Warby Parker latest big brand with plans to join Pike/Pine

(Image: Warby Parker Fremont)

A burst of block-long, preservation incentive-boosted apartment buildings has already created hundreds of new — expensive — homes along Pike/Pine below Broadway. The developments are also reshaping the commercial mix for the neighborhood with big name brands and new-era retail showcases.

The next big name to join E Pine, CHS has learned, will be fashion eyewear retailer Warby Parker on a stretch of street that is meshing Capitol Hill development with downtown demographics.

While the company has not yet responded to CHS requests for information about the planned store in the eight-story Excelsior building at Melrose and Pine, permits show plans for a $388,000 buildout of a new eyeglass shop, the third Warby Parker store in Seattle. Continue reading

Laughing Buddha moving into new home at Broadway and Pine

If you are looking for the heart of Capitol Hill, you might want to follow Laughing Buddha. After 20 years on Broadway, the tattoo and body piercing studio is moving into a new home this summer closer to Pike/Pine.

“The area was the epicenter,” Laughing Buddha owner Christy Brooker says of the shop’s longtime home on the north end of Broadway. “Over time, we follow where Capitol Hill moves.

CHS talked to Brooker in 2016 after she took over Laughing Buddha and celebrated the studio’s 20 years of business on Capitol Hill. Her next big move will take Laughing Buddha into the Seattle Central-owned South Annex/International Programs building at Pine and Broadway into a new space designed by 15th Ave E-headquartered Board and Vellum. Continue reading

Rain City Fit will bring former home of Crypt kink shop back to life with new gym

The crew from the Stranger might pick up new, healthy habits as a long-empty retail space across the street from the alt media outfit’s Capitol Hill office is about to kick back into motion.

Rain City Fit is preparing to move into the former home of The Crypt, the west coast chain kink shop that folded in Pike/Pine in the summer of 2015.

“It’s a real big space and a tough time for retail. For me, I’m just trying to build a nice gym that is going to fit well with the Capitol Hill community,” owner Ben Koenigsberg tells CHS. Continue reading

$14M deal for Elliott Bay Book Company building

A prime piece of Pike/Pine’s commercial past and present has a new owner. A company associated with the Keeler Investment Group, an investor in “Pacific Northwest-based, early stage, private equity and real estate opportunities,” for $14 million, according to King County records.

Longtime owner Capitol Hill-based Hunters Capital announced the sale Monday of the Ford Building, the 97-year-old former auto row warehouse now home to Elliott Bay Book Company, the Little Oddfellows cafe, and upscale fashion retailer Totokaelo

In March, Hunters officials told CHS they had a letter of intent with a local buyer.  “It’s not some big, national conglomerate,” Mike Oaksmith, director of development at Hunters said at the time. Elliott Bay owner Peter Aaron told CHS that the bookstore is well positioned for any change of building ownership. Aaron said Elliott Bay is in the midst of a “long term” lease — “more than 10 years is what I’m comfortable saying,” Aaron told CHS. Continue reading

Homestead Seattle grows into new space in Pike/Pine, sprouts new plant shop on E Olive St

The folks behind vintage furniture and design brand Homestead Seattle have been growing all sorts of things. Their design shop is about to grow into a larger, much more prominent space. And, Sunday, the new Homestead Seattle Plant Shop will blossom on E Olive St near 23rd Ave.

“We’ve definitely seen more apartment gardening,” Ryan Tansey tells CHS about some of the trends at play behind the new shop at 2202 E Olive St. “People who are moving to the hill are less likely to have a yard to work with,” Tansey said. “And I’ve also heard from some people that because many people are having kids later, having plants around is another way to have something to nurture and grow.” Continue reading

Ultra running from Capitol Hill, Pike/Pine shop owner completes decade-long race

Morrison at Fleet Feet (Image: Kelly Knickerbocker for CHS)

Morrison at Fleet Feet (Image: Kelly Knickerbocker for CHS)

In 2006, a 27-year-old ultra runner from Seattle was poised to take first place in the notoriously grueling 100-mile-long Western States Endurance race. Garbled video footage shows Brian Morrison, now the owner of Fleet Feet Sport Seattle in Capitol Hill, struggling to stay upright in the final moments of the race. His body was shutting down.

Over the loudspeaker, an announcer says Morrison is just 50 meters from the finish line. He walks, weaving along the track with a heavy expression. He begins to run, but collapses. With help from his team, Morrison gets up, moves forward and collapses again. This happens several times before he eventually wins the race — his first-ever attempt. An amazing finish.

He didn’t know it yet, but 2006 wouldn’t mark the end of Morrison’s Western States story.

Ethan Newberry, a filmmaker and ultra runner who’s also from Seattle, documented Morrison’s 2016 return to Western States in A Decade On. The 40-minute film was released to YouTube last month and has since been around 70,000 times — striking a chord with runners and non-runners alike.

“It’s about setting a goal and working toward that goal, no matter what it is. Things get hard. Work through it and stay positive. Hard work generally leads to good results,” Morrison said.

A day after the race in 2006, Morrison learned that he’d been disqualified.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill tattoo artist’s restorative work helps breast cancer survivors mark end to battle

IMG_1049For most of his 27-year career, Dark Age Tattoo artist Eric Eye has specialized in realistic portraiture and textural work.

“It’s something that’s come naturally to me,” Eye said about his focus.

About a year before Eye met his girlfriend, she had had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in her battle with breast cancer. To get a well done restorative nipple tattoo, she had to travel to the east coast.

“Her story, it really kind of spoke to me. I understood it on a very personal level how much of a transformation it had made for her,” he told CHS.

Not safe for some people’s work warning: A couple nipples below.

Continue reading

‘Contemporary furniture’ retailer Blu Dot opening showroom on Capitol Hill

Minimalist but friendly, Blu Dot is bringing one its few worldwide showrooms to an auto row building on Capitol Hill that has been home to furniture before.

CHS has learned that the Minneapolis-headquartered furniture, design, and lifestyle brand will open a Seattle showroom on the corner of Pine and Crawford Place in the Colman Automotive building that is currently a whir of construction activity for a seismic overhaul and tenant upgrades. The work will create the new Blu Dot store and a new restaurant project lined up to neighbor it as well as a rooftop bar. The building was the longtime home of original and vintage furniture concern Area 51.

There are currently only five Blu Dot showrooms around the world. The most recent addition opened in Chicago this winter. UPDATE: “Blu Dot currently has six stores in the U.S. and nine stores globally,” a company rep tells CHS. Continue reading

Toddler survives fall from Pike apartment building window

A toddler survived a fall from an upper-story apartment window near Pike and Boren late Sunday afternoon.

Seattle Fire units were at the scene to treat the child in the raised courtyard behind the Villa Apartments just above the Plymouth Pillars off-leash area on the backside of the building. The victim suffered lacerations in the fall but was conscious when medics arrived, according to emergency radio dispatches. Seattle Fire rushed the child, reported to be around 18 months old, to the hospital for further observation and treatment.

Seattle Fire and SPD were called to the area to a report of at least a four-story fall just after 4:30 PM. Police were at the scene investigating the incident.

According to Seattle Fire, the boy fell onto a pergola before falling to the concrete courtyard. The child was reported by SFD as “alert” when medics arrived and was transported to Children’s Hospital.

The Villa Apartments building is made up of two structures including a five-story addition to the original 1908-built structure completed in 1990. It is managed by Capitol Hill Housing.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Salt and Straw expanding to Seattle in Pike Motorworks

Back in the day before there was such a thing, the lack of Capitol Hill ice cream was a neighborhood meme. In 2017, the situation has changed. While there isn’t yet a scoop shop on every block, Capitol Hill is home to some of the city’s finest — and most interesting — ice creams and frozen treats. And now the you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream scene is about to get even more interesting.

Portland’s Salt and Straw has been flirting with Seattle since last summer. This year, CHS has learned the culinary-focused ice cream brand known fascinating flavors will continue its expansion beyond PDX and LA with a new shop on Capitol Hill at Pike and Boylston inside the preservation-friendly Pike Motorworks development that stretches a full block in the heart of Pike/Pine. Continue reading