How will new apartment dwellers mix with Pike/Pine nightlife?

The Capitol Hill Block Party's Vera stage had a new background in 2014

The Capitol Hill Block Party’s Vera stage had a new background in 2014. By 2015, there will be hundreds of residents in the new building at 11th and Union. “There is poignant juxtaposition… residential development and music festival. Next year there will be people living in those apartments,” CHBP producer Jason Lajeunesse told CHS. (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

If residents in new Pike/Pine buildings weren’t aware of both the fun and the noise of the nightlife-focused neighborhood they moved into, they certainly got a full dose of it during the weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party. With hundreds more apartment units slated to come online in the dense nightlife corridor, existing bar and club owners are hoping their new neighbors will be down with the sound. Even with soaring rents, turns out building developers aren’t doing much more than hoping the same thing, too.

Architects and other experts tell CHS that few, if any, new developments within Pike/Pine are especially equipped to dampen street noise from rattling inside units. With few affordable solutions and no regulatory mandates, there seems to be little incentive to equip units with high performance windows or soundproof insulation or to design the buildings to better serve the existing neighborhood. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party 2014: Day Three Open Thread

(Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

A$AP Rocky closes down CHBP 2014 (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

A$AP Rocky closes down CHBP 2014 (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Ashley Genevieve/CHBP with permission to CHS)

You can’t call it a quieter Sunday finale for Capitol Hill Block Party but Day Three 2014 will wrap the 18th edition of the festival without the typical “big name” on the main stage. Instead, the A$AP Mob will finish its work with rapper Rakim Mayers shaking E Pike.

CHS CHBP 2013 | Day One | Day Two | Day Three

Take advantage of the opportunity. A$AP Rocky joins a Day Three that seems likely to extend Saturday’s feel of a really busy night in the Pike/Pine nightlife district with the occasional concert going off out in the street.

(Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

(Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

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Capitol Hill Block Party 2014: Day Two Open Thread

Day One's main stage crowd (Image: CHBP with permission to CHS)

Day One’s main stage crowd (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Unlike in 2013, producers could not claim Day One of Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 sold out. No matter. The weather was perfect, the beats, funky, the crowd (even with the knuckleheads drawn to drinking in large groups of people) awesome and full of Pacific Northwest characters.

CHBP 2014 Open Threads: Day One / Day Two

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Image: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

Excellent pants, Kim (Image: CHBP with permission to CHS)

Excellent pants, Kim (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

A$AP Rocky meets CHBP (Image: CHBP with permission to CHS)

A$AP Rocky meets CHBP (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Holy Child autograph session  (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Holy Child autograph session (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Saturday at Block Party won’t sell out either. The rhythm of the festival schedule remains the same with Day Two’s slate full of deeper cut acts and smaller fan bases. Dance funk by way of Montreal from Chromeo sets the tone but the day is more about the local PNW acts that dominate the stages. More images and notes from Day One and Day Two, below. Let us know what you found at CHBP 2014. We’ll update here and there through the day so help keep us posted.

  • Hot: The National Weather Service says Seattle is on pace for one of its hottest Julys ever. Saturday will help. Highs are expected to sniff 80 F. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Block Party 2014: Day One Open Thread

The Vera Stage is bigger and better this year -- and has a telling new view in the background (Image: CHS intern Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

The Vera Stage is bigger and better this year — and has a telling new view in the background (Image: CHS intern Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

Spoon loomed large Friday night (Image: CHBP with permission to CHS)

Spoon loomed large Friday night (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

In the wee hours of Friday morning, Jason Lajeunesse and the Block Party crew initiated the tightly coordinated sequence of events needed to prepare Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 for liftoff. Before the first glimmer of sunlight touches Pike/Pine on Friday, streets needed to be closed, stages erected, and wires ran every which way.

With less sweat, but just as much determination, we present our annual pre-party ritual: the launch of CHS’s Block Party open threads. CHS will update through the weekend on the people making Block Party happen, the crowds, and the community around the festival.

You can also follow @jseattle for updates. Let us know if you see anything — or anybody — interesting, too. You can email us or call/txt (206) 399-5959 for the *really* interesting stuff to let us know what you’re seeing. Or hearing.

  • Luckily, rainfall earlier in the week seems to have purged crummy weather conditions heading into Block Party. The forecast for the rest of the weekend looks ideal, with temperatures in the mid-70s through the weekend afternoons and sunscreen-worthy clear skies.
  • Three-day, two-day, and single day passes are still on sale here. You can also purchase tickets at the gate or at the E Pike Caffe Vita. There are also various local businesses giving away tickets as prizes or offering them as a gift with purchase. Check out the CHBP Facebook page to find the latest promotions.
  • With an event as large as Block Party in an area as dense as Pike/Pine, unofficial spinoffs are part of the fun. This year some people are setting up a hip-hop BBQ, promising “meat, heat, and blunts.” Let us know if you see any other interesting things along Block Party’s peripheral blocks.
  • Call him Billy Gates but don't trust A$AP Rocky was actually hanging at Linda's (Image via Linda's Facebook)

    Call him Billy Gates but don’t trust that A$AP Rocky was actually hanging at Linda’s earlier this week (Image via Linda’s Facebook)

    Music kicks off Friday afternoon with Shy Girls on the Main Stage and Lemolo on the Vera Stage. Lemolo’s Meagan Grandall, who graduated from Seattle University, will also be the first of a hand full of musicians to play CHBP with strong Capitol Hill ties. Benjamin Verdoes of Iska Dhaaf has a daytime gig teaching at Nova High School. Childbirth has Pony Time’s Stacy Peck and Kithkin has former CHS intern/current Seattle Weekly reporter Kelton Sears.The members of Constant Lovers and Gibraltar are known Hillebrities.

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They are (probably) not filming Capitol Hill Block Party: The Movie at Lost Lake Cafe


As Pike/Pine teeters into full-on Capitol Hill Block Party preparation mode for the 18th annual edition of the three-day music festival, 10th Ave between Pine and Pike was filled with production trucks and crew for a commercial shoot at Lost Lake Cafe.

According to a *mostly* reliable source, the commercial is for global shoe giant Nike and features beloved Mariner hero Ken Griffey, Jr. We’ll let you postulate on possible scenarios in the comments.

Also, we could be completely wrong so feel free to tell us what you know — or you *think* you know — below.

 

Modera set to be sixth new building planned for three blocks of 11th Ave

(Images: Mill Creek Residential)

The design packet describes this as the “perspective view from Hothouse” (Images: Mill Creek Residential)

Plans for a sixth development project within a two and a half-block stretch of 11th Ave will move forward Wednesday night as the Modera building takes what will likely be its final bow in front of the East Design Review Board.

The project being developed by Mill Creek Residential and designed by Studio Meng Strazzara will create 135 units in a six-story building destined to replace the parking lot behind the Caffe Vita row of businesses and the old Winston apartment building home to Wildrose and Hothouse sauna. Don’t worry about the loss of one of the last of Pike/Pine’s parking lots. The building will have a massive underground parking facility with room for 124 cars and 40 bikes. And, yes, there will be 6,000+ square feet of commercial space ready to accommodate yet another addition to the Pike/Pine entertainment district.

The goal of it all, the developers say, is to create “a market-rate rental community” appealing “to a wide range of Capitol Hill neighborhood dwellers” –

The development will be designed in context with the distinguished character of the surrounding neighborhood in architectural elements, building scale, and massing. We are committed to using quality, long-lasting materials, and an aesthetic design that appeals to and blends with the neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 4.28.40 PM Continue reading

Block Party faces its future in a developing Capitol Hill

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(Image: Alex Crick for CHS)

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Capitol Hill Block Party wants to keep the heart of the neighborhood alive as so much of it changes.

In its 18th year, the weekend event which closes down six blocks of Pike/Pine and draws upward of 30,000 music lovers remains an annual subject of excitement from fans and the rarest of summer musical festival beasts: a three-day commercial concert venue carved out of a living, breathing city neighborhood.

With A$AP Rocky, Chromeo and Spoon headlining this year, rock fest tourists and plenty of locals will once again swarm the cordoned-off area in the heart of Pike/Pine starting July 25 for a weekend of sights, sounds and selling your soul for a parking space.

Only in America
Owner Jason Lajeunesse has not needed the Capitol Hill Block Party to make his mark on the neighborhood. CHS dubbed him one of the ‘Princes of Pike/Pine’ — along with business partner and frequent collaborator David Meinert – due to his extensive stakes in many nearby restaurants and venues, including Neumos and Lost Lake.

After spending nine years planning the Block Party’s music as co-producer, Lajeunesse took ownership of the event in 2012.

He believes Capitol Hill Block Party is a product of the neighborhood which gives it its name.

“I think it’s important to promote the neighborhood year round,” he said. “The Block Party sort of grew with the local and regional bands. As the bands got bigger, so did the Block Party.”

With four indoor venues, two outdoor stages and dozens of restaurants and bars in the area, the Block Party has the distinction of being the only event of its kind in America.

“To our knowledge Capitol Hill Block Party is unique as the only ticketed three-day street festival in the country,” Chris Swenson, program manager with the Seattle Office of Film and Music, said. “It’s a little like scooping up half of Sasquatch and plopping it in the middle of a neighborhood for a weekend. The city’s primary concern is safety and, because of the unique layout of the event, each year safety officials and agencies spend many months establishing organizer requirements and emergency plans specific to the site.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Art walk winners crowned as Capitol Hill arts-boosting event makes new start

Matthew Bell, Max Kraushaar and Graham Downing -- in cutout and meat-space form -- took third for their book "In the Mood to Consume" (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Matthew Bell, Max Kraushaar and Graham Downing — in cutout and meat-space form — took third for their book “In the Mood to Consume” (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

July’s Capitol Hill art walk marked a new start Thursday night on its mission to promote the arts and artists in the neighborhood. We stopped by the quarterly City Arts Art Walk Awards held 10th and Pike’s Sole Repair honoring creators across Seattle as part of the Hill’s second-Thursday event. Here are a few scenes from the party and moments of crowd-sourced victory along with a set of local artists you should check out the next time you get a chance.

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Senator Murray touts ‘Hobby Lobby’ birth control coverage bill in Pike/Pine visit

Senator Patty Murray was on our Capitol Hill Friday morning to stir up some local support for her proposed bill that would require all employer-based health insurance plans to cover birth control for female employees. In last week’s 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the arts and crafts chain store Hobby Lobby could use religious opposition to birth control to avoid the Obamacare requirement that health insurance plans include contraceptive coverage.

Murray, who introduced the bill Tuesday in Washington D.C., was at Oddfellows Friday to talk about the “legislative fix” to the Supreme Court ruling. The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, but has little chance of getting out of the Republican-controlled House, pundits say.

Speaking on the other Capitol Hill earlier this week, Murray outlined the importance of the bill:

After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong … This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.

The Courage Campaign Super PAC is running an online petition to tell congress to pass the legislation.

CHS Community Post | Loft 63 – A New Contemporary Furniture & Home Decor Store On Capitol Hill – Now Open!

IMG_1313CHS Community posts are created by readers and representatives of local businesses and organizations. Anybody can post to CHS. You can view the CHS Community section here. CHS editors may also select community posts to appear on the site’s front page.

Loft 63, Capitol Hill’s new Contemporary Modern Furniture & Home Decor Store is now open!  Loft 63 focuses on smaller contemporary furniture pieces that are a perfect fit for urban loft condo’s and studio apartments.  Many of our home decor items are handmade, some locally produced right here in the Northwest!  If the item is handmade, we note on the price tag the state where the item is produced.

Located at 1205 E Pike Street (between Wall of Sound and Bluebird Ice Cream on Pike Street), the store features over 1,100 square feet of showroom space with four rooms of contemporary furniture and home decor!   On the floor we have a smaller scale functional sofa bed, many fun dining chairs, petite dining tables that are a good fit for urban spaces, a retro contemporary rocker, locally produced candles and coffee mugs, local artwork, and much more! Continue reading

Gamma Ray celebrates 5 years on Capitol Hill with changes at E Pine

The Raygun Lounge and Black Coffee Co-op, seen here from above, have DPD's full attention (Image: CHS)

The Raygun Lounge and Black Coffee Co-op, seen here from above, have DPD’s full attention (Image: CHS)

(Image: Gamma Ray Games)

(Image: Gamma Ray Games)

There is never-ending change on Capitol Hill but the past makes a stand every now and then. How you deal with the legacy can sometimes be the difference between win and fail. As Gamma Ray Games enters its fifth year of business on Capitol Hill, the retail business and its counterpart E Pine Raygun Lounge are combining forces to make the best of the cold, hard, historical reality — 501 E Pine, as far as City of Seattle rules sees it, is a building made for retail not restaurants or bars.

Gamma Ray owner Eric Logan announced the planned changes in a blog post last week:

By the end of the month the Raygun Lounge will be an all-ages space(!) with significantly expanded operating hours. Yes, we will still be serving a range of beer,cider and wine. Yes, we will be crafting an expanded menu of lite bites and snacks to serve our new daytime crowd. And yes, we will continue to host a growing range of weekly, monthly and special events.

Inside Raygun Lounge (Image: CHS)

Inside Raygun Lounge (Image: CHS)

Logan and staff will also move the Gamma Ray Shop up the Hill from its original E Pine and Crawford location. “Starting Tuesday, July 15th we’re bringing back the synchronicity of the original shop so you will no longer have to walk up and down the street and split your tab in order to get your favorite gaming supplies while you’re playing, drinking and eating with your friends,” the announcement reads.

The moves come as the businesses that took over the 501 E Pine space a few years back have learned that despite how its earlier, legendary tenant had put the building to work, any new efforts to run a bar or kitchen from the address runs afoul of zoning rules. Much loved Travelers ran what could be best described as a store and cafe from the building until its exit from Capitol Hill in 2012. But by 2013, Logan’s Raygun Lounge and gaming hall and neighboring Black Coffee Co-op drew the attention of the Department of Planning and Development as inspectors began detailing expensive changes like new exits or limitations on capacity.

CHS checked in with Black Coffee last year as the collective wrestled with the challenges of combining its social ideals with day to day operations. According to DPD documents, inspectors have been working with the co-op this year to resolve issues over capacity and elements like “cooking appliances” in the cafe’s kitchen. A shared and apparently under-resourced bathroom facility in the building will also be getting an upgrade, Logan says. While the DPD details on things like capacity, exits and appliances might seem ticky-tack, they are often the elements by which the city regulates the use of space — and changes can cost thousands of dollars to complete at a level that satisfies use requirements.

CHS has asked Black Coffee founder Scott Davis about the situation but we haven’t yet heard back about what changes the co-op will be able to tackle to either meet DPD’s requests or change how it runs things on E Pine.

In the meantime, the Gamma Ray gang is ready to celebrate five years of business.

“Capitol Hill’s tabletop gaming community will come through this transition stronger, more robust, and better served than ever before,” Logan said.

New York City? CEO says big investment in Rudy’s still means modest goals for Hill-headquartered barbershop empire

Rudy’s Barbershops, an E Pine-headquartered exporter of Pike/Pine cool to the nation, has a new majority owner in the shape of a New York-based venture capital and buyout specialist. But like many changes on Capitol Hill, the impact of the $9.25 million investment in the indie-minded barbershop style chain is a matter of perspective.

“This is investment in slow growth,” said company CEO Vy Le, who joined Rudy’s four years ago and who remains at the helm through the investment by Syosset, New York-based Northwood Ventures. “A lot of that money is going into existing assets. Simple things like new chairs on Pine,” Le said.

The CEO tells CHS that the purchase of majority control of Rudy’s will mean upgrades at its 15 existing shops and expansion in its existing markets. The Seattle area will see an expanded Bellevue Rudy’s this summer and a long-anticipated West Seattle shop is in the offing. In addition to expansion in existing markets like New York, Portland, and Los Angeles, Le said there will likely be one new market added to the Rudy’s hip haircut empire. The investors are reportedly readying Rudy’s for a three-fold expansion of stores “over the next several years.”

Le said the recapitalization represents yet another new stage in a company that has grown into one of the accidental empires of Alex Calderwood, David Petersen and Wade Weigel. We wrote about the early ’90s, bootstrap-style start of Rudy’s and the Ace Hotels chain late last year after the death of style icon Calderwood. Le said the plan to bring in the involvement of an investor like Northwood Ventures was in the works before Calderwood’s death as the founders’ businesses began efforts to upgrade operations, improve benefits, and shift to the new reality of operations with hundreds of employees. Continue reading