The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce will turn to a familiar face following this morning’s announcement that executive director Jack Hilovsky resigned the job he has held since 2007.
Former Broadway book store operator Michael Wells has been tabbed as the interim head of the Chamber until a permanent director is named. We spoke to Wells about a changing Capitol Hill in this series of interviews from late 2009 during CHS coverage of the last days of indie retailer, Bailey Coy Books.
Hilovsky confirmed the decision to bring Wells on as his successor and told CHS that his own decision to step down makes way for somebody like Wells “to carry the torch” for the Chamber.
Hilovsky told CHS he decided to resign as more and more of the Chamber’s focus is being channeled into the “transit oriented development” process with Sound Transit.
“It’s a demanding job,” Hilovsky said. “I decided as we approached the major work with the transit oriented development, I felt like I’d done what I needed to do and maybe it was time to take it to a new level.”
The discussion around the commercial development of the land included in the properties Sound Transit has acquired to build a light rail station on Broadway involves a long, drawn out public process to help define the way the land is developed for elements like housing, retail and community space. The Chamber helped pay for this community design charette last summer and a group of stakeholders that have been working with the Chamber and Sound Transit has become more vocal about organizing to champion the community’s needs in the process. Larger organizations like the Greater Seattle Business Association — sometimes referred to as Seattle’s gay chamber of commerce — have also joined the fray.
Hilovsky said that the next executive director needs to be ready for this environment. “Somebody who is part of the community is idea,” Hilovsky said. “So much of this job now centers on what this economy is going to become.”