Clever Dunne’s, Capitol Hill’s ‘Irish House,’ to close at end of month

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

2017 is shaping up to be a sad year for the neighborhood bars of E Howell. Wednesday night, the staff and management of Clever Dunne’s are telling regulars the bad news. At the end of January, the Capitol Hill Irish pub will close.

“It came quick,” Dunne’s manager Jared Thomson tells CHS. “We knew things were happening but not like this.”

Thomson said Clever Dunne’s had another two years on its lease but the pub’s deal has been bought out and the drinking spot needs to be shut down and moved out by January 31st. Continue reading

Board and developers agree, Midtown Center project needs further review

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-58-13-pmIt’s not often that the backers behind a big time project in Seattle ask to be slowed by another review. But the project to redevelop Midtown Center and a city fully city block at 23rd and Union is complicated.

The East Design Review Board agreed Wednesday night that the project planned for 2301 E Union should, indeed, return for a second Early Design Guidance meeting.

Brad Reisinger with Lennar Multifamily Communities, one of the site developers along with Regency Centers, requested a second EDG because the project is complicated due to the block-sized site and the pending agreement with the Africatown nonprofit.

An agreement between developers to sell Africatown about 20% of the 2.4-acre property at 23rd and Union to give the nonprofit an ownership stake is still being finalized. Regency is currently under contract to purchase the block.

CHS looked at the history of the block, its importance in the Black community, and the long road to redevelopment for Midtown here. Capitol Hill Housing, meanwhile, is developing the Liberty Bank Building across the street from Midtown Center under a community agreement with partners including Africatown that will be fully affordable and  is hoped to become a template for inclusive development in Seattle.

Plans from Encore Architects for the Midtown Center project propose two seven-story buildings with 355 units in one and 120 in the other. In the larger building, 10% of the units and a to be determined portion of the units in the second would be affordable. Plans also include a large local grocery store, pharmacy, smaller retail spaces and 482 parking spaces. CHS looked at the design here earlier this week.

“The overall mass and scale seem kind of grotesque in my mind,” one neighbor on 24th Ave said. Many commenters raised similar concerns and the board referred to the proposed development as “massive.” Continue reading

Design review: Long paths for Midtown Center’s mixed-use grocery future, Hill dive bar-turned microhousing

Blueprint Howell

Blueprint Howell

Long-anticipated development is the shared theme Wednesday night as the East Design Review Board takes its first look at two projects neighbors have been expecting for years — one will replace the home of a classic Capitol Hill dive bar, the other could redefine the heart of the Central District.

600 E Howell
You know it best as the Redwood. After more than 10 years on E Howell, the much-loved, and long-doomed dive bar is set to be replaced by a seven-story, mixed-use building that will create 73 “Small Efficiency Dwelling Units,” and four studio apartments atop 1,500 square feet of commercial space. Continue reading

Enjoy the Annapurnas and The Redwoods you know and love… 2017 is coming

In this week of regrets and coulda, woulda, shouldas, here is an opportunity to get ahead of the sadness and enjoy some of your favorite things before… well, things change.

Two design reviews being planned for the start of 2017 have big implications for two Capitol Hill small businesses that have grown into neighborhood favorites.

First, on January 11th, the first review is planned for the seven-story apartment building slated to replace the block where The Redwood stands today.

Two weeks later, subterranean Broadway eatery Annapurna and its street-level Yeti Bar will watch as the six-story mixed-use project set to replace its home gets its first review.

Both procedural events will start the clock ticking on the end as we know it for the popular neighborhood joints. You will have at least a year for the design review process to play out and typically several more months for the demolition and construction permits to be lined up. Continue reading

One injured escaping Belmont Ave apartment fire

(Image: Seattle Fire)

(Image: Seattle Fire)

One person was reported injured escaping and Seattle Fire was assessing whether the residents of the 25-unit, low income apartment building could return to their homes after an overnight fire in Belmont Ave’s Granberg Apartments.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene around 1:33 AM to reports of black smoke billowing from the upper floors of the three-story apartment building on Belmont near Howell. Firefighters found what was described as a small fire in a room on the second floor. Seattle Fire reported the fire under control within 15 minutes of arrival at the scene.

According to SFD, one person sustained an injury escaping the blaze. The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was reported in stable condition. Units in the building were being assessed for fire, smoke, and water damage as residents hoped to return to their units on the rainy night. SFD reports the Red Cross was called in to help provide shelter for two men displaced from damaged units.

The 1908-built Granberg Apartments are operated by Pioneer Human Services and provide low income housing to residents with “verifiable income” and “supportive of a clean and sober living environment.”

UPDATE 10/10/2016: Seattle Fire reports that the fire caused $70,000 in damage and was caused by an “overheated electrical extension cord.”

Capitol Hill’s Redwood bar still stands

Eventually Capitol Hill’s Redwood may be branching out to a new location outside of Seattle, but for now it is still standing at its home of more than 10 years at Howell and Belmont.

Bar owners Lisa and Mat Brooke, a former member of the rock band Band of Horses, signed another six-month lease in May as plans to demolish the building and construct apartments continue to be delayed.

“As awful as it all is … I’m glad they’re actually working with us,” Lisa said about the developers who are keeping them updated. Continue reading

Amante Pizza’s infamous flashing sign re-illuminated on E Olive Way


Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture.

The Amante Pizza sign has come beaming back to life and at least one Capitol Hill man is making it known he is very unhappy about it.

Long a source of neighborhood grumbling, the video screen that flashes pizza promotions at Denny and E Olive Way has been criticized as an unfitting welcome sign to Capitol Hill. After a complaint was made last year, a city inspector confirmed it was not only a matter of taste, finding a “violation of changing image frequency.” A subsequent inspection found the same issue. Continue reading

Capitol Hill neighbors vote on Pavement to Parks designs for Summit, ask for more activities

A seating area, games, a stage, a food truck — these were all suggestions for how to transform a small section of Summit Ave E between E Denny Way and E Olive Way into a public park.

But first the Seattle Department of Transportation took votes on nine maze-themed designs to brighten up the pavement Thursday night at the site as part of the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk. The department also accepted other submissions for the Pavement to Parks project that evening.

“The more colorful, the better,” said Keith Haubrich who lives nearby. He liked SDOT’s suggested Pac Man-themed design.

Capitol Hill resident-submitted designs included a blue and green Earth-like maze, a geometric design created with triangles that seem to pop out of the pavement in the options of blue or orange tones, the words “Capitol Hill” in four different color options, and “The Hill in Transit” a public transportation map.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Ghost Gallery raising funds for online store

Art space Ghost Gallery is trying to crowdfund its online expansion.

The Capitol Hill gallery, located at 504 E Denny Way, announced an Indiegogo campaign with a target of $10,000 by early July to fund the completion of the online expansion by fall 2016.

Gallery founder Laurie Kearney says she is expanding her online store to keep up with the an increasingly digital market, both for art collectors and more run-of-the-mill shoppers looking for handmade items. “Taking the website to the next level will enable the gallery to reach a wider national/global audience, which in turn will of course create a positive impact on the artists and makers I work with,” said Kearney. “More people shop online out of convenience, and it’s time for the gallery to embrace that.” Continue reading

How about a 3D ‘pop-up’ maze for Capitol Hill’s Summit pavement park?


Something like this on Summit? (Image:

The City of Seattle has crunched the numbers and processed the feedback for Capitol Hill’s first Pavement to Parks project. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation planner working on the project, this is what City Hall heard about the opportunity to claim 3,000 square feet of Summit Ave between Denny and Olive for community use beyond parking and driving:

  • The results from this survey indicated significant interest in providing seating and natural elements in the new public space.
  • Several people also suggested painting a ground plane mural on the street that would celebrate Capitol Hill’s arts culture. The idea of an interactive maze (similar to the new painting at Seattle Center) received strong support from the respondents.
  • Based on these results, we discussed creating a 3D pop-up maze that could include benches and planters integrated with a painted maze on the street surface

According to an email sent to representatives of community groups working on the project, the city is thinking about holding “a maze mural competition in the neighborhood to involve the local artists in the design of space” and holding a vote to select a favorite design. The vote will likely take place during the July 14th Capitol Hill Art Walk.

According to the email, SDOT will reach out to “adjacent businesses and property owners” about the project.

As speakeasy fad fades, Capitol Hill’s Knee High Stocking Co. steps forward

Knee High - 16 of 30

Knee High’s Jack Valko (Image: CHS)

Knee High Stocking Co. was a pioneer in Seattle’s speakeasy resurgence when it opened in 2009 on an appropriately ignored block at the bottom of E Olive Way. It quickly became a reliable stop on Capitol Hill’s budding craft cocktail circuit. When Amazon arrived down the hill just a few years later, the bar’s popularity took off.

While Amazon executives and cocktail lovers continue to pack the intimate lounge, owner Jack Valko thinks that some of the speakeasy novelty has started to fade.

“I think it’s played out because craft cocktailing has gone mainstream. So, mission accomplished,” he said. “We’re going to change as the neighborhood changes.” Continue reading