Sad about the ghosts of Capitol Hill? Ghost Gallery making best of lost lease

We’re just going to warn you right now. The end of any year typically brings a pulse of sad news as businesses new and businesses old lose or give up their place on Capitol Hill. With a boom economy, surging real estate market, and destructive capitalism coursing through Seattle’s veins, 2017 will probably be rough on your nostalgia.

Maybe we can all learn something from Hill business owner and Ghost Gallery founder¬†Laurie Kearney. Her announcement of a lost lease and one final holiday season in the shop’s seven-year home was downright positive and hopeful: Continue reading

After years of impending development doom, Redwood’s end accelerated

When you have been declared dead as many times as much-loved Capitol Hill dive bar the Redwood, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the final days include a plot twist. CHS reported to start the week on the Wednesday night design review for the project set to replace the bar and the Redwood’s plans for a November 18th goodbye blowout.

Even a funeral that has been planned for years can’t outmaneuver the cold, hard cruelty of the lease. Owner Lisa Brooke tells CHS the bar just found out it needs to be moved out by November 1st. So, the Redwood is pushing up its wake to a Halloween goodbye party. You can dress up as the sad neighbor. Or a Port Angeles hipster.

Lisa and Mat Brooke say they plan to move some of the old guts of the Redwood to the Olympic Peninsula to open up a new joint in PA.

But don’t get your hopes up for yet another reprieve after years of warnings that the Redwood’s end was coming.

“Mat jokes we’re the bar that cries wolf, but this one’s the real dealūüėĘ,” Lisa assures us.

Redwood has goodbye date as plans for new building — and possible future bar space — take shape

The future of the Redwood

This being Capitol Hill, it’s probably not hugely surprising that the public design review process for a seven-story microhousing project should be fully in synch with the fate of the dive bar it is set to replace. In an announcement coinciding with the project’s first review in January, CHS reported the news that the Redwood would be closing November 16, 2017. We can now report that, with the second and likely final design review meeting for the project coming up this week, the Redwood will NOT be closing on November 16.

It’s a Thursday, turns out. One final blowout on November 18th makes a lot more sense. UPDATE: Uh oh. Change of plans. The Redwood’s final night is Halloween.

“We plan to close our doors Saturday November 18th (thinking the weekend would be a good last chance to say goodbye),” Lisa Brooke tells CHS, “then we move all our stuff out and will bring it to Port Angeles, where we hope to open a bar/restaurant.”

The Redwood’s heart and soul will live on — it’ll just be on the Olympic Peninsula. Someday, a little Redwood could possibly rise again on Capitol Hill, however.

600 E Howell
The 76-unit¬†Blueprint Howell¬†development planned for the Redwood’s lot is designed by¬†S+H Works¬†to emphasize a ‚Äúnarrow and articulated‚ÄĚ form that would focus the mass of the project along Howell and the west of the property while locating the street-level commercial space on the southwest corner of the lot. To make the preferred layout work, developers are asking for a series of zoning departures on the building‚Äôs setbacks — back in January, the design board was cool with the exceptions.

Design Review: 600 E Howell

There will be no parking spots for cars but the building should have space for about 56 bikes.

The project’s 1,200 feet of commercial space won’t be ready for years but it could eventually be home to a reborn Redwood or another project from the Brookes. Continue reading

Big, smoky fire scorches old Capitol Hill ‘dog lounge’ building

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

(Image courtesy Ella Li)

The building formerly home to a Capitol Hill’s “dog lounge” burned Wednesday morning in a smoke-spewing fire that sent one woman to the hospital.

Seattle Fire was called to the intersection of E Denny and E Olive Way just before 8:30 AM and began to battle a blaze from inside and on the roof of the building. The fire was upgraded to a “two alarm” response to bring in additional crews.

Seattle Fire crews reported the fire was nearly under control by 9 AM but it continued to burn and create significant amounts of smoke.

Seattle Fire says one woman was taken to Harborview from the scene. According to radio dispatches, the woman was outside the building and suffered smoke inhalation. SFD reported the woman to be in stable condition.

The building was home to the Downtown Dog Lounge until it left this summer due to what the owner said were crime and landlord issues.

The large, single-story 1924-built auto row building and surrounding property is also home to In The Bowl, the Holy Smoke head shop, and an outlet of the Beyond Vape chain. The long-shuttered Apocalypse Tattoo and Bus Stop bar spaces have also been vacant in the building for years.

UPDATE 12:40 PM: SFD says investigators have been unable to determine the cause of the fire. Damage is estimated at $500,000.

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

(Image courtesy Jesse Rope)

Downtown Dog Lounge leaving Capitol Hill

Just as the plans for Capitol Hill’s first cat cafe are finally taking shape, one of its longest running canine-focused businesses is getting ready to move out.

The Downtown Dog Lounge has been getting its furry clients ready for the big change on E Denny Way for a while now but officially announced its planned departure this week after 10 years on Capitol Hill: Continue reading

Dino’s Tomato Pie baking plan for new music venue below E Olive Way

Dino‚Äôs Tomato Pie is kind of like a Denny at E Olive Way time machine. Its next stop is a small start in reversing the neighborhood’s trend of restaurant concepts and developments pushing out the last vestiges of the Capitol Hill music scene.

“One, I like the idea of anti-gentrification, where small music venues are closing, we can actually add something,”¬†Brandon Pettit tells CHS about a project¬†he hopes will eventually create a new music and events venue at Dino’s.

Two, Pettit has¬†a Dino’s-sized underground level to work with below the bustling pizza joint. Continue reading

Here’s how much the City of Seattle spent to license Pac-Man for its Capitol Hill pavement park

$0. Turns out, a municipality can (probably) use all sorts of characters in its civic investments.

Along with our questions about the logistics of the pavement park program, CHS asked the Seattle Department of Transportation about any¬†licensing arrangement required for Summit at Howell at E Olive Way’s Pac-Man Park. It’s all about fair use, a spokesperson tells CHS:

SDOT worked closely with attorneys on evaluating this installation under the Fair Use Act provisions. SDOT believes that the use of the Pac Man inspired mural falls into the non-profit educational clause of the Act- particularly because this interpretation on a street is transformative and new; it captures the original use and design for an entirely different, educational, and not-for-profit purpose. Because we are not using the image for proprietary purposes, the city’s attorneys considered this installation to be defensible.

Forgive us for being paranoid. Capitol Hill just happens to have a history of litigation related to some of its more popular examples of street art.

Meanwhile, this might be now be the closest point to the park at which to play its namesake game:

CHS Pics | Ready! Capitol Hill’s Pac-Man pavement park takes shape

Pavement to Parks, Summit & Denny

A stretch of relatively dry winter days means any ghosts wandering around E Olive Way had better be on the lookout. A Seattle Department of Transportation crew has been at work installing the area’s latest pavement park, a now Pac-Man-themed stretch of street on a small section of Summit Ave E¬†between E¬†Denny Way and E¬†Olive Way. Continue reading

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.

‚ÄúThe overall mass and scale seem¬†kind of grotesque in my mind,‚ÄĚ one neighbor on 24th Ave said. Many commenters raised similar concerns and the board referred to the proposed development as ‚Äúmassive.‚ÄĚ Continue reading