CHS Year in Review 2017 | Capitol Hill’s 50 most important stories

For two years running, CHS readers have voted Capitol Hill Station as the most important story of the year. In 2015, it was the light rail station’s unveiling after years of construction. 2016 brought CHS’s (the other CHS!) start of service. Now, 2017 brought the fruition of more than a decade of community planning as the designs for “transit oriented development” around the station were finalized. But 2017 on Capitol Hill also included stories of great sadness and stories of triumph and change. The “S-path” opened. It snowed on Christmas. The mayor fell from grace. Some of the most important we remembered are below.

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YIR 2017
+ Steps toward affordability in the year in Capitol Hill development
+ Smaller, ambitious-er, gay-er — the year in Capitol Hill food+drink
CHS YIR: 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

These 50 things happened in 2017…

  1. Work halted since the Great Depression began on St. Mark’s.
  2. Capitol Hill got a Pac-Man park.
  3. Seattle elected Jenny Durkan, our first woman mayor since Bertha Knight Landes. She got a rude first greeting on Capitol Hill.
  4. The Seattle Women’s March stretched from the Central District to Seattle Center.
  5. Nikkita Oliver ran for mayor.
  6. Kshama Sawant organized an anti-Trump town hall.
  7. Ed Murray, Capitol Hill’s man in City Hall, was accused of sexual abuse, dropped his reelection bid, and, after a painful summer, resigned.
  8. It snowed on Christmas.
  9. The Seattle homelessness state of emergency continued.
  10. Anti-semitic graffii targeted Temple De Hirsch Sinai. Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2017 | Smaller, ambitious-er, gay-er — the year in Capitol Hill food+drink

It might tell you more about the past five years than 2017 to know that 33 new “openings” was part of a general cooldown in Capitol Hill’s ongoing food and drink economy boom. More than two dozen new bar, restaurant, and cafe ventures opened their doors around the Hill for the first time this year. In the underpinning of those openings, however, we find a softness. During the boom, we’ve never included more openings on top of another recent opening that so quickly became a recent closing or more reboots. And if it wasn’t for poke sand sushi — pizza was 2016, yo — the 2017 opening tally would be even lower.

YIR 2017 Food+Drink Survey

CHS’s yearly tallies are probably missing a name here or there, include some stretch-y borders, might include a double-count or three, and… well, you get the idea. (Source: CHS)

CHS won’t pretend to be able to explain why all the things that happen, happen. Surely, every boom must have a bust — or, at least, a slowing. The nature of the business — and margins — will mean shifts in approach over time.

One thing to point out about the year in food+drink 2017 is that even on what looks like the backside of the upward curve, Capitol Hill has a rich and varied network of ambitions, community, and creativity to present to patrons. And in the midst of it, there were still a few big, new ideas — albeit, in slightly little smaller spaces.

YIR 2017
+ Steps toward affordability in the year in Capitol Hill development
Food+drink: 20162015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

AMBITIONS: A small band of entrepreneurs forged entirely new food+drink ground across the Hill in 2017. Caitlin Unsell’s dream of a cat cafe came to life with E Pine’s Neko, a Bellevue Ave cafe became a craft coffee showcase with Ghost Note, while Good Weather grew from a hidden away bike shop into a new Chophouse Row cafe. The highest aspirations were found at By the Pound, Capitol Hill’s first deli counter with a secret bar. Meanwhile, perhaps the last of Pike/Pine’s era massive food and drink “complexes” finally debuted when the big beer-backed Redhook Brewlab made a summer opening. Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2017 | Steps toward affordability in the year in Capitol Hill development

Did 2017 even happen or was it just an extension of 2016? Seattle’s housing market remains the “hottest” in the nation. Yay for existing homeowners. Sorry for renters and everybody else. Capitol Hill’s population is pushing 34,000 and, unfortunately, there is likely continuity in the mood around affordability and housing. In our review of 2016 development, more than 40% of respondents said they were less optimistic about the future of Capitol Hill — and renters were even more pessimistic.

Fortunately, 2017’s year in development around Capitol Hill was marked by small steps forward to address the affordability crisis while some of the last big remaining chunks of not-so-recently redeveloped blocks finally hit the market and found new buyers with new plans for six — and, maybe soon, seven — stories. Some buyers, however, were happy to keep things the way they are. For now.

Meanwhile in the Central District, tensions rose over the pangs of investment, change, and gentrification before settling into a different kind of march toward what seems like progress. It was a busy, fast moving year.

Below are the top stories CHS reported on in the year in development. Maybe this year, the future of the Hill will look a little brighter.

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CHS Pics | 2016’s 20 ‘most interesting’ pictures from the CHS Flickr Pool

Bird on a bench

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 33,000 photographs — most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. Here, you’ll find the 20 photographs the Flickr algorithm has deemed as the “most interesting” images taken by the neighborhood shutterbugs who contributed to the group. The magical recipe combining the ideas of “most viewed” and more did an alright job sorting out some of the more compelling images taken this year. But you can also spin back through our “this week in pictures” archive to see the many amazing images the algorithm missed. Meanwhile, you can also check out 2016 in pictures from CHS’s photographers and reporters.
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CHS Year in Review 2016 | The year in Capitol Hill pictures

We have again selected a collection of images that helped tell the story of the past year on the streets and in the neighborhoods around Capitol Hill. In 2016, there were 88 that demanded further attention. The work includes images from the many reporters and writers and community of photography contributors who have shared their work with CHS. In 2016, we said goodbye to reporter Bryan Cohen — though you will see plenty of his work, below — and wished him the best of luck in his new pursuits. You will find a few shots from new addition Kaylee Osowski and we were lucky in 2016 to continue to frequently feature the work of photographer Alex Garland and neighborhood shutterbug Tim Durkan along with his views of Broadway and Pike/Pine by night. Thanks to all the contributors who shared their work with CHS in 2016. More of the great, terrible, and what?? images of 2016, below.

YIR 2016
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories
Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink
Previous Year in Pictures Posts: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

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CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories

In 2015, CHS readers voted the unveiling of the soon to open Capitol Hill Station as the most important story of the year. We would wager it is likely to top the list again in 2016. The opening of the $110 million or so light rail station was one of the big stories CHS covered in 2016. There were others including a busy year for our neighbors in the Central District as one of the classic storylines from Capitol Hill — shockingly large land development deals — migrated to the south away from Pike/Pine. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill struggled with gun violence. The topsy turvy year also included stories of terrible evil and sad tragedies mixed with just enough intrigue and hope to keep you reading and us writing to find out what happens next.

YIR 2016
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories / Top 10 Most Read / Top 10 Most Commented
The year in Capitol Hill pictures
Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink
CHS YIR: 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

 

Now Open: Capitol Hill Station
On March 19th, 2016 things changed forever on Capitol Hill — again — as dignitaries cut the ribbon at Capitol Hill Station’s Broadway and John entrance and ushered in the start of service on the the $1.9 billion, 3.1-mile U-Link extension. The opening marked the end of seven years of demolition and construction on the busy street in a process that ripped a hole — really, two twin tunnels — in the block and connected Capitol Hill to downtown and UW with four-minute rides.
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CHS Year in Review 2016 | Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink

CHS’s yearly tallies are probably missing a name here or there, include some stretch-y borders, might include a double-count or three, and… well, you get the idea. (Source: CHS)

If things work out with final permits and logistics, Katsu Burger could become the 36th new restaurant, cafe, or bar to open across and around Capitol Hill in 2016. But here is the thing about CHS’s ongoing tally of new food and drink ventures opening on Capitol Hill over the years. There are all sorts of things in the mix.

Of the 36 new places we are semi-officially logging for 2016, six aren’t actually on Capitol Hill, and the list includes everything from a new life for the Broadway coffee shack as Let it Bean to the ambitious I-5 Shores buildout of the charming Harry’s Fine Foods. That 2016 spectrum topped by the Harry’s project bootstrapped by creative first time restaurateurs, by the way, marked a departure from recent years when the neighborhood saw a handful of huge investments in surprisingly massive restaurant palaces. In 2015, that kind of ambition created Renee Erickson’s amazing Pike/Pine trio of Melusine+Bateau+General Porpoise — in 2016, that ambition clearly paid off as Bateau was picked by many as the restaurant of the year. There were no new palaces created in 2016 Capitol Hill food and drink but lots of smaller, maybe warmer spaces like Harry’s or the restoration of the old way in the historic Loveless Building at Cook Weaver.

Like Cook Weaver, the story of 2016 wasn’t only the new. The ongoing transition to a $15 minimum wage brought new ways of doing business and changes to the crucial underpinnings of the food and drink economy like tipping. It was also a revealing year for the realities of food and drink’s inherent risk as we sifted through the financial wreckage of Bauhaus and the founder of Tavern Law. And a few old timers celebrated important milestones and new beginnings.

YIR 2016
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories
The year in Capitol Hill pictures
Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink
Food+drink: 20152014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011 / 2010

Busts
Let’s start with the bad news. While critics have been waiting for a Capitol Hill restaurant and bar bubble to pop, we’re not sure those critics will ever get such a clear conclusion to the year after year cliffhangers. But we did see a few small “pops” along the way in 2016. There were two financial implosions within the Capitol Hill food and drink family that revealed just how tenuous growth can be in the business. Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2016 | Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development

There it is. Just as 2016 staggers to a close, market analysts — with a heavy stake in the outcome — say, looky, Seattle rents may have finally reached a “turning point” after years of mostly unabated increase. Will 2017 be the year Capitol Hill rents finally break? If so, 2016 will be marked as the final thrust of the old way of Seattle boom development as the new HALA-throttled marketplace is finally whipped into shape. For the pessimists — or, perhaps, optimistic landlords — if rents haven’t really turned that climb upside down and Seattle’s affordability crisis continues, then, well, 2016 will represent more of the same even as our intentions grew. Here is a look at how the year in development played out on Capitol Hill.

YIR 2016
+ CHS Year in Review 2016 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories
The year in Capitol Hill pictures
Plans to build our way out of it, the year in Capitol Hill development
Pizza, no palaces, and the real world — the year in food+drink

CHS YIR 2015 — Our first look at the new Capitol Hill
CHS YIR 2014 — More than supply and demand
CHS YIR 2013 — Capitol Hill development and the quest for affordability
CHS YIR 2012 — The re-development of Capitol Hill

Bellwether's Cambridge building got a $10M upgrade

Bellwether’s Cambridge building got a $10M upgrade

AFFORDABILITY
Years of concern about the cost of living in the densest neighborhood in one of the densest cities in the nation continued in 2016. Along the way, it seemed like those concerns were growing — not shrinking away. But there were real actions in 2016 to address Seattle’s — and Capitol Hill’s — “affordability crisis.” More projects were completed with at least a component of affordable units and nonprofits like Bellwether, which now operates six affordable buildings across Capitol Hill, further emerged to help lead.


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CHS Year in Review 2015 | The ‘most’ posts — most read, most commented, most viral

Don’t worry. CHS will move fully into 2016 soon. We have to keep pace with 2015 when we published 1,530 stories. First, we still have a few more things to take account of in the year that was. Below, we’ve tallied CHS’s 2015 ‘most’ posts including the stories that were most-read and most-commented on during the year. All of our Year in Review 2015 coverage is here.

IMG_0315-600x397Most-Read CHS Posts

  1. Mayor Murray set to unveil ‘Rainbow Crosswalks on Capitol Hill’ — UPDATE: Unveiled!
  2. Seattle prepares for May Day 2015 with protests — again — planned for Capitol Hill
  3. Broadway says goodbye to Charlie’s — UPDATE: Confirmed :(
  4. Five injured in shooting at Broadway and Pike
  5. Capitol Hill Value Village to close after one last Halloween

IMG_20150831_191624-400x400Most-Viral CHS Posts
(did not appear on the CHS homepage during the year but were widely shared and read)

  1. Spoiler Alert: Mystery of the Capitol Hill Mystery Coke Machine’s mysteries REVEALED
  2. CHS Community Post | Now trending in Hill male fashion
  3. Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opens at the base of Capitol Hill
  4. Whole Foods coming to Capitol Hill in new development at Broadway and Madison
  5. Two years of being an aPodment building neighbor

2015-10-15-The-Bluff-Building-600x400Most-Pondered CHS Posts
(articles with longest time on page, read by at least 1,000 readers)

  1. 5 final questions for District 3: model city, transit choices, ‘newcomers,’ design review, home owners
  2. 20 things CHS heard during Monday’s *hot and heated* Seattle rent control smackdown
  3. Capitol Retrospective | The Bluff Building: A lesson in escapism at 10th and Pike
  4. Here’s what Bernie Sanders said at the Comet
  5. Dr. Jen closing Capitol Hill shop, moving drag-inspired cosmetics company

IMG_6866-367x550Most-Commented CHS Posts

And, last, but not least, thanks to our roster of 2015 most-active CHS commenters:

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