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



(Image: Alex Crick for CHS)


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.


Continue reading

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

CHS Pics | Trans* Pride swells to thousands for march, rally on Capitol Hill

10475837_10102616084093540_4475402941586695915_n10488402_10102616084083560_8656860706119431475_nHundreds of people joined the annual Trans* Pride march through the streets of Capitol Hill Friday night to lend their feet, voices, and faces to recognizing and celebrating the transgender community in Seattle.

Trans*Pride Seattle is open to everyone who believes trans* and gender non-conforming people deserve to live lives free from violence, discrimination, stigmatization, poverty, hatred, rejection, medical abuse and neglect, and mental pathologization.

The event organized by the Gender Justice League was only the second ever Trans* Pride following the event’s successful 2013 debut.

The 2014 march after winding its way through Pike/Pine and by the fences set up for the many bear gardens beer gardens of Capitol Hill Pride parties just starting to heat up, again ended at Cal Anderson for a rally, information tables and a chance to hang out.

The 2014 keynote speaker was writer Elena Rose. Other speakers included CeCe McDonald, an activist for trans women released from prison earlier this year after serving 19 months in prison for a murder many contend was self defense.10340147_10102616084303120_90995850635821799_n

More pictures from 2014 are below. Continue reading

‘Harder, more extreme,’ The Crypt helps keep the kink in Capitol Hill


Manager Shawn Allen Hall is ready to serve (Images: CHS)

Manager Shawn Allen Hall is ready to serve (Images: CHS)

Seattle Pride celebrates the inspiring progress our city and nation have made in furthering LGBTQ rights. It’s also a time when an already sex-charged Capitol Hill turns things up a notch. Before, during, after – The Crypt serves as one of its top purveyors of kink.

Since opening here in the 1980s, The Crypt has served as the adult’s adult store on Capitol Hill. With items to induce electric shocks and rods to be inserted in the most shocking of places, products at The Crypt can really stretch the meaning of the word “toy.”

“We’re definitely harder, more extreme than other stores,” said manager Shawn Allen Hall, not far from the gagged mannequin hanging from a sex swing that greets customers at the front door. On the other hand, the seen-it-all staff are anything but hard and extreme. “We just want to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible,” Hall said. Continue reading

With demand as high as ever, Pike/Pine parking rate likely rising to $2.50 in August

4583094410_4f570c0fe9_b-400x529If parking were a true market-based commodity, we might use the city’s networked system of parking pay stations to operate a real-time price exchange with rates calculated based on the number of spots available when you park.

For better or worse, the Seattle Department of Transportation uses a more blunt instrument: count the number of available spaces in a given area and adjust the rates annually.

Based on their 2013 parking count (PDF), SDOT is recommending a 50 cent raise to metered street parking in Pike/Pine, bringing the hourly rate to $2.50 an hour between 8 AM – 8 PM. Pending council approval, the new rates would begin in August.

With the new rates, SDOT is aiming to have 1-2 spots available on each Pike/Pine block throughout the metered parking times.

Despite previous rate increases and extending paid parking to 8 PM in 2011, parking in Pike/Pine is still a mob scene in the evening hours. According to SDOT’s 2013 Evening Paid Parking Study, average Pike/Pine parking capacity at 7 PM is at 104%, meaning all spaces are taken, plus some questionable parking decisions near intersections and fire hydrants.

That’s still a big improvement from 2010 when 7 PM capacity was pushing 120% as metered parking only went to 6 PM. Overall SDOT found that extended paid parking in 10 nightlife areas around the city lead to 20% more available spaces at 6 PM and 18% more available spaces at 7 PM.Screen-Shot-2014-04-27-at-6.24.51-PM-600x456

There are a slew of other parking rate changes and time extensions scheduled to take effect this year, however no changes are planned for the Broadway core. The other notable change on Capitol Hill is the planned roll-out of the city’s new parking pay stations.

SIFF fundraising campaign seeks to ‘Save the Egyptian’

2014 SIFF honoree is greeted by presenter Eddie Vedder as the popular film festival returned for another year at the Egyptian (Image courtesy a CHS reader!)

2014 SIFF honoree is greeted by presenter Eddie Vedder as the popular film festival returned for another year at the Egyptian (Image courtesy a CHS reader!)

It turns out Capitol Hill’s Egyptian Theatre still needs some saving, even after the film-focused nonprofit SIFF announced in May they had moved in to put the venue back in motion. At the launch of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, festival organizers announced they had secured a 10-year lease with Seattle Central College to occupy the 1916-built Egyptian after Landmark Theatres left the space last year.

SIFF is now seeking to raise $300,000 to repair the aging 600-seat theater and re-open it this fall in what many hope will be a doubling of their successes at Queen Anne’s SIFF Cinema Uptown. Last month SIFF announced plans to buyout the Uptown after occupying it for several years.

According to SIFF, the “Save the Egyptian” fundraising campaign will fund new equipment for the projection room, sorely needed upgrades to the building’s plumbing and electrical systems, and a new sound system. The fundraising effort is being backed by two unnamed, but apparently well heeled, super-donors that are offering to match donations up to $155,000.

And like any good fundraising campaign ought to do, SIFF will take your money in any number of ways, including via text message.

After remaining dark for several months, the Egyptian was revived in May to play host to this year’s Seattle International Film Festival. The festival, which wrapped up earlier this month, is one of the largest film festival’s in the U.S.

SIFF and the Egyptian share an extended back-story. Built in 1916, the former Masonic temple was bought by SIFF founders Darryl MacDonald and Dan Ireland in 1980. The duo were the first to transform it into the Egyptian-themed theater. After running it for nearly a decade, SIFF sold the theater to Landmark in 1989. Seattle Central bought the building two years later, keeping Landmark as its tenant.

Man stabbed after reported fight at Broadway and Pike

Seattle Police found a male victim with stab wounds to his back after a fight at Broadway and Pike early Thursday morning.

UPDATE: The 61-year-old stabbing victim was treated and released from Harborview on Thursday morning, according to a hospital spokesperson.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, officers were called to the area to a report of a group in an altercation at the intersection just after 2 AM. One person in the fight described as a white male possibly in his 40s was reported to have fallen to the ground before he got up and started walking southbound from the scene on Broadway. UPDATE: A report on the incident released by SPD Thursday morning says the victim is a 61-year-old man from out of state. Police say the victim reportedly got into an argument on E Pike and was stabbed in the back, beat with a skateboard and struck on the head with a bottle.

Police are looking for multiple suspects in the assault: Continue reading