New Pike/Pine design and furniture showroom finds Plantation name worked in LA, won’t work in Seattle

Looking out from the showroom that will not be Plantation Design (Image: CHS)

Looking out from the showroom that will not be Plantation Design (Image: CHS)

Times change. If Plantation Design was born in any other era than the late 1990s, it might be known as Midcentury Modern Design or Flat Pack Scandinavian Design. But the new furniture and design boutique that just opened in Capitol Hill’s Pike Motorworks development was born when Southern Californians were into the plantation look of botanical motifs, woven surfaces, and shutters, apparently.

“We’re a small business and we’re back where we have roots,” Katie Largent tells CHS.

She also says the work has begun on a branding change. Plantation Design worked for around 17 years in Los Angeles and another showroom in San Francisco. But in Seattle and with the current awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement, the name has brought online criticism and a change of heart. Continue reading

With over 100 years of service, Angel’s Shoe Repair (and new friend Uncle Ike) planning end of month re-opening

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)

“No, we haven’t talked about that,” Ray Angel tells CHS in response to our jackass-level question about whether his about to re-open 105-year-old Seattle shoe repair business is planning any, um, joint promotions with new landlord Uncle Ike’s.

Growing accustom to dumb pot jokes will only be part of the changes the Angel’s Shoe Repair cobbler will face when his shop in the overhauled building at 15th and Republican opens soon.

“It’s really a great thing he’s done for me,” Angel said about Ian Eisenberg’s offer to lease a small portion of the building where he is building the new Capitol Hill pot shop. Angel said he will have his own entrance and will be fully separated from the high security retail cannabis operation. He’ll have a little less space than his old location on E Republican but will fill the shop with his old machines and cobbler gear. Continue reading

Area 51, providing excellent window shopping for 17 years, cuts back prior to ‘building re-tenanting’

(Images: Hunters Capital)

(Images: Hunters Capital)

It’s funny what businesses seem to be most firmly stitched into the collective fabric of Capitol Hill. CHS can tell by the number of messages we’ve received about E Pine design and furniture gallery Area 51 that the retailer is a key stitch in many people’s daily lives — if only because we walk by and wonder how much the store gets for that sofa in the window.

If you’ve seen Area 51’s windows darkened recently, no, the shop hasn’t gone out business. Ownership tells CHS that the store is operating on reduced hours and open only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons but declined to say more about the future of Area 51 at this time.

We can tell you that the commercial space in the Colman Automotive building is available for lease.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s first float spa coming to 12th and Madison

IMG_8731If a counterbalance exists to Capitol Hill’s abundance of bars and restaurants, sensory deprivation therapy might be it. The neighborhood’s first flotation therapy pods are landing at the intersection of 12th, E Union and Madison as Urban Float plans to open its fifth location in the Viva Capitol Hill building.

The long wedge-shaped retail space had previously been marketed as a showcase opportunity for a bar or restaurant with at least one big project backing out after making plans for the giant wedge-shaped space.

Urban Float founder Joe Beaudry said an open date has not been set although posters for the business recently went up on Viva’s windows. “After some review and customer feedback it was made apparent that Capitol Hill with its dense demographic was a perfect location for us to expand,” Beaudry said. Continue reading

Central Co-op CEO announces exit

arnettAs Central Co-op attempts to win a place anchoring the commercial development around Capitol Hill Station and repair the situation in Tacoma where it is looking for a new location to open a market after this year’s merger, it will do so while searching for a new leader.

CEO Dan Arnett told the 40-year-old cooperative’s members Thursday he will be stepping down in December to head a co-op in Sacramento. Arnett told CHS he was ready for a new challenge and that controversy over the closure of Central Co-op Tacoma had no impact on his decision to leave Seattle.

8446998444_a8c3a36dab“It’s really irrelevant to my decision making process,” he said. “There’s always some group that’s mad about something.”

Overseeing the merger of the Tacoma co-op with the  E Madison-headquartered Central Co-op was one of Arnett’s most significant accomplishments during his four years in Seattle. The Tacoma store later closed when Central Co-op could not reach an agreement on a new lease. Arnett said there were no plans for Central Co-op to make any further mergers, with Sacramento or elsewhere.

Last month, CHS reported on the frustrations of Tacoma co-op members following the abrupt closure of their store in the wake of a merger. Christine Cooley of Tacoma’s Friends of the Co-op group told CHS that she hopes Arnett’s resignation could expedite the opening of a new Tacoma store. “I worry a lot for Sacramento,” she said.

Continue reading

Elliott Bay Book Co. gets digital audio book upgrade


The new service will also move Elliott Bay’s curated lists, recommendations into the world of e-books

When people go into Elliott Bay Book Co., they know about Amazon, explains Mark Pearson. Shoppers realize they could get the same book, often for less money at the Internet giant, but they choose to go to their local, independent bookstore for a neighborhood experience and neighborly recommendations.

“They want to shop local, and they believe in the value of the store,” Pearson said.

So Pearson, who runs, is teaming with Elliott Bay and other independent bookstores to offer audio books digitally.

Pearson said that digital audiobooks are growing at a rate of 30% to 40% annually, while sales of CD-based audio books are drying up. Without a physical product to sell, independent bookstores have been mostly shut out of that growth. So he started his company, based in the U-District, and began partnering with independent stores around the country. Continue reading

Construction begins on The Danforth, home to Whole Foods and 265 ‘luxury apartments’ on First Hill

Danforth Rendering 2

Danforth Rendering 1The 16-story tower where Whole Foods plans to open by 2018 will be filled with “luxury apartments” and will be known as The Danforth, the project’s developers said Thursday in an announcement marking the start of construction at Broadway and Madison.

“We expect The Danforth to be a destination for residents and workers of not just First Hill and Capitol Hill but also surrounding neighborhoods including downtown Seattle, Madison Park, Madison Valley and the Central District,” Todd Seneker, portfolio manager for Columbia Pacific Advisors, said in the “alternative investment” firm’s announcement. Continue reading

Two Big Blondes Storewide Sale

GIANT STOREWIDE SALE is Friday & Saturday, August 26th & 27th 11am – 6pm. Every item in the store on sale at 25%, 50%, 75% or 95% off.

BAG SALE is Saturday, August 27th ONLY opening at 11:00 am. Fill a bag of clothing from our basement for only $8.00 per bag with proceeds going to the Seattle Women’s Assistance Fund. Enter through the parking lot, not the main store front. We will be passing out numbers and will regulate entrance to assure that everyone is able to safely shop the basement.

WEDDING GOWN PRE-SALE is Thursday August 25th when you can get sale prices (25% – 95% off) with more time & space to try on the gowns.

Facebook event:

Interior designer — and pillow boutique — moves in as businesses shuffle on E Pine

IMG_0010 Michelle Dirkse’s interior design firm was set to become the victim of a familiar bogeyman in Seattle – redevelopment. The Belltown building which housed her 3.5-year-old business was getting a facelift, but Belltown’s loss is Capitol Hill’s gain, as she moves into new offices on E Pine.

“Now, we have a bigger, better space in a great neighborhood,” Dirkse said.

Dirkse said walking to work is a priority for her, so she’s actually moved house from Belltown to Capitol Hill, as well. Both she and the business changed locations at the same time in mid-June.

The new location affords Dirkse space for the dual focus of her business. Dirkse and the three others who work there are a traditional interior design firm with both residential and commercial clients. While the designers are always looking for just the right piece, she said the firm prides itself on being able to help actually design pieces of furniture for a space, rather than buying them from retailers.

“We’re not just shopping, we’re designing,” she said. Continue reading

What the development set to replace City People’s will look like

E Madison looking northeast... to the future or, at least, beyond Madison Valley

E Madison looking northeast… to the future or, at least, beyond Madison Valley

The controversial project planned to replace much loved gardening store City People’s in Madison Valley will be on the design review docket Wednesday night. Expect some community pushback.

Here’s an excerpt from an “open letter” from the Save Madison Valley Group to the PCC grocery chain which is slated to open a store as the anchor tenant in the new development.

This building is misplaced because of its scale and scope, its impact on the area, and it is disrespectful of the community. It works only in so far as an attempt is being made to squeeze every possible dollar out of the property on the backs of the surrounding neighbors and the larger Madison Valley community.

“Why misplaced?,” you ask. They say: Continue reading

Developers finally reach key milestone in Capitol Hill Station retail, housing project

Screen-Shot-2015-04-21-at-2.03.07-PM-600x7811-600x781Developers behind the retail and housing project that will surround Capitol Hill Station have reached a long awaited milestone towards starting construction.

CHS has learned that Gerding Edlen has signed an agreement with Sound Transit that lays out, among other things, the terms of a $25 million land lease for the project site along Broadway between E Denny Way and E John.

In March, a representative for the Portland-based developer told CHS the two sides were “really close” to signing a so-called term sheet. The preliminary agreement sets the terms for Gerding Edlen to lease three sites from Sound Transit and purchase the fourth, where Capitol Hill Housing will build an 86-unit affordable housing development.

“It took more than a year for them to negotiate the term sheet, in large part because structuring a lease instead of a purchase and sale proved complicated,” said Brie Gyncild of the Capitol Hill Champion, a community group that has worked for years to insert neighborhood priorities into the project.

Sound Transit has said the land was worth around $25 million and that Gerding Edlen was aiming for a 75-year deal to lease the properties. 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