Community groups pushing for public benefits package have $80M agreement with Convention Center — UPDATE

With reporting by Kelsey Hamlin

The Community Package Coalition has reached an agreement on an $80 million slate of public infrastructure investments surrounding the planned expansion of the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

Details of the agreement were set to be unveiled in a Monday afternoon press conference:

On Monday, October 16th at 1:30 PM, the Community Package Coalition, an alliance of community organizations adjacent to the planned the three-block, $1.6B Washington State Convention Center Addition (WSCCA), will announce results of their months-long negotiations with the developers of the WSCCA to secure a fair public benefits package for the people of Seattle.

The coalition represents community groups and nonprofits including the First Hill Improvement Association, Lid I-5, Capitol Hill Housing, Cascade Bicycle Club, Central Seattle Greenways, Housing Development Consortium, Freeway Park Association, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

UPDATE: Here is the announced roster of projects that made the benefits package cut:

Summary of WSCC Addition Public Benefits and Investments
Item$ MM
Community Package Projects
Freeway Park Improvements$10.0
Lid I-5 Study$1.5
Pike-Pine Bicycle Improvements$10.0
Olive Way Pedestrian Improvements$0.5
8th Ave Bicycle Improvements$6.0
Terry Ave Promenade$4.0
Affordable Housing$29.0
Subtotal$61.0
Other Public Benefits (current estimate)
Pike-Pine Renaissance Pedestrian Improvements$10.0
9th Avenue Pedestrian Improvements$0.6
Public Art$1.9
Historic Building Lighting$1.0
On-Site Features$8.1
Improvements to Olive Way$0.2
Subtotal                                                                             $82.8

The coalition has been pushing Convention Center and public officials to create a broader — and more expensive — package of public benefits package required to justify the vacation of three alleys for the $1.6 billion downtown project. Continue reading

Pipeline ‘Valve Turner’ comes to Capitol Hill for legal defense fundraiser

Michael Foster at Sole Repair Wednesday night (Images: Alex Garland)

In October 2016, Seattle’s Michael Foster traveled to North Dakota to turn valves on the Keystone Pipeline and disrupt the flow of tar sands oil from Canada. One of a handful of Valve Turners, he now faces decades in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief, and trespass. Foster came to Capitol Hill this week to help raise funds to defend other Valve Turners.

“A year ago, it was long past time to take emergency action to stop the flow of tar sands oil, to stop coal, to stop not just the expansion in the new pipelines, but the existing flow has to be cut about 10% per year,” Foster said about his decision to take a stand for the environment. Continue reading

Colorful new community crosswalks coming to Melrose at Pike and Pine

Rendering of the coming soon community crosswalk (Images: Melrose Promenade)

The Melrose Promenade community group dedicated to transforming the street into a ” distinctive neighborhood greenway” has unveiled the winning design for new painted crosswalks capping the avenue at Pike and Pine.

Artist Sarah Snedeker’s “Poem Dazzle” concept, which borrows “angles and shapes” from the facades of buildings “as well as the Starbucks window,” was selected in a community vote this summer.

The new community crosswalks will be installed in coming weeks, the group announced Tuesday. “We’re grateful to local artist Sarah Snedeker for devoting her time and creativity to helping us bring to life this latest component of the Melrose Promenade vision, and to the Berger Partnership and SDOT for their technical expertise!,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

Queer/Bar tries to preserve what’s left of LGBTQIA+ Capitol Hill nightlife

Proud Joey Burgess in front of his newly opened Queer/Bar (Images: Alex Garland)

Plastered in a white, clear, modern font on Pike/Pine glows the generationally controversial word “Queer,” accompanied by “Bar.” It’s intentional. This sleek new space is reserved for the Capitol Hill creators, the spectrum of anything out of the gender dichotomy, the queer. No straights allowed if they’re not allies — despite the clear sign, one only hopes they drunkenly take the hint.

Disclaimer: I am a straight, cisgendered, white female. But I also know how to respect spaces that aren’t meant for me without frustration. The Hill has far more bars I could choose from than the few I shouldn’t.

Roaming in the middle of Queer/Bar with a smile on his face is Joey Burgess.  He runs the place.

“There’s great energy in this place,” Burgess said. “It’s paramount to keep this street queer. For me, for my family, for my friends it’s necessary.”

Dave Meinert, who also is partners with Burgess in a separate company behind Lost Lake, the Comet, and Big Mario’s, said he’s “really just investing in Joey,” who he called awesome, and a great partner with a big vision. Continue reading

10 PM paid parking is coming to Capitol Hill

Starting in late October, paid parking hours on streets in Capitol Hill’s commercial core will be extended into the late night hours, from the current cutoff hour of 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. It’s not all bad news, parker. Rates in some areas will come down. Of course, they’ll jump in others.

The policy shift comes as evidence shows that demand for evening parking shows no loss of appetite on Capitol Hill. Since 2010, SDOT has conducted studies of parking trends and behavior along Broadway and the Pike/Pine nightlife blocks. The most recent study from May 2017 showed that parking in these areas was at capacity between 7:00 and 10:00 PM. Data from the 2016 study illustrated a similar trend: there was no parking available between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM.

“For the past several years it’s consistently shown that parking is very full until late in the evening which makes reliable access for customers and visitors very challenging,” said Mike Estey, SDOT’s Manager of Parking Programs. “Charging for paid parking until 10:00 PM should allow access on the block[s].” Continue reading

Queer/Bar — and its Queer/Hall and LGBTQIA chefs and Robbie Turner — set for Pike/Pine debut

(Image: Alex Garland)

With a TV drag star at the mic, and a series of Seattle LGBTQ chefs set to rotate through its kitchen, Pike/Pine’s Queer/Bar is ready to create a new nightspot and social center on Capitol Hill. And maybe make a buck or two in the process.

Queer/Bar opens Saturday night.

“It’s been 12 years of planning, scrapping, and conceptualizing amongst friends and colleagues,” co-owner Joey Burgess said when the new project was announced this summer. “I’m over the moon to launch in a neighborhood that has felt like home for years.”

Queer/Bar is backed by Burgess and a company that includes Dave Meinert, his partner from the Guild Seattle group that also runs a big chunk of Pike/Pine hangouts including Lost Lake, the Comet, and Big Mario’s. Queer/Bar neighbor Grim’s is also part of the Guild holdings. That bar’s acquisition in 2014 brought a higher profile role in Pike/Pine nightlife for Burgess as Guild’s director of operations and a change in direction toward dance and table service and away from the group’s usual focus on booze and barstools. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | A New Lease (on Century)

(Image: Century Ballroom)

From the Century Ballroom

We are in some dark times in our country and abroad, but I am sharing some good news with you, because even in the midst of horror and devastation something good is always happening somewhere – and today it happens to be in our backyard.

Today, October 3rd, 2017 – I signed another ten year lease for Century Ballroom, West Hall and The Tin Table.

It wasn’t long ago that we all read that the Odd Fellows Building was up for sale, and it still is (and always will be). During all of that, I was part of the conversation with potential new buyers but wasn’t able to renew my lease. (All conversations included Century remaining in the building.)

I tried signing my lease on 8/8/17 exactly nine years after my last lease was signed with the current owners, which was on 8/8/08, but like all things, some negotiations had to happen.

So today, not a day that means something in particular to me – I sat with Alison and the owners at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, using my “special pen” and signed my lease (while in the back of my mind I was singing “When I’m 64” by the Beatles).

The choice to sign for ten years, not five or eight, was because I believe in the importance of Century Ballroom in this world. I believe in dance and the community that it creates and the lifelong friendships I have gotten from it. When I think about all the healing moments that have happened in this space, I know it needs to be here.

I believe that this community could and should be ever changing, growing and here forever. Because people will always dance, will always need community; and will always want a beautiful place to come together.

Thank you for 20+ years. Here’s to our next ten together.

Cheers,

“My name is Hallie Kuperman, I run the Century Ballroom” & Alison Cockrill

Capitol Hill Community Post | Good Weather Bicycle & Cafe is now open

From Good Weather

Good Weather started in 2016 as a quirky second story shop above Purr is expanding into the heart of the Chop House Row. They’re serving simple food, beer, and wine while continuing to build and fix bicycles for people in Seattle. With a love for beautiful, long-lasting frames and the desire to make a place where people can share a slow moment, they’re excited to add something different to the ground floor.

Good Weather Bicycle & Cafe is now open at 1424 11th Ave in the back of The Chophouse Row.  Hours are 11-9:30 (Sundays till 7), Not Open Tuesdays.

It’s a collaboration between original owners Jason Marqusee & Brandon Waterman and Danielle Hammer is running the food side of things.

What you should do about anti-choice abortion protesters bringing their campaign to Broadway

A counter message against anti-choice pickets in Seattle (Image: Brady Hall via Shout Your Abortion)

Anti-choice picketers weren’t very successful finding takers for their LGBTQ-mimicking rainbow-colored flyers on Broadway over the weekend. But their presence was disturbing enough.

“We’ve seen an uptick across the country since Trump’s election,” Michelle Farber, organizer and organizer for Seattle Clinic Defense tells CHS about the seemingly incongruous presence of anti-abortion protesters in the midst of Capitol Hill nightlife over the weekend. Continue reading