CHS Pics | Jackson’s Lake Chad open ‘until they force me to close’

Felix Ngoussou isn’t going down without a fight. The owner of S Jackson’s Lake Chad cafe tells CHS he’s staying open “until they force me to close.” Saturday night, CHS stopped through a party at Lake Chad with the Jim O’Hollaran Trio and an effort from friends and neighbors to try to boost business.

CHS wrote about Ngoussou’s efforts to keep Lake Chad open last month. The entrepreneur and community leader tells CHS he hopes to keep Lake Chad open as a cooperative-style coffee shop that can serve as a community meeting and work space. Our report wasn’t all bad news, Ngoussou tells us. In it, he got first word his Seattle Business Education Hub nonprofit was tabbed for $164,000 in funding from the city.

In the meantime, Lake Chad remains open and ready for Central District neighbors around 23rd and Jackson to stop in. You can find it at 1712 S. Jackson. Learn more at facebook.com/lakechadcafe.coffee.

Two Central District cafes facing closure point finger at Seattle City Hall

They both have become familiar faces whenever Central District small businesses are being discussed — usually in the context of the next big development or the next big infrastructure project promised to bring change to the neighborhoods their cafes have called home. Neighbors are now saying their goodbyes to Felix Ngoussou’s Jackson St. Lake Chad Cafe and Sara Mae’s 701 Coffee.

The 23rd and Cherry cafe owner Mae said she takes personal responsibility for 701’s closure but said she also lays blame with Seattle City Hall and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant for what she predicts will be a wave of Central District closures:

701 is just one in a line of real small businesses in the Central District that have been forced to close. We aren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last. I firmly believe this trend will continue. There’s certainly no elected official—Kshama—that is going to give two shits about the plight of Central District Small Businesses. We have an elected official in the Central District who isn’t willing to devote some of her time and political capital to assuring that there is prosperity on the horizon for Central District small businesses. Instead she has created a movement that is based on resentment, and divisive political rhetoric that serves no purpose but to hold power, and keep people who are struggling trapped in a cycle of spinning their wheels, waiting for her precious cake. Frankly, all we have received in the aggregate from Kshama in all of this is Central District small business circumstances that has worsened under her reign.

Continue reading

After ‘nightmare’ arson fire, Med Mix returns to the Central District

Tuesday, we found out just how many people love tacos and broke some news about the future of food and drink at 23rd and Union. Today, CHS has good news on a sad part of 23rd and Union’s restaurant past. Five years after an arson fire destroyed its 23rd and Union shop, Med Mix is open again in the Central District.

Owner Otmane Bezzaz dropped CHS a note earlier this week to announce that, “after years of trying to come back,” his new location just off 23rd and Jackson is now open. 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

Pratt Fine Arts Center plans expansion in mixed-use development

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

(Image: Pratt Fine Arts)

Pratt Fine Arts Center’s plans to expand are moving forward with designs in progress and money in the bank to anchor a six-story, mixed-use development on the block it calls home at 20th and Jackson.

“In order to achieve Pratt’s long term vision, we have worked tirelessly to find the best way to accommodate Pratt’s growing need for additional facilities to better serve art students and independent artists,” Steve Galatro, Pratt executive director said. “This multifaceted development will expand our capacity, unlock new potential, strengthen the connections to our neighborhood, and ensure that creativity thrives in a dynamic urban campus for many years to come.” Continue reading

Police chase down Grand Am after reported Central District drive-by

Two people were taken into custody after a swift and heavy response from Seattle Police to a reported drive-by shooting Monday morning near 25th and Jackson.

Police were called to the area just after 11 AM to a report that two people had been shot at by a passing vehicle near 25th and Jackson. With no reported injuries at the scene, police began searching for the gold Pontiac Grand Am reported to have been involved in the shooting.

The car was spotted by police headed north on Rainier and was chased to MLK before the Grand Am was eventually ditched near 31st and Bayview and at least three occupants fled on foot.

According to police radio dispatches, officers were able to quickly surround the area and begin searching backyards on the block where the car was ditched. Around 11:20 AM, an officer reported he had one person held at gunpoint. Officers soon reported two people were taken into custody. A K9 unit and the Sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter were also searching the area for a possible third person who may have been in the vehicle but that female suspect was not found. Police said two people were detained after the incident.

The incident comes amid increased concerns from community members and businesses about Central District gunfire incidents.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a brief on the incident:

Officers chased down two suspects Monday following a drive-by shooting in the Central District. Around 11:15 AM, police received reports that someone in a gold Pontiac had fired at two men walking on the street near 25th Avenue and Jackson Street. Officers spotted the suspects’ vehicle and followed it to 23rd Avenue and South College Street, where two suspects ditched their car and took off on foot. Police caught up to the men and took them into custody. No one was injured in the incident. Officers attempted to contact the victims following the incident, but they declined to provide statements to police. The SPD Gang Unit is investigating and asks that anyone with information call (206) 684-4585.

 

Sorry, Andrew Jackson, Seattle should rename its street named after you

In 1986, Ron Sims, the first black person to be a member of the King County Council, introduced a motion to repair his county’s recognition of history by changing its namesake from an obscure, pre-Civil War United States vice president and slaveholder to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The motion passed, barely, 5-4. With history’s twists as knotted as ever this Presidents’ Day 2017, CHS wonders if another namesake change is in order.

Today, Jackson Street runs from the Central District to the International District and honors the nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson:

King Street was named by David Maynard in his 1853 Plat of the Town of Seattle, one of the first three plats laying out the street grid. (The other two plats, north of Maynard’s, were filed by Carson Boren and Arthur Denny). Maynard, a staunch Democrat, named many of the streets in his plat for Democratic leaders, including Andrew Jackson, John B. Weller (Governor of California), and Joseph Lane (Oregon Territory’s Congressional delegate).

As was William Rufus Devane King, Jackson was also a slaveholder. Beyond his battlefield prowess, he is remembered for The Indian Removal Act. His populism and, apparently, temper have also become a historical model for the Trump administration. Continue reading

Med Mix preparing for Central District return

An excited reader sent in this picture of the good news on Jackson


A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

Med Mix is finally ready to return to the Central District.

Owner Otmane Bezzaz confirmed with CHS Monday afternoon his new restaurant is under construction on S Jackson and says he is happy to be returning to the neighborhood after a 2013 arson fire destroyed his first Central District location at 23rd and Union.

“It’s been a three-year nightmare,” Bezzaz told CHS of the long, painful process of losing the 23rd and Union restaurant after just over a year of business at the corner. Continue reading

Beery good news: Central District’s Standard Brewing announces plans to expand on Jackson

(Image: CHS)

The Standard Brewing crew (Image: CHS)

In March, we stopped by to celebrate two years of the tiny Central District nano brewery:

It’s been 24 months since quietly opening the door at 25th and Jackson St with 8 taps and about 80 square feet of service area. Since then, we’ve expanded to 13 taps, doubled the space for folks to sit and drink, won a few awards, brewed over 60 different recipes, and shared a lot of good times with the neighborhood.

This week, the brew crew at Standard Brewing announced plans for an expansion that will septuple their beer output and add a bar space for enjoying the creations along with food and cocktails. Co-owner Justin Gerardy said the most important aspect as they planned the expansion was remaining in the Central District. “In our case, space is the constraint, but so are our ideals,” the Standard announcement reads. “Not wanting to leave the neighborhood leaves our options slim, but the choice to keep the brewery relatively small also affords us diversity and an experimental attitude.”

Gerardy said the expansion will play out over the summer with a project to overhaul the brewing facility coming first followed by Standard’s expansion into the neighboring Halal Mart to create space for the bar and kitchen.

Meanwhile, another Central Seattle beer project is moving forward at a deliberate pace on E Union at Broadway. This for the work underway at the under construction Optimism Brewing might be our favorite DPD permit in months:

Description of Work: INSTALL STEAM PIPING FROM BOILER TO: HOT LIQUOR TANK, MASH KETTLE, BREW KETTLE – MAIN FLOOR

CHS last checked in here on the Optimism project and its food truck courtyard as we said hello to 12th Ave’s Outer Planet Brewing.

The full Standard Brewing announcement — along with some behind the scenes notes on other locations Standard considered for a move including the former home of Catfish Corner — is below. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Second annual Jackson Street Jazz Walk

Alex Dugdale at Casa Latina (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Alex Dugdale at Casa Latina (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

For such an out-of-the-way place, Seattle has had a remarkable jazz history. The action began as early as 1918, when Lillian Smith’s jazz band played at Washington Hall. It kept going strong all through Prohibition, as an authentic black jazz scene developed around the hub of Jackson Street and Twelfth Avenue. Even Jelly Roll Morton stopped off to play in the district, in 1920; he later wrote a rag, “Seattle Hunch,” to commemorate his visit. — Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle by Paul de Barros

Outside Pratt Fine Arts Center

Outside Pratt Fine Arts Center

Saturday, the second annual Jackson Street Jazz Walk honored the street’s legacy and filled spaces up and down this edge of the Central District with music and performance.

Organized by the Jackson Commons community group, the free event is still fighting for attention at the citywide (CHS told you about it here) level but neighbors got excellent seats for acts like Industrial Revelation, Tubaluba, Congress, Syrinx Effect, Cornish Jazz, and Gail Pettis performing in a mix of community venues including Casa Latina, Wonder Cafe, Cheeky Cafe, and the Pratt Fine Arts Center.

You can learn more about this year’s performers and how to get involved in the event at jazzwalk.org.