Foreign National, Tavolata Capitol Hill ready to join E Pike food+drink

Foreign National (Images: Barnard and Meyer)

Foreign National (Images: Barnard and Meyer)

Two new additions to the booming Capitol Hill food and drink scene are joining the buzz on E Pike. Foreign National in all its shadowy sultry-ness is set to join next-door sibling Stateside at the base of the Hill while Ethan Stowell’s second Tavolata is planning its opening in a preservation-friendly development at Pike and Summit.

“We’re really surprised and grateful for what seems to be a great deal of interest,” Foreign National’s Eric Johnson tells CHS. “But it’s tiny. And we’re a little bit scared.”

At 28 seats, Johnson said he is hopeful the just-finished, bar addition to Stateside and its crew can withstand the crush of new-seeking foodies sure to show up as soon as Instagram gives the OK. A few nights of “friends and family” this week helped Johnson and front of house guru Seth Hammond prepare. The official opening will come next week. In the meantime, good luck. Continue reading

The Old Sage closes after owner’s $2.4M bankruptcy filing

The $2.4 million bankruptcy of one of the pioneers of Pike/Pine’s explosion as a center of Seattle food and drink investment is behind the sudden closure of 12th Ave’s The Old Sage. While Brian McCracken’s neighboring Tavern Law has not made a similar announcement, rumors of a sale of the early player in Seattle’s renewed craft cocktail scene persist.

The bad news about The Old Sage bar and restaurant, as so much bad news does these days, came over the weekend via Facebook:

Friends of the Old Sage, its with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to you all tonight. We have had a amazing run and truly appreciate all the support you have given us over the years. Our entire staff invites you to join us tonight for one last get together. Come on down, drink some scotch, laugh with us, and lets give The Old Sage one amazing goodbye. 50% off everything we have left, CASH ONLY.

According to documents filed in Western District of Washington United States Bankruptcy Court, McCracken and his wife filed May 20th for chapter 7 protection over some $2.4 million in debts. Included in the filings are some $70,000 in taxes, nearly $50,000 in student loans, $10,000 for a 12th and Madison landlord, $38,000 owed to McCracken’s landlord in Belltown, $26,000 and change to AMEX, a whopping $218,439 to Gravity Payments, and $67,329 to something called Loan Me to go with $5,200 owed to the Money Tree.  Continue reading

How three projects used incentives to create E Pike’s ‘preservation’ row

Capitol Hill’s preservation incentivized construction projects are hard to miss, with their large iron braces supporting thin brick walls as seven or eight stories of shiny new development rise above. The merits of these projects and the preservation incentive program the helped create them have been debated since the rules were passed in 2009. Whether you think it pure facadism or a unique expression of a neighborhood in transition, preservation projects have come to represent the modern era of Capitol Hill development.

While the incentives have been tweaked over time, the conservation rules are based on a fairly straightforward premise: developers get potentially lucrative extra height and bulk bonuses for saving building facades or character structures in their projects. For preservation-minded developers like Hunters Capital, the incentives offered under the Pike/Pine Conservation District have made saving some of Capitol Hill’s auto-row past a feasible business decision.

“Density is going to happen in an area like Capitol Hill,” said Michael Oaksmith, development director at Hunters Capital. “Your alternative is to just crash down the entire building.”

13 of 22 projects within the conservation district have used the incentives since 2011. City Hall is currently preparing yet another update.The Pike/Pine Conservation District’s revised guidelines are currently available for review here. Three projects along three blocks of E Pike wrapping up construction and coming into the Capitol Hill rental market offer a good survey of the different forms the projects have taken:

  • AVA Capitol Hill, 600 E Pike — Avalon Bay
  • Pike Motorworks, 714 E Pike — Wolff Company
  • Dunn Motors, 501 E Pike — Hunters Capital

Continue reading

17+ things CHS heard at the Pike/Pine pedestrian zone meeting

City officials have made it clear: They want to continue last year’s experiment of using Pike/Pine’s streets in new and creative ways. Funding is available — albeit still not secured — and eager public right-of-way wonks and private consultants are at the ready to make your wildest street and sidewalk use dreams come true. What they need is direction.

With the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict taking a sideline role after leading last year’s pedestrian zone pilot, city officials say they are listening for a unified neighborhood voice to steer the next round of street use projects.

On Tuesday evening, officials from the Seattle Department of Transportation held a community feedback session at the 11th Ave V2 art space to take another wide survey of what residents and business owners want. It was also an invitation for people to get organized.

“Maybe if there was some ‘Friends of E Pike’ that wanted to come forward,” SDOT’s Seth Geiser told CHS. Continue reading

Capitol Hill gets new Arts District street signs

DSC05136Part of the “Creative Placemaking Toolkit” designed for Seattle’s Arts District program is hitting the streets around Capitol Hill.

New Capitol Hill Arts District “caps” featuring the Hill district’s diamond logo have been added to street signs around the neighborhood near cultural centers, galleries, and theaters. Continue reading

SDOT ready to hear about more than pedestrian zone in Pike/Pine meeting

IMG_4711-600x400Next week’s community meeting with Seattle Department of Transportation representatives, it turns out, will go beyond the Pike/Pine Pedestrian Zone.

Officials had said a discussion with residents and business owners would be the next step in sorting out to do with the Pike/Pine pilot of a closed street zone around the neighborhood’s nightlife core. But SDOT’s plans for Tuesday’s meeting include the pilot — and the large amount of feedback City Hall has received from workers, residents, and store owners alike on ways E Pike could be changed and improved. Continue reading

11th Ave preservation and office development project passes first design review

(Images: Ankrom Moisan)

(Images: Ankrom Moisan)

Wednesday's review (Image: CHS)

Wednesday’s review (Image: CHS)

The project to transform a landmark-protected 11th Ave auto row-era building that also played a big role in the growth of REI and was the longtime home to Capitol Hill’s Value Village will move forward in the city’s review process after approval of its preliminary design at a meeting Wednesday night.

The East Design Review Board signed off on the design that will change the old Value Village space into an office and retail project. Parking and impact on residential and commercial neighbors were discussion points during the meeting. The building’s preservation goals and landmarked exterior were also discussed.

“Preserve and enhance the defining aspects of the landmark building – that’s our main goal here,” said Mack Selberg of Ankrom Moisan architects. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Macrina Bakery and Pagliacci Pizza working on a new venture on E Pike

DSC04706Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 11.38.13 AMAfter 16 years of making its dough and tomato sauce from an E Pike commercial kitchen, Pagliacci Pizza is moving its pizza base of operations to Kent.

To replace it, two of Seattle’s most established dough-based businesses are exploring a Capitol Hill venture that may include a new Pagliacci restaurant and Macrina Bakery Cafe at E Pike and Crawford Pl.

Nearly a decade after joining forces behind the scenes, Pagliacci and Macrina owners say they are in the early stages of finding a new use for Pagliacci’s soon-to-be vacated “commissary.” Continue reading

Meet the Capitol Hill woman set to take over as editor of The Stranger

IMG_2838Seattle Times journalist and longtime Capitol Hill resident Tricia Romano will soon take over as editor of major Capitol Hill media conglomerate The Stranger. Romano talked with CHS about the culture of Capitol Hill, her experience as a journalist, and her plans for the alt-weekly.

“My challenge is to make The Stranger a thing you can read and learn about the city as a whole, not just Capitol Hill,” said Romano. “To be better, it needs to be a city paper.”

Romano started her career at The Stranger, a weekly alternative paper that has become a fixture of Capitol Hill, and will officially take the helm on June 29. In addition to working at The Stranger, Romano has been on the staff The Village Voice and The Seattle Times, and freelanced for The New York Times and The Daily Beast, among others. For the past few years, Romano has written for The Seattle Times. Continue reading

Demolition begins for Hugo House, Broadway post office projects

On Broadway, the process began Monday. On 11th Ave, Wednesday is the official start of demolition. Two centers of the Capitol Hill community — one charming if a bit cramped and full of history, the other the opposite of charming but still cramped — are being demolished this week to make way for new mixed-use projects.

On the corner of Broadway and Denny, the demolition has begun to make way for the new six-story development that will replace the longtime post office. The developer plans to use brick, corten steel, and glass to finish the structure and units are planned to have 3’x6′ balconies from which to gaze out upon the wonders of Capitol Hill Station and the most rapidly growing stretch of Broadway. It is expected to open by summer of 2017. The post office, in the meantime, has moved down Broadway — and won’t be coming back.

The other chunk of Capitol Hill community ready to meet its demolition fate probably deserves a more respectful end. Instead, the 1902-built mortuary that became known as Hugo House ends its life fenced-off, mostly gutted, and with its roofing in disarray after a Seattle Fire training session. The literary nonprofit said goodbye with one last party and has moved to First Hill for a temporary stay. It will return in two years to a new community center inside the new mixed-use project set to be built at the site. The new 10,000-square-foot space will include six classrooms, offices, two performance spaces, and space for writers to do their thing. “We want it to make sure it’s a place that feels warm and welcoming to writers,” executive director Tree Swenson told CHS.