We would have called it The Taco Time Apartments

Surprisingly, won't be marketed as The Taco Time Building (Image: Johnson Architecture)

Surprisingly, won’t be marketed as The Taco Time Apartments (Image: Johnson Architecture)

The East Design Review Board convenes Wednesday night to take a first look at a six-story project slated to replace a rejected Capitol Hill landmark and what the developers hope will be a final look at the long-planned apartment building on the site of a different sort of Capitol Hill landmark — the old E Madison Taco Time.

Broadcast Apartments
Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 4.34.15 PMA brand new buyer and a marketing brand for the new project accompany the plan for a six-story apartment development at 1420 E Madison across from the super-green Bullitt Center in the now-empty lot where Taco Time once stood. Last April, we speculated whether the sale of the property by the family behind the Taco Time chain would open up a new life for the project that had so far experienced a rather critical trip through the design review process after the old fast food restaurant was razed back in 2009. Continue reading

Mattress fire reported in Summit/Harrison apartment blaze

A mattress fire in a basement unit of a small E Harrison apartment building brought a massive Seattle Fire response to the Summit Slope area of Capitol Hill just after 11 AM Wednesday.

The smoky fire was quickly brought under control and there were no reported injuries.

A Seattle Fire spokesperson said that while the investigation at the scene was still underway, early reports indicated that a heater inside the unit caused the mattress to catch fire. He reminded CHS readers to check their residences to make sure all items are at least three feet away from any type of heating device.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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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Continue reading

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!!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

A man, Joe Bar, Barjot — Wylie Bush bringing coffee and fresh juice to Bellevue Ave

Thanks for the pic and the tip, reader Grant!

Thanks for the pic and the tip, reader Grant!

Wylie Bush won’t have to walk far to do something new.

“I’ve wanted to do something for a really long time,” the longtime owner of E Roy’s Joe Bar tells CHS. “If i could stay in the community and continue to be here — and make more of a living… it’s about the community,” Bush said. And it goes both ways.

“We need each other,” Bush said with a laugh.

In June, after 17 years behind the counter at Joe Bar, Bush plans to add something new to his community a short two-tenths of a mile down Capitol Hill from Broadway and Roy. Barjot is set to take residence on Bellevue Ave in the cafe space built in the Belroy Apartments overhaul for the now-shuttered Chico Madrid. A short-lived Fuel Coffee pop-up from Chico partner Dani Cone will wrap up its stay Thursday. By June, Joe Bar will have its Barjot just a short walk down E Roy. Continue reading

Off Capitol Hill’s beaten path, Chico Madrid shutters — UPDATE: Fuel pops up

(Image: CHS)

Your last chance to enjoy the sangria machine is this weekend (Image: CHS)

UPDATE: We wondered about this — Turns out, the old Chico Madrid space will stay in motion. Dani Cone’s Fuel Coffee is “popping up” in the space starting Tuesday with coffee and pastries. Hours will be 7 AM to 2 PM. Beer and wine may be in the offing.

Original report: Despite experienced Capitol Hill backers and a lovely home in one of Capitol Hill’s most interesting apartment developments, Spanish-accented cafe Chico Madrid will close this weekend after only one year of business on Bellevue Ave E.

CHS has not heard back from the project’s backers which included coffee and pie entrepreneur Dani Cone and a recent infusion of energy and cash from the team at Marination, Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison. Cone’s Fuel and High Five Pie and Marination Station are CHS advertisers.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement on the closure sent to CHS:

“Chico Madrid will always be a special place and we are so grateful to all of those who embraced the concept, our staff and [our] neighbors. At this time however, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and energy elsewhere.” -Jacob Daley, founding member of Chico Madrid

A message was posted to Facebook about the planned closure earlier this week:

Friends – with heavy hearts, we must tell you that Chico Madrid will be closing its doors this Sunday, April 13th. It has been a remarkable year full of devoted regulars, welcoming press and kind neighbors, however we just haven’t reached a sustainable level of business. But we LOVE Chico Madrid and we want all of you to have one last chance to enjoy our delicious food and warm spirit before we close. Please join us this week – we’d love to see you to say thank you.

Chico Madrid was born in spring of 2013 with Cone teaming up with Jacob Daley and Franz Gilbertson of Ballard’s Honore Bakery. At the time, Daley told CHS his travels in Spain — and the bocadillo sandwich — inspired the new creation. “There were mom and pop cafes with a ubiquitous sandwich,” he said. “Really high quality ingredients but simple.”

The 800 square-foot cafe was resident in the commercial suite built as part of the preservation and development Belroy Apartments project created by Point32, the developers also behind the Bullitt Center. While the residents of the new and 80-year-old old wings of the building were a built-in customer base for Chico Madrid, the cafe was apparently too far away from the Hill’s more traveled areas to draw enough customers to survive. Earlier this year, CHS reported on the effort from Marination to revive the cafe and introduce cocktails and new energy to the space. It apparently was too little, too late — though we haven’t heard back yet about what is next for the partnership that had formed around Chico Madrid.

Whatever is next for the space, backers of a new project might want to check in with the folks at nearby The Lookout as the bar has hung in there over the years — and with a change of ownership — as a neighborhood watering hole on a far-flung edge of Capitol Hill.

Connector ‘running as usual’ following attention-grabbing Capitol Hill protest

Tuesday's SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

Tuesday’s SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

After a surprise anti-gentrification protest blocked the buses for a short time to start the work week, Seattle Police cruisers were on hand Tuesday near Microsoft Connector stops on Capitol Hill.

The Connector system is running as usual, a company spokesperson told CHS Tuesday.

The police presence came after two protesters unfurled a banner and handed out flyers Monday morning while blocking the corporate shuttles — and a few public buses — on Bellevue at Pine. “The Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol HIll and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods,” the flyers read.

The Microsoft Connector includes 22 routes with 74 busses total in the Puget Sound region. Around 250 passengers ride each day from Capitol Hill to Redmond/Bellevue. Those busses average about 70% capacity, according to the company. In total, the Connector serves about 3,000 people per day. According to Microsoft, 65% of those who ride the connector drove to work alone prior to the system’s availability.

In San Francisco, protests against corporate shuttle systems have grown into a significant political issue and occasional public safety threat. So far, Seattle’s incident seems more like a well calculated publicity stunt. The attention it generated has been significant — for example, Monday’s visitor total for CHS was the second highest daily total in the last 12 months and the post was linked to from sites including the Seattle Times, New York Times, Cnet, The Verge and the SF Chronicle, to name a few. “Google bus” protests spread to Seattle, the Chronicle headlined their take on the incident. We shall see.

(Image: Tides of Flame)

(Image: Tides of Flame)

Meanwhile, as the Microsoft transportation system appeared to not miss a beat on Tuesday, another protest action targeted a different tech giant and changing Seattle neighborhood. “Train blockaded at Amazon HQ,” boasted this post at the Tides of Flame site explaining that the latest protest targeted the Seattle-based online retail and services company for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency. “This new data cloud will help the CIA coordinate their massacres, assassinations, and terrorism across the planet,” the unidentified protesters wrote.

Two days of anti-corporate protest activities with similar MOs might have you wondering what’s next.