For a century, it was almost exclusively Catholic men called Knights who were allowed to freely roam the lounges, smoking room and bowling alley of the Knights of Columbus headquarters on the south edge of Capitol Hill. They could work out, or attend Glee Club, dinners, and public speaking classes. Women could not be members. They hung out in the Ladies Parlor.
If everything goes according to plan, by 2021 or so, people of all types will be able to roam the three-story steel and brick masonry, Renaissance Revival-style building. The new owner, SRM Development, a Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties, hopes to refurbish the historic building through adaptive reuse.
Wednesday afternoon, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the building for historical protections during a public meeting and presentation. Continue reading
Are more Capitol Hill buildings headed towards landmark status in 2019? If you ask Capitol Hill Historical Society, the answer is a resounding yes.
Now, with new funding, that might just become a little easier for the local conservation non-profit. 4Culture, the cultural funding agency for King County, recently awarded CHHS two-year funding support of $2,000 total for its preservation advocacy and historic neighborhood education. Other groups receiving 2019-2020 Preservation Sustained Support funding include Historic Wallingford, Kent Downtown, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Seattle Chinatown-ID Preservation and Development Authority, among others.
It is the first time Capitol Hill Historical Society, since its early 2017 founding, received public funding. Until now, the nonprofit has relied on individual donations and goodwill from unpaid volunteer board members and other volunteers.
“It gives me the sense that things are moving forward and that we’re getting recognition. We must be doing something right,” said Tom Heuser, board president of the nonprofit and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. Continue reading
The future of 11th Ave is coworking (Image: Ankrom Moisan)
The preservation-incentive boosted development that is turning the old Capitol Hill Value Village space — and before that, REI, and before that, the Kelly Springfield Motor Truck Company — into an office and retail complex in the heart of Pike/Pine will be filled with desks from coworking startup WeWork.
The Puget Sound Business Journal broke the news Tuesday on the plans for the company to be the sole tenant in the five-story building, filing the project’s 70,000 square feet or so of office space with WeWork’s brand of glossy coworking space, entrepreneurial and “business incubator” services, and, maybe a WeWork company store. Continue reading
From a plan to gut and fill in its namesake garden courtyard with microhousing apartment units to setting the groundwork for landmarks protections that will preserve its architectural features for years to come — the 94th year of existence for Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Garden Apartments has been a big one.
In a pre-holiday vote last Wednesday, the Seattle landmarks board voted unanimously to make the Roy Vue a landmark and extend the city’s protections to the building’s exterior, central arcade, and, importantly, the site’s courtyard and elevated garden spaces. Continue reading
An effort to extend landmark protections to the Roy Vue building marks the Capitol Hill Historical Society’s first foray into preservation, but it won’t be the last.
“This is a sign of our involvement in the community,” said Rob Ketcherside, vice president of the society and a CHS contributor on Capitol Hill history. He said the nearly two-year-old group is hoping to do more such work, as long as members of the all-volunteer organization can find the time for it.
“It’s not about trying to control every property in the city. It’s about holding on to the heritage properties we have,” Ketcherside said. Continue reading
Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep Kshama Sawant is soldiering ahead with a “Save the Showbox” concert and rally at City Hall despited a $40 million lawsuit against the city over a surgical preservation ordinance that has temporarily staved off the sale and redevelopment of the 1st Ave venue.
Seattle husband and wife rock band Smokey Brights will headline the Wednesday, September 19th, 5:00 PM “Concert/Rally” preceding a public hearing in Seattle City Council chambers. UPDATE: The bill has grown with Sol, Sassy Black, and Dude York joining the show.
CHS reported earlier on the Sawant ordinance passed by the council and at the heart of the $40 million lawsuit from the Showbox property’s owner, a Las Vegas company owned by Seattle strip club magnate Roger Forbes. Among the arguments in the suit are allegations Sawant and other council members “engaged in ex parte communications with Save the Showbox supporters but failed to disclose those communications as required by law” and that the ordinance represents an illegal “spot zone.” Continue reading
A coalition led by Historic Seattle and residents of Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments has put the Bellevue Ave E building up for consideration for Seattle landmarks protections.
A plan for to convert the building to microhousing was stopped by a campaign led by building tenants, neighbors, and preservation advocates earlier this year.
A second report on the 94-year-old “eclectic Tudor Revival” structure was prepared at the request of property owner Alliance Multifamily Investments, according to the document (PDF) posted to the Department of Neighborhoods landmarks site. That report from July is now labeled as a “Historic Resource Report.”
The Kshama Sawant-championed Seattle City Council decision to “save the Showbox” by surgically sliding the 1st Ave venue under the historical protections of the Pike Place Market has the city staring down the barrel of a $40 million lawsuit and an embarrassing reversal of the ordinance.
While District 3 and Capitol Hill representative Sawant is mentioned by name only once in the 22-page suit, her political effort to stymie the planned sale and redevelopment of the property owned by strip club magnate Roger Forbes is front and center in the suit:
When politicians cater to populist calls – whether those calls are “lock her up,” “build the wall,” “ban Muslims,” or “Save the Showbox” – civil and other rights are placed at risk. Populism, and politicians’ desires to appease their loudest constituents and generate headlines must, however, yield to the rule of law. Luckily for those who prefer protection of civil, constitutional and property rights, the courts exist to preserve, protect and enforce the rule of law.
About the D3 council member herself, lawyers at the Seattle-based Byrnes, Keller, and Cromwell firm representing the property — set to be acquired by Canadian developer Onni Group to build a 44-story apartment building after demolition of the Showbox — say Sawant’s actions were an “Appearance of Fairness” violation: Continue reading
With reporting from Seattle City Council Insight
Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the “Save the Showbox” ordinance into law this week, adding the site of the music venue to the Pike Place Market Historical District for the next ten months. Though the venue is downtown and off the Hill, the efforts at City Hall will certainly ripple through the neighborhood given the importance of Pike/Pine’s remaining live music scene and the continuing pressures of redevelopment in Central Seattle. The episode might also present a framework for what needs to happen — or needs to not happen — the next time an important Capitol Hill cultural venue requires rescue.
So, what is actually being “saved” when it comes to the Showbox? Continue reading
Not everything is about preservation. The new Hugo House is set to open soon on 11th Ave.
As Seattle once again wrestles with the fragility of its arts spaces in the face of continued growth, change, and development, the Seattle City Council this week heard an update on City Hall’s efforts to preserve and grow the number of studios, galleries, and performance venues on Capitol Hill and across the city.
Tuesday, the Seattle Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts Committee convened to discuss the cultural space access and stabilization project currently being undertaken by the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS).
ARTS has been working for the past eight months to implement concepts proposed in The CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation and Preservation of Cultural Space (PDF), which was published by ARTS last year. ARTS is assessing the feasibility of the project and working on a racial equity toolkit to ensure the communities of color that will be impacted have their voices heard.
Council member Lisa Herbold, chair of the committee, expressed her support for the project and its research.
“Our ability to preserve cultural spaces is really important,” Herbold said. “It goes beyond one particular threatened cultural space and we really need to figure out what the tools are that we have available.” Continue reading