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How would you brand Capitol Hill?

Heard last week that Sound Transit has awarded the bid for the demolition work for the buildings that will make way for the Capitol Hill light rail station. That means we’ll soon know when the work — and the digging — will begin.

The impact to the area will be massive and we’ve written about ways Sound Transit and community members have responded to keep Capitol Hill — and Broadway, especially — alive. Sound Transit also has plans in place to minimize construction impact as much as possible and provide communication resources for residents to keep track of what is happening and let everybody know if there are problems. — will post about this end of the equation soon.

But there’s another effort to help Capitol Hill survive and thrive during the eight-year construction period that you should know about. Hasn’t been written about much, yet — the PI picked it up here:

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce says it has finalized an agreement with Sound Transit to help neighborhood businesses during the six years-plus of light rail construction due to begin later this year. As part of this, Sound Transit is paying for a marketing firm, Kite Inc., “to help promote and accentuate the neighborhood as a great place to live, work and shop,” according to a press release.

Full disclosure: I’ve been asked to be part of a group to work with Kite on this and did my first interview with the firm last week, talking about Capitol Hill. It’s volunteer. It’s unpaid. But I’m part of it. Disclosed.

So, is this the best use of money to mitigate light rail construction impact? I would have preferred a more direct route with something like the Summit at John park project that needs funding. But if the Hill is going to have a message and a position to rally around, I wanted to be part of the process.

I’ve put aside wondering about how I’d better spend the money. And I’ve accepted that Capitol Hill can use a brand. Now we need to figure out what the message is that sums the Hill up and won’t make us cringe for the next eight years. I have some ideas that will probably never fly. You?

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4 thoughts on “How would you brand Capitol Hill?

  1. I’m dubious about hiring a branding firm in Bellevue to work on this. Couldn’t they pick from one of the myriad Hill-based companies that might have more geographically appropriate insight? I’m glad they’re meeting with folks like Justin (and hopefully some other key neighborhood stakeholders), but I hope we don’t end up with something akin to Metro Natural (ugh).

  2. Yes, let’s immediately dismiss this firm based entirely on their location (not their credentials, past work, etc). Definitely a good, productive line of thought.

    Perhaps we can work this into the branding: Stay off OUR Hill (unless you are one of us)!

    {rolls eyes}

  3. @linder seattle

    well…while i generally try to stay away from us vs. them mentalities, lately it’s been hard. i’ve seen the Hill get more gentrified and more straight over the past few years. the “more straight” part has literally meant that as a queer, i’m less safe (witness the spike in gay bashings over the past few years). so yeah, sometimes i feel that way.

  4. Linder: I’m not writing them off due to their location, and I’m certainly not proposing they “stay off OUR Hill.” I’m merely suggesting that there is some merit to choosing a company that might actually live or be headquartered on the Hill, as they would have more firsthand experience with the neighborhood.

    If you were hiring someone to distill the essence of you into one sentence and a logo (basically Kite’s job), wouldn’t you hire someone who knew you best?