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Capitol Hill’s B&O Espresso surrenders as E Olive Way development goes forward

Lunch at B&O, originally uploaded by subsetsum.

One of the grandpapas of Capitol Hill’s cafe culture is closing in only three short weeks. The owner and staff of B&O Espresso are telling regulars that the popular cafe will close its doors as 2011 comes to a close after some 35 years in business.

It was three years ago this coming January that an elderly woman yelled “Don’t mess with the B&O!” to a packed house at an early design meeting for the development destined to replace the E Olive Way building that B&O Espresso has called home since 1976.

That development process has nearly fully played out with the decision this month by the city’s Hearing Examiner to deny a last ditch appeal brought by a neighbor who contended that the Department of Development and Planning Director had erred in his decision to approve a project that will further squeeze westerly views from the Hill.

The appeal seemingly never had a chance — “I’m pretty nervous and I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m just totally out of my water,” the representative for the neighbor said in her opening statement of the hearing — but it was a gallant effort against an inevitable outcome. “What would constitute a significant impact to view if not this?” Hearing Examiner Anne Watanabe asked a DPD rep at one point of the proceedings. The rep had no answer. It wasn’t really why the hearing was held. The question was, given the existing system, had the DPD director approved a project that violated Seattle’s municipal code. The decision was upheld.

With the movement on the project, B&O owner Majed Lukatah decided he couldn’t wait any longer after hovering in limbo for years as the development came together. “There are a lot of factors,” manager John Auseth said. “It’s been an on again, off again thing for a long time.” Auseth said there are no solid plans for the last days at B&O yet but that could change as they get the word out. Auseth says when the day comes, he’ll be walking away from a job he’s held for 10 years.

At one point, Lukatah was considering opening a second B&O on Broadway but that plan fell through. Property owner John Stoner has said he hoped B&O would consider being part of the development when it opens after construction. Architects even went so far in some early design work to include the familiar B&O railroad train icons in the retail portion of the layout. A deal for that kind of rebirth is apparently still up in the air but it looks like B&O will close without a plan to bridge the time outside of the building.

 The Nicholson Kovalchick designed 1650 E Olive Way project is a 78-unit apartment building with a generous 3,600 square feet of retail and two live-work units on the ground floor with underground parking for 52 vehicles.

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74 thoughts on “Capitol Hill’s B&O Espresso surrenders as E Olive Way development goes forward

  1. This is terrible news. John Stoner should be ashamed of himself. This builing is going to be yet another vacant development in the Cap Hill neighborhood. Do we really need more empty store front eye sores?

  2. Though I love the B&O and will miss it, change is part of life, especially in a big city like ours.

    Why should a developer be ashamed of doing a development in the middle of the city? I think we’re lucky to have this sort of job and housing creation in our city. Detroit and hundreds of other cities would love to have our problems.

  3. The B&O is an institution. This is outrageous, they’re going to squeeze more people into these cookie-cutter poorly made apartments and force out one of the best dessert houses around. Shame on you, developers.

  4. And what have YOU done for the neighborhood? My guess is nothing besides spew your misinformed, juvenile threats from your parent’s basement.

    What is your favorite place in the neighborhood? Who do you think is responsible for it? That’s right, a developer. Your favorite coffee shop, gallery, park, library and even the roads you traveled to get there – none of it would exist without development and the people willing to take the financial risk necessary to make it happen.

    If you think that you can do better, go for it. No one is stopping you from buying the property, hiring an architect and building something that you feel is less “soulless”.

  5. I’ve never been a huge fan of B&O’s “foodfood” but I love their sweets and desserts. I hope they find a new home in the neighborhood as it would be a shame to lose a place that’s been around for such a long time. The staff have always been friendly too, so I hope they are able to find jobs if B&O doesn’t reopen somewhere new :(

  6. They’re not forcing them out. It appears the developers would actually like to keep B&O as a tenant when they re-open. I doubt B&O will be excited about that, that isn’t “forcing them out”. Of course, they’ll have to move during the new construction, but how else would they do it? Try to build around an in-use business?

  7. Patricia, the point that this commenter is most likely trying to get at is that in the past 5-7 years or so, Capitol Hill has seen rapid change. Most of the change has detracted from the character of the neighborhood that ultimately originally attracted residents to this neighborhood.

    They are asking “At what cost do we want to allow development in our neighborhood?” Most of us can agree that densifying isn’t bad, but seriously, at what cost? I know people across many generations who have fond memories of the B&O. I, myself, have some incredibly happy memories tied to this space (also, the old Vivace space on Denny RIP). It sucks. It really sucks to see an institution that really helped develop the character of this neighborhood vanish.

    We all recognize that developers are involved in buliding buildings and infrastructure, but come on. Your comment is as generalized as the original commenter. This building was built in what, the 20’s? The developer is long dead. The developer probably did not plan for this space to be a restaurant. The developer planned for use of materials that would allow this building to last for at least 90 years. The developer wasn’t part of a company that is most likely based in the Eastside and is seemingly guided by suburbanizing Capitol Hill (more parking spots, bland/uninspired development, incredibly out of scale or otherwise oversized retail spaces, less pedestrian orientation, more bland buildings, more chain stores, less local established retailers, etc).

    Also, yes, something is stopping this commenter and the rest of us from buying this property andd preserving it or redeveloping it. What is that? Money. If we as a neighborhood could pool our money, we’d still probably not have enough to cooperatively own this space.

    This sucks. Let us grieve. It sounds stupid, but like I said, a lot of us have sentiment attached to the B&O.

  8. Interesting how these arguments take shape. I don’t care how the building looks. There are so many ugly buildings in the area already… some dating back decades and some brand new. Big whoop. What’s interesting to me is the argument that the development of a given area is what brings it the spaces that are needed to provide it with soul… when in fact the opposite is true. Larger developments replace affordable older structures with larger newer structures that small businesses generally can’t meet the financial requirements to lease. That’s why with all these mixed-use complexes going in, there’s the sense that the neighborhood is losing it’s character. It is. The small businesses that used to occupy 10-15 small storefronts per block (personal estimate) are now forced to choose between 4-8 larger, newer, more expensive places to relocate to. The result is that national chains (Panera, Qdoba, ect.) who can afford the rent and the general losses of opening in a new location replace the little businesses started by people from the area. And everywhere new quickly looks like anyplace else. Take a look around and you’ll see that the only upstart small businesses are almost all located in small spaces, and with a few exceptions, that means in old buildings that haven’t been redeveloped. The sad thing about the B&O is that like so many others, it may not be able to afford living in the new development (I certainly won’t), and may not find a suitable replacement within budget. Development is good, but it’s myopic to view this type of RE-development as necessarily bringing any soul to anything (although it can’t be denied that the net effect of bringing in people who can afford to buy housing in this market is going to be good for business… fingers crossed that they find the local ones). Goodbye B&O, hello Olive Way Chipotle.

  9. We’re continuing to kill our town with this garbage.

    The economy already collapsed, and we’re on the brink of another acute banking crisis that will kill the financial viability almost every one of these projects because they will not generate enough rent to pay back their loans… sound familiar?

    These developers are completely delusional. Watch.

    – Paul W Symington

  10. They might be asking them to stay (which is nicer than many other condo-developers) but at what cost? Usually, rent is much higher in a storefront of a residential building. I hope B&O can find another location on the Hill and reopen sometime soon.

  11. I’m very sympathetic to the elimination of smaller spaces -> less neighborhood feel perspective, but I don’t think all hope is lost in the current new buildings. For instance, the UPS store managed to get a narrow space in Joule, and there’s a lot of space sitting empty in the retail front of the building, so I bet if others want such narrow spaces, they might be available.

  12. I currently live at the 6 story apartments on N. Broadway across from Vivace. I hope this new complex will be just as nice or better! We need more new and modern apartment options in Capitol Hill. B&O was awful so this is a win win for everybody in the neighborhood.

  13. I’m not so worried about the loss of affordable space. There is so much storefront retail going in with all these mixed-use buildings, that there’s too much for the demand. That will keep the rents lower because otherwise there will be a glut of retail space. But unfortunately, all the funky old spaces are being replaced with spaces with no character, like aquariums. That’s a real shame.

  14. My “argument” is just that all might not be as dim as it seems with regard to narrow/smaller storefronts. There are other examples in newer buildings if you care to look; the UPS store is just one I was thinking about recently. I don’t like the elimination of small storefronts, either, as I said. Luckily, they aren’t out of the battle yet, and are still appearing here and there in new construction.

  15. Am I seriously the only person that got that his username was a joke?

    He is saying “Get out of those tents and into design firms.”

    Seriously man, people just want an excuse to be defenseive, don’t they?

  16. …and I suppose the chain Qdoba or Mod Pizza is better?

    You live in the gated and detached community of Joule, but you are missing the point of living in an actual neighborhood.

    Besides, have you not had the B&O brioche bread pudding? Am I right?

  17. Change is inevitable. We can still be sad about it. All the places I used to like to go on the Hill have gone. Hence, I don’t go out that much.

    Job and housing creation? Those buildings are ugly and a person with an average job would never be able to afford to live there. I can’t afford to live in any of the new housing they’ve put up. And the jobs in that building will be lousy minimum wage ones. Though the patrons will be overcharged of course.

    I’d rather see the creation of low cost housing and better paying jobs.

  18. there are plenty of other sites to develop on that arent what little historical architectural and community value seattle actually has… its sad to see old classy buildings like this torn down and replaced with buildings that look like every other modern condo while a lot of ugly 70s & 80s buildings still stand.

  19. Because our community is investing BILLIONS on infrastructure in our neighborhood ( Soundtransit). The people living here are people who most likely are making a conscientious choice to live a modern, urban lifestyle. If you don’t like our design guidelines, get off the blogs and DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE DESIGN REGULATIONS.

    My gut instinct is that everything within a 5 block radius of the CH Link station is subject to redevelopment. Push that out to 10 blocks when eastlink opens and folks won’t have to drive over the bridges. Does this mean the character of the neighborhood will change? Yes. Does this mean that the lower price points of the neighborhood will be squeezed out? Most likely. Capitol Hill Housing is mounting a valiant effort to provide affordable housing on the hill, but the market dictates prices, and those will be on an upswing. We are seeing it already in our commercial spaces. Even the older, funkier, smaller spaces don’t seem to support non-food retail anymore. How many stores have opened lately vs. bars and restaurants. The market has dictated bars and restaurants provide the best return on the capital.

    Sorry if this seems to be too capitalistic, but guess what? Even in progressive Seattle, capitalism is alive and well.

    So lets try and have design guidelines with teeth, start at that level. Otherwise, a lot of you will be going through a heck of a lot of angst in the next few years as development marches along in our neighborhood.

  20. No longer live in seattle but it is a spot I always try to go to when I return to seattle grew with B&O cream brule as special treat to hang with friends sooo sad

  21. H’m, I thought the reason we were seeing fewer new stores and more restaurants is due mostly to the intense amount of capital needed to open a new store … what has it got to do with whether the retail space is in an anus-ugly new building or not? Why, then, does the old Hollywood Video space sit unoccupied except for Scientologists every Halloween? There’s a beautiful space going empty.
    Property owners ask for huge amounts, even if they never get them. Property developers can tell investors that they can get those huge amounts, and the only companies that can afford the spaces are large ones, so we’ll see the same businesses on the Hill that you can find in any mall.
    Sorry if this seems to be too capitalistic, but guess what? Even in progressive Seattle, capitalism is alive and well.

  22. Prost, I agree with just about everything you said here. Except, I dont believe Seattle to be Progressive other than on paper. Mainly Capitalistic!In a Progressive community they would hope to incorporate the existing population with the new population. What I see happening on the hill is, whoever has the most money wins. Save a building, nope. Help a business stay put, nope. Very sad indeed. Soon “the Hill” will no longer be “the Hill”, it will have evolved into something else. I am someone who has gotten involved and the Landmark Board and Design Review Board are very useless. They seem to mouthpieces for the big developers in this city.

  23. @ MC The Hollywood Video space (in a pretty great old brick warehouse building) stands vacant because the space is MASSIVE. Small businesses need small spaces. Unfortunately, they are vanishing. Also, unfortunately, the only businesses that could occupy the Hollywood Video space would be a restaurant, or a massive chain something-or-other.

    If it were possible to split this space into 2 or 3 seperate spaces, it might fill up faster.

  24. Why can’t the Hollywood Video space be split into two spaces, now? The front facade is already bisected by the door to the offices upstairs. Put a door in the front on the left, put up a dividing wall — two nice retail spaces, just right for a couple of local businesses. The place no doubt stands empty because the owner wants to attract a corporation, and wants nobody else to spoil their big score by taking up the space …

  25. These comments about the hill no long being the hill are kind of revisionist thinking here. When was the hill the hill? 2003? 1998? 1992?

    My wife has lived on Capitol Hill for 13 years in the same place. She’s seen more places come and go and stay than most of the people lamenting the change of the neighborhood.

    To single out a point in time as the apex and that we’re all sliding away from that sounds like reactionary bed wetting you’d hear in the deep south.

  26. I think the point is that long standing neighborhood businesses are going away. It’s not a contest for how long people have lived here.

    Bailey/Coy going away sucked. Vivace’s old space going away sucked. The old Bimbo’s going away sucked. Etc etc etc. Some businesses are around longer than others. (B&O = 36 years). Some people are around longer than others. Some businesses are around longer than some people. Some people are around longer than some businesses. It’s what you associate with the space and time when you decided to move here. Does your wife not miss any places on the Hill where she had positive experiences? Did she have positive experiences here? Would she not miss some other places going away?

  27. I love the B&O too, but am not opposed to the re-development, if it results in an architecturally aesthetic building…there are examples of that on Capitol Hill, notably the Brix building. I think it’s pretty difficult to declare the new building an “anus” just from the released drawings.

    It would be great if the developer would guarantee a space in the new building for the B&O, and that their rent would be the same as they pay now. That would be a way to be community-sensitive, and at the same time help develop housing density.

    It’s pretty obvious that most, if not all, of the new development is happening because of the light rail station. Developers are getting their ducks in a row with fantasies of huge profits once the station opens in 2016.

  28. In my opinion, the Joule is not totally awful, but it’s not so great either. What a contrast to the Brix across the street…a very beautiful building, with an array of LOCAL small businesses at street level. That is a development that is the gold standard for Capitol Hill, and one which every other developer should emulate.

  29. As`far as available small spaces, what about that spot just north of American Apparel? (formerly a very strange restaurant). That seems tailor-made for some small business to occupy. Or are rents on Broadway too high even for such a small space?

  30. I don’t think anyone is saying you can’t miss something but most people aren’t complaining that they are missing something.

    They are complaining that the neighborhood is losing its “soul” or some stupid crap like that.

  31. Thanks for the props. Now, there is another long term Capitol Hill Institution that is for sale: Charlie’s Bar and Grill. It has been on the market for quite some time, indicating that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of community interest in preserving another landmark business. Where is the support? Do we really care, or is it lip service? Maybe this isn’t a business we care so much about?

  32. I’ve lived in the same place for the last decade and change, and my wife was here for ten years before that. And she is shaken by the way the character of the Hill has changed in the last five years. It used to be quieter, very gay, very friendly — it was a neighborhood, with people who knew each other and cats that would walk up to you on the sidewalk and all that. Even the neighborhood junkies were friendly, if you can believe that. Now snobby people crash into me with strollers in the QFC and trios of girls shriek as they wobble on their heels back from the bars at three AM and guys in black trucks barrelhouse around the corners turning onto Olive from Broadway and almost knock the pedestrians in the crosswalks over, There used to be wonderful businesses in the blocks where the Brix is and the new development on the corner of Broadway and Thomas will be and where the new Transit Station is, and I really look forward to the day when that Transit Station is disgorging boozed up purple-clad Husky fans after games into the Hill atmosphere. More drunks, more money, though. Maybe every new business that opens in the area should be a bar, with deep fried boar appetizers and a kajillion types of beer. Developers like to build places they would like to go, and maybe they’ll hang around and spend some money after they turn the place into their vision of paradise.

  33. Well, so long to B & O. I haven’t been there for years, frankly, so I won’t miss it that much. Maybe if they re-appear in the new building or a different location, I’ll try them out.

    In any case, I’d much rather see a modern building replace the old one. I’m sick of people complaining that ramshackle buildings with dive bars are somehow better. That’s not “character” at all. Modern buildings can have a character of their own.

  34. All I can really say is this makes me very sad. I love B&O.

    Because at the end of the day, we really need more development when there are plenty of honest people stuck in underwater mortgages – as a result of “development”. Who’s signing off on this logic anyway?

  35. Prost, while your comment was probably meant for snark, for some of us, it truly was. So much more pleasant to shop there and walk home than the new QFC, for sure.

  36. So, another Seattle Icon gone. I mean c’mon, you didn’t really think the new Seattle implants would “Upscale” Seattle and let us eat our cake, too??! Seattle’s newly emergent (like the last 20 years???) upscale class has made sure to chase any potential artists from Seattle, the very people who made Seattle so wonderful. But hey that is the thing that is different between then (1992), when places like the B&O were filled with writers, performance artists, musicians and now, when the B&O is being run down in order in build yet more faux condos for the walking dead. The Very Thing that helped make Seattle desirable has been sanitized right out of existence. Even Bumbershoot, our pride in our local artists, and couple outside artists or a few, is defunct. Only the yuppies can afford to go.

  37. I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1978 when I came here to go to Seattle U. B&O has been a long-time favorite to hang out solo, or with friends. Many good times! A genuine coffee house and great place for espresso long before all the plug&play “shabby chic” coffee shops started cropping up everywhere in sight. A leisurely lunch on a beautiful summer day outside (when you just wanted to be outside, but close to home), or quiet, reflective time on a rainy night, with jazz in the background and a fantastic view of downtown from the window tables. A coffee drink on a snowy night was always fun! B&O has a lot of earthy charm that is part of the Capitol Hill culture, and yes, that culture is evolving. Not all development is bad, but I sure don’t like this particular plan. The building is a behemoth.

    Many thanks to Majed and all the people who’ve worked at B&O over the years, to make it such a great neighborhood place for so long!

  38. MC, your comments certainly reflect a “glass half-empty” view of our neighborhood and the changes that have been happening. I’m really kind of amazed that anyone could lament the changover from a very run-down Safeway store with a parking lot into the Brix building, which I think it quite beautifully done, and which has an array of local, small businesses at street level. No other businesses were lost there.

    As far as the development at Broadway & Thomas (230 Broadway), this too will be an improvement. There were only two small businesses lost there…a bagel shop and Septieme (which probably would have closed anyway)…as well as an ugly BOA, two small houses, and a very large parking lot. I am hopeful that the new building will be as nice architecturally as Brix, and that some small local businesses will be going in there.

  39. Joule is a very modern-looking ugly building. It’s alright as long as it’s an anomaly, and doesn’t become the norm.

    I don’t think 700 Broadway is such an ugly building though, so my tastes may be atypical.

  40. Prost, the Safeway when it was open was cool. When it sat closed for two months, not cool, but again, why did it sit closed? And I suppose the Brix is all right, at least they filled up their retail space right away; but the upstairs windows still look like the fronts of fishtanks to me. But any building named after Mark E. Smith’s ex wife must de facto be all right.

    Meand, the last person who suggested I move to Renton was an upstairs neighbor who suggested I do so because I objected to his partying at three in the morning, and capped his suggestion by trying to crush my foot with his door. Another person who thought the Hill was Partytown USA.

    Calhoun, the problem is that some of us who have been here know it’s not what was in the space just before demolition, but what had been there, what could be there. You might not remember when Capitol Hill Net was located in the space next to Septieme; they had great sandwiches and Mike was a friend. And my wife can remember when the Septieme was Andy’s, a good inexpensive place for breakfast and brunch if you didn’t want to go to Ilene’s (aka Ernie Steele’s). There’s no reason why there can’t be self-sustaining businesses like these on the Hill, except that the only spaces that will be available soon will be glossy new shitboxes with glass facades that you can’t tell if a place is open or not, that look like the architect who designed them pasted them together from a dozen other buildings.

  41. Oh, I forgot to play the “developers chasing out poor artists” card. Thanks for mentioning that. Yeah, the only artists that will be able to do any work on the New Hill will be mixologists.

  42. There are some places my wife misses, but there are some new places that she really appreciates that wouldn’t exist on the Hill without change like Samurai Noodle. Sure, she misses Minnies, but was Minnies really that good? And more to the point, there are at least 4 places within 2 blocks that offer food in the same vein ([Charlie’s, Broadway Grill, Deluxe, Julia’s]although we can argue about their various merits. They all serve a mishmash of burgers, hearty american classics with possibly a twist, breakfast/brunch. Not identical, just same vein.)

    People lament losing the B&O and I will truly miss their cheesecake but on the other hand I stopped going there for dinner a while ago when their prices increased and the portions decreased. Lukata can also blame the woman who did coffee in the morning and her unhappy surly life that translated into everything.

    And now that Mediterranean Kitchen opened over on First Hill, I’m going there when I need that fix of Lebanese food.

    And what someone said above me is true. 35 years running a restaurant is amazing and something to be proud of.

  43. I am frankly taken aback by all the nasty responses to peoples thoughts and postings, and I’m prepared for the name calling, but here are my thoughts. First I moved to Cap. Hill in 1985 when my rent was $350, now my one bedroom is $1100 and will go up more next year. What saddens me is Cap. Hill used to be the most diverse neighborhood, the artists, the gays, the elderly, the minorities that make a city a melting pot. The B & ) was a gathering spot for everybody, a community. As these new big box condo/mixed retail tear down and push out unique local places that never return, a little bit of the hill’s yes I am going to say character are lost forever. I don’t know how much longer I will be here, just add me to the list of who misses what made the hill a place to be and belong.

  44. >>Why didn’t you move to where the artists went if their output truly mattered to you?

    Why did the software designers and paralegals move where the artists were? Why did the realtors and building owners suddenly jack their rates sky-high? Why are the software designers and paralegals still pretending that they live in a unique neighborhood of creative spirits?

  45. But it won’t lower rents because the developers have sunk costs in construction, etc., and they have deep enough pockets to keep those storefronts vacant for YEARS while their investments develop. Because they are not in it for the storefronts; those are simply corollary to the huge speculative investment they have made in bricks and mortar. And the fact that it is simply an investment to them, without any real concern for their neighbors (us) or their tenants is what has people concerned. And this lack of concern for their neighbors for the simple sake of profit is why people call them scum, and why I’m forced to agree with them.

  46. I don’t really believe that a lot of people think they do live in a unique neighbor with creative spirit. I certainly don’t. My wife has never felt that Capitol Hill was somehow above the rest of Seattle in creative output and energy.

    Anecdote forthcoming;

    I moved to Capitol Hill because I could walk to my job (I don’t drive) and there was grocery, alcohol and food within walking distance. I am not highly paid nor am I artistic.

    I think it is a fundamentally unreasonable claim that most people move to capitol hill because they want to partake in an lifestyle experience they wind up smothering and smiting. Are the nurses that walk to First Hill to work living here for cultural enrichment? Do the bartenders and waitresses who work on capitol hill and live here actually contribute to the cultural vibrancy of capitol hill or are they merely gawkers serving the bourgeoisie who have intruded?

    There is barely any way to frame this where you don’t look exclusionary and insular. You want Capitol Hill for Capitol Hill residents, where you’ve idealized Capitol Hill residents as being something they are not wholly, and at best a minority of them are and ever have been.

    Do you also lament all night life issues on Capitol Hill as being caused by people from other parts of Seattle or the area?

    Do you believe an equitable solution is for people who don’t have an artistic bone in their body to simply move to Lynnwood and fuck them they can drive to work? Do you need to patronize art galleries or go to hugo house X times a year to have Capitol Hill cred? Do I need to be addicted to smack and writing a novel while hanging out at a gay bar to be sufficiently Capitol Hill? I find it troubling too that because someone has money they are not valid participants in culture. Microsoft Developers should have never ever moved to Capitol Hill when they became flush with cash in the late 90s, and instead should drive in if they want to partake in the experience (but aren’t they the problem makers. Those that shit where they don’t eat?).

    Is your ideal Capitol Hill one where no outsiders ever come in, even for a visit, no insiders ever leave, and it’s a generally sleazy place?

    Capitol Hill is a place worth living for many reasons for many people.

  47. I believe many people are going to have a hard time when the light rail is up an running, especially to the eastside. This area is ripe for development, and the city and region are aiming for additional density in our cities. I think any one or two story building that is withing a few blocks of the light rail station is subject to redevelopment.

    If we want to have better or different desigs, we better get cracking on changing our design guidelines.

  48. Hello, HELLO, if people wanted to walk to work at Microsoft why are they not all living out in Lynnwood?
    Are you saying that nobody moves to the Hill thinking they’re going to be in an arty scene? Tell this to my downstairs neighbors, they think they’re in the Chelsea Hotel. Maybe people move to the Hill merely so they can walk home from the bars on Pike and Pine?
    Does an influx of strangers with money ruin a neighborhood? (Take a look around Fremont next time you’re in the area.)
    There is no equitable solution. People with money always win every hand. They’ve won this one.

  49. I’ve been on the the hill for over 20 years and in my opinion it’s never been better. I find that it’s growing more charming every day — and projects like this one are a big part of it. I no longer have to get in my car to get to a decent restaurant or find affordable art supplies.

    Yes, this is progress. And at the risk of losing cred with my jaded, hipster friends, I hope it continues as rapidly as possible.

  50. I’m sorry this great institution is closing down. Hopefully something similar will reopen in the new building.

    Are there any updated renderings since the early design meeting?
    I’m concerned about the facade of the top two floors. Why don’t they just build total brick instead of the nondescript wood/metal siding that’s up there?

  51. MC, I have lived on E Thomas St about one block off Broadway for 31 years, and I am very familiar with what came before. I was a regular breakfast customer of Andy’s, and was sorry when it closed because it was one of a kind….and I agree that the sandwiches at the short-lived Capitol Hill Net were fantastic. Septieme was great too, but as I said it was probably going to close anyway (business was way down)…it’s the only real loss due to the 230 Broadway development…well, that and the charming little house on the SW corner of 10th Ave E and E Thomas St, where the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was the most recent tenant.

    But, overall, I do think the new will be superior to the old, especially if they are able to attract small, local businesses and avoid the soul-less national chains.