Fire in E Howell apartment and restaurant building investigated — UPDATE: Arson

Thanks @flyguy84 for the pictures from the scene

The Seattle Fire Marshal was investigating Monday night after firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze inside a 1925-built E Howell apartment building home to 40 apartment units and the Kedai Makan restaurant.

Smoke and fire were first reported in the 400-block E Howell Burlingame Apartments building off E Olive Way around 7:35 PM. Seattle Fire units quickly brought the blaze on the mezzanine level in the building’s residential entrance under control. One early report indicated the fire may have involved a couch.

The building was evacuated during the response and SFD was checking smoke levels inside to make sure it was safe for residents and customers. Kedai Makan is not open for business on Monday nights.

The Fire Marshal was called to the scene to determine what caused the blaze.

Seattle Fire reports there were no injuries.

A person familiar with the situation, tells CHS that a bartender at Montana, on the other side of the block from the blaze, may have helped save the building when he noticed smoke coming through an emergency exit door, grabbed an extinguisher, and jumped into action. Continue reading

Redwood has goodbye date as plans for new building — and possible future bar space — take shape

The future of the Redwood

This being Capitol Hill, it’s probably not hugely surprising that the public design review process for a seven-story microhousing project should be fully in synch with the fate of the dive bar it is set to replace. In an announcement coinciding with the project’s first review in January, CHS reported the news that the Redwood would be closing November 16, 2017. We can now report that, with the second and likely final design review meeting for the project coming up this week, the Redwood will NOT be closing on November 16.

It’s a Thursday, turns out. One final blowout on November 18th makes a lot more sense. UPDATE: Uh oh. Change of plans. The Redwood’s final night is Halloween.

“We plan to close our doors Saturday November 18th (thinking the weekend would be a good last chance to say goodbye),” Lisa Brooke tells CHS, “then we move all our stuff out and will bring it to Port Angeles, where we hope to open a bar/restaurant.”

The Redwood’s heart and soul will live on — it’ll just be on the Olympic Peninsula. Someday, a little Redwood could possibly rise again on Capitol Hill, however.

600 E Howell
The 76-unit Blueprint Howell development planned for the Redwood’s lot is designed by S+H Works to emphasize a “narrow and articulated” form that would focus the mass of the project along Howell and the west of the property while locating the street-level commercial space on the southwest corner of the lot. To make the preferred layout work, developers are asking for a series of zoning departures on the building’s setbacks — back in January, the design board was cool with the exceptions.

Design Review: 600 E Howell

There will be no parking spots for cars but the building should have space for about 56 bikes.

The project’s 1,200 feet of commercial space won’t be ready for years but it could eventually be home to a reborn Redwood or another project from the Brookes. Continue reading

Here’s how much the City of Seattle spent to license Pac-Man for its Capitol Hill pavement park

$0. Turns out, a municipality can (probably) use all sorts of characters in its civic investments.

Along with our questions about the logistics of the pavement park program, CHS asked the Seattle Department of Transportation about any licensing arrangement required for Summit at Howell at E Olive Way’s Pac-Man Park. It’s all about fair use, a spokesperson tells CHS:

SDOT worked closely with attorneys on evaluating this installation under the Fair Use Act provisions. SDOT believes that the use of the Pac Man inspired mural falls into the non-profit educational clause of the Act- particularly because this interpretation on a street is transformative and new; it captures the original use and design for an entirely different, educational, and not-for-profit purpose. Because we are not using the image for proprietary purposes, the city’s attorneys considered this installation to be defensible.

Forgive us for being paranoid. Capitol Hill just happens to have a history of litigation related to some of its more popular examples of street art.

Meanwhile, this might be now be the closest point to the park at which to play its namesake game:

Clever Dunne’s, Capitol Hill’s ‘Irish House,’ to close at end of month

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

2017 is shaping up to be a sad year for the neighborhood bars of E Howell. Wednesday night, the staff and management of Clever Dunne’s are telling regulars the bad news. At the end of January, the Capitol Hill Irish pub will close.

“It came quick,” Dunne’s manager Jared Thomson tells CHS. “We knew things were happening but not like this.”

Thomson said Clever Dunne’s had another two years on its lease but the pub’s deal has been bought out and the drinking spot needs to be shut down and moved out by January 31st. Continue reading

Enjoy the Annapurnas and The Redwoods you know and love… 2017 is coming

In this week of regrets and coulda, woulda, shouldas, here is an opportunity to get ahead of the sadness and enjoy some of your favorite things before… well, things change.

Two design reviews being planned for the start of 2017 have big implications for two Capitol Hill small businesses that have grown into neighborhood favorites.

First, on January 11th, the first review is planned for the seven-story apartment building slated to replace the block where The Redwood stands today.

Two weeks later, subterranean Broadway eatery Annapurna and its street-level Yeti Bar will watch as the six-story mixed-use project set to replace its home gets its first review.

Both procedural events will start the clock ticking on the end as we know it for the popular neighborhood joints. You will have at least a year for the design review process to play out and typically several more months for the demolition and construction permits to be lined up. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Redwood bar still stands

Eventually Capitol Hill’s Redwood may be branching out to a new location outside of Seattle, but for now it is still standing at its home of more than 10 years at Howell and Belmont.

Bar owners Lisa and Mat Brooke, a former member of the rock band Band of Horses, signed another six-month lease in May as plans to demolish the building and construct apartments continue to be delayed.

“As awful as it all is … I’m glad they’re actually working with us,” Lisa said about the developers who are keeping them updated. Continue reading