(Image: Annapurna Cafe)
The year-long project to build a pedestrian concourse beneath Broadway to connect to Capitol Hill Station is causing a variety of construction headaches in the area. But let’s get our priorities straight. There’s a great restaurant to support in the midst of it.
It’s no surprise Roshita Shrestha sounds a little worried when she talks about what should — eventually — be a boon for Broadway and her amazing restaurant, the Annapurna Cafe. In the meantime, her corner Denny at Broadway looks like this.
A Sound Transit spokesperson said that while no mitigation money has been made directly available to help Annapurna or any other area businesses make it through the last push to 2016′s planned opening of the light rail station, the agency’s strategy has been to support the neighborhood as a whole.
“Our focus has been on promoting and marketing Broadway through a $610K agreement with the Chamber to keep shoppers, diners and drinkers in the neighborhood,” the spokesperson wrote via email. How much that kind of mitigation can directly help a business like Annapurna is up for debate. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and Sound Transit promotional budget has included purchasing advertising on CHS and in other area media in addition to Twitter and Facebook campaigns.
The Sound Transit representative said the agency did meet with Annapurna’s ownership this week to further discuss the situation and get better signage up as soon as possible. Expect a new banner to fly any minute now. Meanwhile, Sound Transit says it is also pushing its contractors to finish the work on the west side of the street as soon as possible. Still, “this summer” is currently the best estimate for completion of the west side of Broadway portion of the work. Meanwhile, the ST rep said “the overall station” will be nearly complete by this time next year “with most of the work focused on systems installation and testing.”
UPDATE: Annapurna’s owners confirmed the meeting and said they’re hoping to see more to help them make it through the next six months. The building’s landlord, they point out, received help from Sound Transit to fill the retail berth left empty when another restaurant recently left the building.
Sujan Sharma tells CHS that in addition to immediate concerns about the lack of foot traffic potentially making the area unsafe at night, he worries about gaining new customers who might never try the restaurant because they don’t know it’s buried behind the construction fence. “New customers will never know we’re here,” he said.
You can make taking a few new customers with you part of your Annapurna mission.
Right now, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle will also need to sort out a solution for the closed sidewalk on the west side of the street and the unannounced decision to erase a block of the new Broadway bikeway. Closing a sidewalk in a dense, busy neighborhood like Broadway doesn’t really work — people move their “sidewalk” around the obstacle in question. Be careful for pedestrians in the area in the meantime. The bikeway’s abrupt northern terminus now also appears to require a more thorough solution. Sound Transit says they are working for new signs in the area to help clear up any safety issues.
Now 11 years old, Annapurna is soldiering through the remaining two years of construction and continuing to offer its delights of India, Nepal and Tibet on Broadway. Neighbor King’s Teriyaki shuttered this summer and Peet’s Coffee pulled up stakes long before that. If you’re excited about light rail but also want to help some of Broadway’s best longtimers stick around to enjoy the party, consider navigating your way through the digging and the signs to visit the area around Broadway and Denny.
You can learn more at annapurnacafe.com.