CHS Schemata | Bellevue, Bellevue, and Bellevue — Part 1

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Images: John Feit)

Buildings are relatively simple to write about.

They are objects within the landscape and as such are easy to quantitatively define easing the path to a qualitative assessment. Landscapes, on the other hand, can be more challenging as they are often composed of a seemingly infinite number of parts. The relative position between landscape and viewer can present challenges as well. Buildings typically has a front, back, and sides. The main facade, often where the entry is, usually grabs the most attention and is the view seen in glossy magazines. Landscape lacks such frontal qualities. What tree, hill, river, or plaza has a defined front (or back, for that matter)? While there are certainly advantageous views that elicit feelings of lesser or greater satisfaction, landscape’s ensemble of vegetation, geography, geology, buildings, and other characteristics make it more challenging to succinctly describe; yet, it is these very qualities that also make it more satisfying and emotionally evocative than most buildings.

It is these multifaceted and often elusive qualities that keep me writing about what I enjoy most about Capitol Hill, the amazing variety of landscapes both architectural and otherwise. Landscape is all encompassing, yet hard to distill to key points that are succinctly shared.

With landscapes as diverse as Pike/Pine and Volunteer Park, one would have to put conditions on what constitutes one’s favorite Capitol Hill landscape, such as: which is my favorite commercial street, distant view, or verdant park? Despite this inexorable taxonomical quandary, Bellevue, Bellevue, and Bellevue, on the northwest corner of the Hill, certainly presents opportunities to engage landscapes that are among the Hill’s finest.

Its charms are many — too many for just one post — so I start with with that quality which I think is the most noteworthy: the combination of both close-in and distant vistas as well as the variety of both natural and created landscapes that are all available for enjoyment within a two or three block area. Continue reading

Juicebox, Cafe Barjot scale up to satisfy two-block Capitol Hill dinner crowds

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

They’re not necessarily destination restaurants but there is a new set of small, neighborhood dinners spots around the Hill ready to serve their thousands of walking-distance neighbors.

“We did so very little marketing but I asked for an email blast to the building,” Wylie Bush tells us about drumming up customers for a few quiet test nights of dinner at Bellevue Ave’s Cafe Barjot. The cafe space in the Belroy Apartments development will officially open for dinner next week. Born as a daytime sibling to nearby Joe Bar this summer, Barjot is now ready to add nighttime duty with a small but powerful dinner menu and European-style cocktails. Nick Coffey, formerly of Sitka and Spruce, runs the kitchen and turned out pork sausage, ravioli, and delicata squash for the first nighttime run in the cafe space.

“It’s such an awesome space,” Bush said of the buildout originally completed for the ill-fated Chico Madrid project. “It felt natural.”

Juicebox for dinner
12th Ave also is adding a natural place for dinner but after a much longer test run than Barjot. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | First look inside Summit Ave’s new Single Shot

IMG_1577A “food-driven” bar with a two-block target market radius replacing a photo gallery? Next to a “hand-forged” doughnut shop? That’s *so* Capitol Hill.

But that ain’t just any doughnut shop neighbor. That’s the original Top Pot. And longtime Capitol Hill-based photographer Spike Mafford is part of the team putting the newly opened Single Shot together on Summit Ave.

The overhauled gallery debuted quietly over the weekend and is open for service daily from 5 PM to 2 AM.

The “kitchen & saloon” is the latest project from Seattle food and drink entrepreneur Rory McCormick and chef James Sherrill, the team that turned out a similar recipe with Re:public in South Lake Union.

McCormick said the out-of-the-way location and the original masonry building drew him to Summit Ave.

“I’m very aware as to what’s happening to Seattle as a whole,” McCormick told us earlier this year about the city’s relentless pace of development. “You don’t find a lot of single-story brick buildings built in the 20s.” Continue reading

By the way, Capitol Hill’s The Sterling is also not a landmark

Screen-Shot-2014-08-18-at-7.40.53-AM-367x550The Sterling — the 1950s-era 323 Bellevue Ave E apartment complex CHS called the “anti-aPodment” for its design mimicing the privacy of a single family home environment — is not an official Seattle landmark.

The Landmark Preservation Board rejected the property from the city’s protection and monitoring program last month.

While landmark nomination activity in Seattle is often connected to pending sales and development plans, there are no records of any transactions or construction planning currently filed for the address.

The Sterling was completed in 1956 and named for original owner Sterling Taylor, “a Seattle attorney and polio survivor who worked as an advocate for people with disabilities,” according to the nomination. He and his wife, Frances Taylor, developed the property and managed the apartments until his death in 1972. In 2005 after a series of owners, Dan Chua bought the property for $1,050,000.

Pretty Parlor shop kitty injured in dog attack

Pretty kitty (Image: Pretty Parlor)

Pretty kitty (Image: Pretty Parlor)

Vincent the Pretty Parlor cat is a familiar character for many on Capitol Hill. Earlier this week, the shop cat suffered a brutal attack that left him in need of expensive surgery and medical care.

He’s in surgery Thursday afternoon. Shop owner and Vincent pal Anna Banana Lange has set up an online account if you’d like to pitch in to help cover the bills. Here’s part of a message she posted Wednesday night:

His chance of surviving the night is 80/20, which is good, considering all the fluids in his lungs. We are meeting with the surgeon tomorrow morning to determine our route for his compound leg fracture. This is the reason for doubling our goal. Surgery is expected to cost between $4000-$6000, an added cost to the original $3000 as estimated.

Banana also writes that she is close to being able to identify the dog and owner responsible for the Wednesday morning attack outside the shop.

CHS last visited the 119 Summit Ave E store earlier this summer as Banana expanded to add a Capitol Hill-styled bridal boutique.

If you’d like to help, you can learn more and give at gofundme.com.

1956 Capitol Hill anti-aPodment The Sterling considered as Seattle landmark

(Image: Cardinal Architecture PC)

(Image: Cardinal Architecture PC)

(Image: Puget Sound Regional Archives)

(Image: Puget Sound Regional Archives)

A two-story, 6-unit Bellevue Ave apartment building designed in the spirit of a single family home during a brief Capitol Hill development boom in the 1950s will be considered as an official Seattle landmark this week.

The longtime landowner of the Sterling Apartments at 323 Bellevue Ave E is bringing the nomination forward. Though the landmarks process can often be the first public step in developing a property, there are no records for active projects on file for the address.

A 2006 plan to demolish the building and build a new two-story, 10-unit apartment building never got off the ground.

According to the landmarks nomination prepared for longtime owner Dan Chua by Cardinal Architecture PC, the Sterling units were created during a boom for developers as builders rushed to beat a new Seattle requirement for off-street parking: Continue reading

CHS Pics | Summit Block Party 3 keeps the party on the block

SONY DSCSONY DSCThe anarchic bohemia of drinking an ice cold Rainier from a brown paper sack on a city street powered the third annual Summit Block Party to another successful free and wonderful and slightly later than planned crescendo Saturday night. Pictures of the fun times are below.

Admission was free except for those who also attended Capitol Hill Block Party — their $61.11 admission price for the July festival has now been prorated to $30.56.

CHS told you here about the past, present, and uncertain future of the annual DIY and fully local block party. And here we visited the Summit Inn – symbolic clubhouse of the avenue where halfway houses and Capitol Hill-relative affordable apartment living meet. Saturday as temperatures reached the 80s, revelers and residents found mini-skate ramps, Parker Edison performing atop a van, the Bad Tats stripping in the street, and The Pharmacy playing its final show ever. If you’d like to get involved supporting the annual event, check out summitblockparty.com for more information.
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With ‘grassroots spirit,’ Summit Block Party grows into third year — Year 4? Who knows!

2013's SBP -- more pictures here (Image: CHS)

2013’s SBP — more pictures here (Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

In its third year, this weekend’s Summit Block Party has talked its neighbors into an uncertain future.

The free event returns bigger than ever this Saturday, August 9th with two band-filled stages, barbecue, live art, local vendors, raffle prizes and more. Closing Summit between E Olive and Howell, the festivities begin at 11 AM and go on until 9:30 at night.

“It started mostly on a whim,” founder Adair Tudor tells CHS. “I was really enamored with the block and really enjoyed seeing how it had a great sense of community. I thought, ‘Yeah, let’s just have a block party.'”

The second year provided Tudor with a chance to expand the event so she added a second stage and a larger crowd came with it. Though she said she doesn’t know what kind of turnout to expect this year, she and fellow organizer Adam Way have had to do a fair bit of outreach to keep the locals involved and accommodating.

“There was a weird amount of tension there for a second,” Way said. “We just talked it out with them and I think it’s in a positive place now. I think it’s going to be great.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Seattle Night Out 2014 around Capitol Hill

Well stocked at 22nd and Republican (Images: Alex Garland)

Well stocked at 22nd and Republican (Images: Alex Garland)


Summit and Thomas (Images: Jim Simandl for CHS)

Summit and Thomas (Images: Jim Simandl for CHS)


Dinner time thanks to City Market (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

Dinner time thanks to City Market (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

We love seeing the faces and fun of the Seattle Night Out block parties. CHS again made a whirlwind visit of the neighborhood events around Capitol Hill — and the nearby. Check out the good times and good food, below. Even the mayor showed up! If you have pictures from Tuesday night that you’d like to share, please let us know in comments or send mail to chs@capitolhillseattle.com. Happy Night Out!

UPDATE: City Market’s Cain Morehead notes that the annual E Howell block party is also a fundraiser for a good cause:

The City Market Seattle block party raised $321.00 last night in donations for the Swedish Women’s Cancer Center. This will be donated in memory of Diana Pastrana. Thanks to all who attended and donated to make the party a great success. We beat last year by almost $100.00!!

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SFD takes care of Bellevue Ave E apartment fire

IMG_5009A fire in a 6-story Capitol Hill condo building was quickly brought under control thanks to the sprinkler system and Seattle Fire Wednesday morning.

Flames and smoke were reported around 10:10 AM coming from a fifth floor unit of The Meritage building at 124 Bellevue Ave E just below The Biltmore apartments.

SFD units filled the streets around Bellevue Ave E and E Loretta Pl as media helicopters hovered above during the brief response. The fire was declared “tapped” about 20 minutes after the initial dispatches.

There were no reported injuries.

The subsequent clean-up of the unit where the fire began and neighboring units damaged by smoke and water required what was expected to be a long stay by SFD units on the scene. Bellevue Ave E in the area remained closed for traffic as the clean-up continued.

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