American Apparel closures set to leave another space on Broadway empty

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

There is about to be another empty commercial space on Broadway but this time the economic forces that are driving the closure extend well beyond Capitol Hill.

The American Apparel store at Broadway and John will be one of 110 stores across the country as well as its Los Angeles headquarters set to be shut down after the financially troubled retailer that was once valued at more than $1 billion was acquired in a bankruptcy sale earlier this month for $88 million.

“Founder Dov Charney charted a maverick path when he moved a nascent American Apparel to Los Angeles in 1997 and began manufacturing its cotton basics in the region,” the LA Times writes. “The company’s colorful garments and provocative advertising quickly caught on with young fashionistas.” But what followed was debt and, eventually, bankruptcy that left the dwindling chain unable to recover. Continue reading

Capitol Hill real estate moguls step in with $20k push for group backing Lid I-5 study, $10M+ Pine-Boren lid

The Lid I-5 campaign announced it has secured $20,000 in contributions thanks to two Capitol Hill real estate investors to help its push for a plan that could cover the interstate “in the city center and other neighborhoods.” The group says there is also growing momentum in City Hall behind its idea for a “short term” “proof-of-concept” lid project at Pine and Boren.

Michael Malone of Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital promised a $10,000 donation to the group if it could raise another 10 grand to match. Lid I-5 announced Joe Nabbefeld, broker at Windermere Capitol Hill, stepped up with the contribution. The funding raised the group’s total raised to more than $30,000 in 2016. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Pike’s place on Capitol Hill

Pike and Minor, 1902 and 2017

Pike Street west from the edge of Minor in 1902 post-regrade blended with yesterday, January 14, 2017. The 1902 image is fantastic and worth seeing on its own. (Washington State Archives; blend by Rob Ketcherside)

John Pike

John Pike as an old man, from his 1903 obituary (Seattle Times)

John Henry Pike never lived in our midst. But the street named after him cuts the southern border of our neighborhood, and the improvement of Pike Street led directly to the creation of Capitol Hill. So let’s celebrate him and the street he begat.

John Pike
He was born in Massachusetts, probably Springfield, more than two centuries ago: 1814. Like Seattle’s founding fathers he was part of the “Go West” era of American history. European immigrants and young descendants of early Americans alike all moved successively farther west.

After living in western New York for many years, Pike found himself in the early 1850s living with wife and son in the fateful farming town of Princeton, Illinois.

If you find it on a map today you’ll see a cluster of commercial buildings with a road leading out of town to a freeway and a Walmart. Zoom out beyond the residences and the map is swallowed by farmland. Eventually Chicago appears to the east and Peoria to the south. Continue reading

Amazon grocery? Maybe — A Capitol Hill Kyoto-style ramen joint? Tentenyu

Snuggled around the corner next to what just might be a new Amazon grocery store on Capitol Hill will soon be what is definitely another new ramen joint coming to Capitol Hill.

The company with the “exclusive license agreement” with a Japanese ramen legend is bringing Tentenyu’s Kyoto-style tori paitan ramen to Capitol Hill on Belmont Ave inside the preservation-boosted, sparkly-blue above old Mercedes dealership-brick AVA Capitol Hill development.

Here is the expansion pitch: Continue reading

Neumos closes for two-month overhaul, Moe Bar change

The stage at Neumos — the true center of Pike/Pine’s sometimes raucous nightlife scene — is starting 2017 with two months of quiet.

The partners behind the nightlife complex at the southwest corner of Pike and 10th tell CHS that when Neumos and its sibling lounge reopen after a two-month overhaul, the club will be reborn with “a full systems and facility upgrade” including everything from bathrooms, bars, and the heating and cooling, to the all-critical sound system. You can also expect a new life for the old Moe Bar. Continue reading

Work to strengthen Capitol Hill’s grid continues with E Union underground project

Shoes on the wires. Seattle, WA. August 2016.

east_union_overall_project_map-1024x759Slowly but surely, Seattle City Light is moving Capitol Hill’s electrical wires underground to create a safer, more stable power system for the neighborhood.

A five-month project to install underground electrical vaults and equipment will begin later this month along E Union on the backside of Pike/Pine, the city announced this week. Continue reading

E Pike rumor dot com: Amazon just might be opening a grocery store on Capitol Hill

It's not very interesting inside... yet (Image: CHS)

It’s not very interesting inside… yet (Image: CHS)

A bookstore in U Village. A drive-up grocery store in Ballard. A checkout-less convenience store on 7th Ave in Amazon-ville. With Amazon’s voice control platform Alexa reportedly “stealing the show” at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the retailing giant has also been busy innovating and testing new concepts in its home city. But, so far, none of its “meatspace” experiments have made a home on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of its employees live.

That might be about to change.

CHS has learned that an Amazon executive central to the rollout of the company’s retail projects including 7th Ave’s Amazon Go checkout-less concept is involved in the giant and highly secretive retail project slated to fill a 10,000 square-foot retail space in the Mercedes Benz dealership-turned AVA Capitol Hill development in the 600 block E Pike.

A development manager for Avalon Communities declined to comment telling CHS he was not allowed to discuss the tenant and Amazon has not replied to inquiries about the project.

The Amazon senior program manager included in City of Seattle filings on the project worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go, according to his Linked In profile. Continue reading

Joining Womxn’s March on Seattle, Capitol Hill restaurant hosting Anti-Defamation League fundraiser to mark Trump’s inauguration

Chef Renee Erickson and partners at her company Sea Creatures are stepping up against intolerance with a fundraiser at her Bar Melusine on Donald Trump’s January 20th inauguration day.

“I think we were all feeling, given the current kind of climate in our community, we wanted to do something on inauguration day that would be a little bit more positive and uplifting,” Jeremy Price, Erickson’s partner at Sea Creatures told CHS.

It will be part of a weekend of protest and speaking out in Seattle though the largest planned event will be a silent one.

Thousands are expected to march on downtown on the Saturday following the Inauguration in the Womxn’s March on Seattle:

On January 21st, 2017 we will join forces and unite for the Womxn’s March on Seattle in solidarity with the national Women’s March on Washington D.C. We invite people of all gender identities, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientations to come participate in this amazing event. Building on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington, we continue to hold these difficult discussions surrounding race, since it has consistently played a huge role in the fight for gender equality. It is vital that we continue to incorporate people of color in these discussions, and that we learn from history. By promoting intersectionality within our movement, we hope to elevate the level of understanding for all marginalized groups, as they will be most affected by the Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, classism, racism, and sexism of this new administration. If we do not prioritize the most vulnerable voices, then we will not succeed as a movement.

“Seattle has adopted the name ‘Womxn’s March on Seattle’ to promote intersectionality in our movement,” organizers write. “Intersectionality acknowledges that different forms of discrimination intersect, overlap, and reinforce each other, and takes into account the impact of discrimination based not only on gender but also race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, class, disability, and other backgrounds.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Soup’s on at Marmite in Chophouse Row

img_7003“The word for pot is… la-mar-meet… now, you try it…”

Chef Bruce Naftaly is already regarded as a brothy genius but he and wife and business partner Sara Naftaly should probably get some credit for their weather forecasting skills. Their soup-centric Marmite — oui, the French word for pot but, non, not that kind of pot — debuted just in time for a cold and icy snap in Seattle that is perfect for their “bone-warming” broths.

Following its Christmas weekend debut, CHS stopped by earlier this week to see Marmite in motion inside the 11th Ave-fronting Chophouse Row restaurant space the Naftalys have nurtured back to health after a rough go for the short-lived former tenant. Starting in “pop-up” mode, a menu of daily soups and sandwiches awaits. Bowls — chicken, leek, buckwheat noodle and roasted root vegetable, when we visited — run $9. The question for the Capitol Hill ventures of $6 pizza and $9 soup is can the experience be special enough to justify the cost of craft and local, ethical ingredients as lunch morphs into what you might call an “affordable luxury.” Continue reading

Find my stolen iCar? Seattle Police use app to recover ripped-off auto

Police recovered a reported stolen vehicle with an assist from Cupertino Monday morning.

In an incident that unfolded on Capitol Hill around 11:15 AM Monday, a law enforcement officer following the car with the victim as his passenger alerted the East Precinct that they had tracked the stolen 2006 Chrysler on I-5 to Capitol Hill.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the car was taken from a postal carrier who was using the vehicle to deliver packages Monday morning when it was stolen somewhere off Hill. Apparently unbeknownst to the car thief, along with the packages in the car, the victim’s iPhone was also onboard.

Using the phone’s tracking app, the officer and the victim were able to track the car to Harvard and Pine where East Precinct officers arrived and stopped the vehicle. We’re working to confirm any arrests. The vehicle was recovered at the scene.

UPDATE 1/3/2017: SPD has posted a brief on the incident and confirms that two people were arrested and booked for investigation of auto theft:

Officer Uses iPhone App to Locate Stolen Car, Suspects Arrested


City Light heads into overtime after seagull reportedly knocks out Pike/Pine power

Cal Anderson mural - seagull

See latest outage updates at

See latest outage updates at

Seattle City Light crews were racing against the clock Saturday morning with several Pike/Pine and Broadway bars and restaurants rooting for a last minute big play. Meanwhile, area seagulls were in mourning.

A power outage starting around 8 AM left more than 300 customers in the dark around the intersection of Pine and Broadway Saturday as fans awaited the noontime kickoff of the national semifinal college football game pitting Washington vs. Alabama in the Peach Bowl. “We were planning on showing the Huskies at noon. Will keep you posted when power is back on. Crossing our fingers, @SEACityLight!,” @optimismbrewing tweeted.

A department representative tells CHS that Seattle Fire reported the outage was caused by a seagull that touched overhead lines, causing a “bridge” that overloaded current and destroyed equipment at the scene. Overhead crews aren’t typically on call on the weekend so City Light workers headed into overtime to try to help area watering holes be part of the big game.

Seattle City light estimated a 1:30 PM restoration of service.

CHS Pics | Last visit to Capitol Hill’s Value Village-REI-Kelly Springfield building


Last week before the holiday weekend, the neighborhood had one last chance to say goodbye to the old Capitol Hill Value Village before a landmarks-protected, preservation-friendly office and commercial redevelopment of the nearly 100-year-old building. A Punk Rock Flea Market was a fitting end to its era as a thrift store. Images from the final nights in the space show a few glimpses of the structure’s deeper past.

Dubbed the Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building for its first tenant after construction in 1917 and built as an investment development for $70,000 in the midst of World War I, the “Chicago School style,” concrete frame building with red brick, parapets and window spandrels was home to an important player in the area’s burgeoning auto row economy: Continue reading