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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