the original low profile boutique could easily be overlooked.

“That space didn’t allow us to expand our product line,” said Ruckus owner Sam Burke, yet sales at Ruckus are only getting higher. The company grossed $261,000 in December 2017 and has grown 13.3% annually since opening two years ago, according to industry tracker Top Shelf Data.

Compared to Uncle Ike’s, the Goliath weed stronghold with a location across the street, one at 23rd and Union, and another in the works on E Olive Way, Ruckus was also an easy target for thieves. After five separate smash and grab break-ins, Burke increased security measures of the newly expanded shop.

The store opens every day at 8 AM to a sleepy stream of regulars who point to what they want with little deliberation.

“It’s just like getting up and going to buy a pack of cigarettes,” says Ruckus product buyer, Bill Eddy. Continue reading

Capitol Hill property owner takes Sullivan House landmark decision to court

Lawyers are asking the King County Superior Court to reject a well-worn, dilapidated 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion recently approved as a Seattle historic landmark.

Saying that the decision has “prejudiced” their client by “causing the loss of a sale” and “substantially destroying the economic value of the property,” lawyers for the estate that owns the Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. filed the lawsuit last month after the old mansion became one of the city’s most unlikely properties to go forward in the designation process that sets up controls and incentives on certain properties deemed worthy of preservation by a city convened board.

In the suit, lawyers for Elaine Thorson, the retired schoolteacher they say moved from California and plunged her life’s savings into buying out other heirs to her deceased aunt’s unique Capitol Hill apartment property, are asking the court to reverse the land use decision on the house and send the mansion back to Seattle Landmarks Board with direction to “reject the landmark nomination based on the severe economic impact such a designation will have (and has had) on the petitioners.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | What happened with Galbraith House

Galbraith House as of January 26th. Photo by Tom Heuser

When I saw the headlines last month that Galbraith House, a protected landmark would be demolished, my heart sank and I had to do a double take. How does a Capitol Hill landmark get cleared for demolition? The whole point of the landmarks ordinance is to prevent demolition not to enable it. I read the articles and the comments, and asked around thinking I had missed something, but only found misconceptions, half-truths, and dead ends (quite literally in one case). So I went straight to the source.

I scoured the Landmarks Preservation ordinance and the past 12 years of board meeting minutes, spoke extensively with city staff and other preservation advocates, and put all the pieces together. What I learned is a serious one-two punch to preservation that deserves our immediate attention. Now for those not familiar with the whole process, let’s start by taking a tour of the city’s landmarks ordinance. I will only cover the most salient points. Consider this a quick crash course.

The Ordinance: Landmarks designation is a four-step process and the city’s website lists and summarizes each very clearly. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Sullivan House voted for landmarks protections

Its owner says it is dilapidated, rotted in places, infested by bugs in others, and she had plans to sell it to a developer with plans to tear it down, but the 1898-built Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. has new life after the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted Wednesday night 6-2 that the old house is worthy of its protections.

“We think it still is a castle on the Hill despite its poor condition,” said neighbor and architect Jim Castanes who was reduced to examining the house from afar using “a zoom lens and binoculars” but successfully led the effort to win the landmarks designation.

“The board has the power to keep the wrecking ball from this well-loved residence,” Castanes said.

In reaching their decision, board members focused on the old house’s “distinctive visible characteristics” of Queen Anne-style architecture as well as its prominent place at 15th and E Olive St. as one of the last of its kind in an evolving residential area of Capitol Hill. “You can see a lot of what makes it beautiful,” one board member said. “We are landmarking what exists today.” Continue reading

New owners, new chapter at Capitol Hill classic the Canterbury

Just under four years after reopening with new owners and a major overhaul, 15th Ave E medieval dive bar turned medieval not-so-dive bar the Canterbury Ale House has new ownership.

Business partners Pavit Jagga and Ryan Lewis are taking over the 15th at Mercer watering hole. You might hear Capitol Hill favorite yo, son Macklemore on the sound system but, no, it’s not that Ryan Lewis.

Entrepreneur Jagga tells CHS that this Ryan Lewis is the owner behind Belltown’s Amber and that the two friends will be working together to bring new energy to the “one of a kind” 15th Ave E bar that Jagga has long coveted. Expect a new food menu soon and a wider selection of beer, wine, and booze.

The new owners take over from two big players in Capitol Hill nightlife. Continue reading