E Pike rumor dot com: Amazon just might be opening a grocery store on Capitol Hill

It's not very interesting inside... yet (Image: CHS)

It’s not very interesting inside… yet (Image: CHS)

A bookstore in U Village. A drive-up grocery store in Ballard. A checkout-less convenience store on 7th Ave in Amazon-ville. With Amazon’s voice control platform Alexa reportedly “stealing the show” at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the retailing giant has also been busy innovating and testing new concepts in its home city. But, so far, none of its “meatspace” experiments have made a home on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of its employees live.

That might be about to change.

CHS has learned that an Amazon executive central to the rollout of the company’s retail projects including 7th Ave’s Amazon Go checkout-less concept is involved in the giant and highly secretive retail project slated to fill a 10,000 square-foot retail space in the Mercedes Benz dealership-turned AVA Capitol Hill development in the 600 block E Pike.

A development manager for Avalon Communities declined to comment telling CHS he was not allowed to discuss the tenant and Amazon has not replied to inquiries about the project.

The Amazon senior program manager included in City of Seattle filings on the project worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go, according to his Linked In profile. Continue reading

Retail vet Retrofit Home celebrates construction-free bump in Pike/Pine shopping

A new Retrofit sofa takes a rest on the mostly construction-free E Pike (Image: Retrofit Home)

A new Retrofit sofa takes a rest on the mostly construction-free E Pike (Image: Retrofit Home)

As Seattleites make a mad dash to finish their holiday shopping, the owners of Retrofit Home are enjoying what they say is heavy foot traffic in Pike/Pine and high sales.

“We’re having an incredible season,” said co-owner Jon Milazzo.

Milazzo’s business partner Lori Pomeranz said they started to see traffic increase for holiday shopping around mid October, which is earlier than ever before. The CHS advertiser has been in business at 1103 E Pike since 2005.

Milazzo and Pomeranz attribute their higher sales and success this holiday season to multiple factors. The first: a lack of construction in their part of the neighborhood. They said it’s the first in many years that there isn’t a lot of construction going on around their location on the corner of 11th and E Pike.

“Pike/Pine has really become a walking neighborhood again,” Milazzo said, adding that there is more parking available and no loud construction noise. Continue reading

One last chance to say goodbye to the Capitol Hill Value Village

We said goodbye to its temporary incarnation as Capitol Hill Arts District community space V2 with a dance party. A fitting farewell for its funky fresh life as the center of Capitol Hill thrifting starts Tuesday and lasts three nights as the old Kelly Springfield Truck Company turned REI turned Value Village (with a lot of other bits and pieces in between) hosts the Punk Rock Flea Market for one last gasp of creosote and dust on 11th Ave:

Punk Rock Flea Market

CHS broke the sad news in October 2015 that the popular Capitol Hill location of the thrift shop chain was preparing to close after one final Halloween. Macklemore was devastated. The building owned by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain was lined to have the property developed by local real estate developer Legacy CommercialContinue reading

Capitol Hill’s Raygun Lounge rolling out barcade expansion, espresso

(Image: Gamma Ray Games/Raygun Lounge)

(Image: Gamma Ray Games/Raygun Lounge)

Fans of Gamma Ray Games and Raygun Lounge have likely noticed some changes and can expect a few more in the coming months.

A grand reopening to celebrate the overhaul including new lighting, and some layout changes for the combined Capitol Hill retail/gaming/eating/drinking space is planned for Saturday. More arcade games, coffee and beer taps are on their way.

“The neighborhood has changed a lot and the market has changed a lot so we’re kind of adjusting,” owner Eric Logan told CHS. “…What we used to do worked seven years ago. It doesn’t work today.” Continue reading

You can soon ‘Go’ to Amazon’s new automagic grocery store on your way back to Capitol Hill

Only a mile from the crowd around the self check-out kiosks at the Harvard Market QFC, a new shopping experience — probably worked on by a few Capitol Hill residents who have stood in that crowd — will be unveiled early next year on 7th Ave.

Amazon Go will be a “self driving” grocery store in Seattle’s burgeoning new Amazonia neighborhood where shoppers can walk in and walk out with anything they like — without having to wait to ring up their purchases.

“What if we could weave the most advanced machine learning, computer vision and AI into the very fabric of a store, so you never have to wait in line,” the promo video released Monday morning asks. “No lines, no checkout, no registers — welcome to Amazon Go.”

The company’s secret grocery project comes as the retail giant has laid claim to around a third of the country’s online holiday spending this year and many industry watchers have been predicting advances with delivery technology like drones. The company is also planning drive-up grocery stores with a prototype nearly ready to open in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

While the planned Amazon Go debut in 2017 at 2131 7th Ave has garnered a lot of buzz, we’ll be more impressed when the retailer shows its new system can work on Broadway where many grocery shoppers have been employing a version of “just walk out technology” for years.

“Take whatever you like. Anything you pick up is automatically added to your virtual card. If you change your mind about that, Cupcake, just put it back…”

Across from Capitol Hill Station, Zoom+Care plans second Broadway clinic

Considering Zoom+Care clinics don’t accept Tricare, Medicaid or Medicare — they’ve been accused of focusing on focusing care on young and healthy patients — it makes sense the company would open a second Capitol Hill location. But this new location will also draw patients from a wider range thanks to proximity to Capitol Hill Station.

The company, which provides urgent, primary and specialist care, has submitted a plan to the city of Seattle to take over empty space in the new construction of the Hollywood Lofts building at 127 Broadway E, turning it into a clinic with four universal care rooms, a support room, and a pharmacy lab. Zoom officials told CHS they would be in touch last week but haven’t provided additional information on a second planned clinic on Broadway. Continue reading

City People’s has plan to stay in Madison Valley through 2017

(Image: City People's)

(Image: City People’s)

For Central Seattleites who buy their season’s greetings greenery at Madison Valley’s City People’s, a visit for the holidays won’t be quite as bittersweet with news the garden store is working on a lease that will keep the much loved retailer in its longtime home for another year.

Here’s the announcement made to customers this weekend:

We wanted to let you know that future City People’s Garden Store owners, Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales, are in negotiations for an 11-month lease to remain at our current location through 2017. The redevelopment project at the site has been delayed, providing this opportunity. The agreement is in the works with the property owners and developers, and they are hopeful this will go through. Their goal is for the store to reopen in February, with many of its current employees, business as usual — as they continue their effort in finding a more permanent site. We will keep you posted and appreciate your continued love and support! Stay tuned!

The store’s management says the plan would be for City People’s to finish up the holiday season, close for January, and then reopen in the new year for another 11 months in Madison Valley.

City People’s had been heading into what was expected to be its final holiday in Madison Valley doing the kinds of things it has done to help connect Seattle to its dirt since its 1979 founding on Capitol Hill at 19th and Republican. In late October, plans for the four-story PCC-centered, mixed-use development lined up for the property got kicked back in the design review process helping to give the retailer a longer lease on life along E Madison.

In March, CHS broke the news on the plans for the City People’s ownership to sell the land to developer The Velmeir Companies, a Michigan-based “full service commercial retail development company.” This fall, Dianne Casper, one of the longtime owners of City People’s and its unusually large tract of E Madison land, said the company held out for the right partner despite interest from developers of luxury condos and pharmacy chains. “This time we are leaving a legacy to be proud of,” she said.

Chamber director marks first year with preparations for new Capitol Hill Alliance

Sierra Hansen, one year into the job and ready for big changes (Image: CHS)

Sierra Hansen, one year into the job and ready for big changes (Image: CHS)

On the Wednesday after Election Day, Sierra Hansen hit the one year mark as the executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Instead of celebrating the career milestone, Hansen spent part of the day mourning the outcome of the election. In the months leading up to Donald Trump’s win, Hansen has been working to transform the chamber and will continue to do so in 2017.

“We’ve exceeded pretty much every fundraising goal we’ve set for ourselves, we’ve exceeded membership, we’ve continued these traditions in the neighborhood, we’ve revitalized … we’ve done so many new and refreshing things, but there are still really important challenges in our neighborhood,” Hansen said.

While Hansen lives in the Alki neighborhood, she previously lived on the Hill and spent more than two decades of her life working, partying, enjoying the food and drink scene, and finding herself as a young bisexual.

“This is still my heart,” Hansen said. Continue reading

Local home decor business Stock and Pantry joins big names in Capitol Hill’s Excelsior

Rendering courtesy of Stock & Pantry

Rendering courtesy of Stock and Pantry

The Bauhaus block at Melrose and Pine has undergone a huge transformation becoming Excelsior Apartments, a mixed-use development.

One of its tenants, a local small business called Stock and Pantry has also transformed from a sauce and spread company to a home decor and lifestyle business as owner Sasha Clark prepares to move into the space.

Clark started the company three years ago making jellies, mustards and other spreads, which she sold online and in some boutique stores — she hasn’t had her own storefront. Until now.

“When the plywood came down off of the storefront of the Excelsior I just went, ‘Oh my god, that’s perfect,’” she told CHS. Continue reading

Uncle Ikes — and Angel’s Shoe Repair — now open on Capitol Hill

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Seattle’s largest pot purveyor and the city’s oldest shoe cobbler are finally ready to make their improbable double-header debut on Capitol Hill.

Ian Eisenberg opened his third Uncle Ike’s marijuana shop at 15th and E Republican Friday at 8 AM while Ray Angel debuted his re-opened Angel’s Shoe Repair next door after closing last year.

Eisenberg said he expects his Capitol Hill shop, the neighborhood’s second, will be less of a destination than the first Uncle Ike’s on 23rd and Union. “Probably more of a neighborhood feel, more people walking in because there’s less parking,” he said. Continue reading

Ada’s Technical Books adding event space and cocktail bar The Lab to 15th Ave E

Three years ago Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe moved to 15th Ave E. One year after that it added The Office, a space for coworking. In a few weeks, owners Danielle and David Hulton will open their newest addition to the busy commercial village — The Lab at Ada’s, an events, party, meeting and learning space.

“If we get the idea to do something, it’s hard not to do it,” Danielle said.

Danielle said they plan to put on workshops and learning events and make the space available for rent to private groups. The space also gives Ada’s the option to have two events at the same time — one in The Lab and one in the cafe. The Hultons have been working with their manager’s team on possible events and have a launch series planned for January.

Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s Capitol Hill, the neighborhood’s second retail pot shop, opens Friday

(Image: Uncle Ike's via Twitter)

(Image: Uncle Ike’s via Twitter)

The largest pot retailer in Seattle — and the second largest I-502 shop in the state — is set to open its Capitol Hill expansion.

Uncle Ike’s announced Monday that its 15th Ave E location will be open for business starting Friday. Continue reading