There are more big changes coming for the corner of 15th Ave E and E Mercer than the impending closure of The Canterbury. A developer already busy on the Hill has quietly filed plans for a four-story, 33-apartment mixed-use building to replace the longtime home of Chutney’s Grille on the Hill on the northwest corner of the intersection.
Details on the project are still hush hush but the planned building will take its turn in front of the Seattle design review board in the first week of April. Chutney’s remains open at the location it has called home since at least 2002 (we’re trying to track down an opening date). CHS recommends the chicken tikka masala.
According to King County records, real estate investors purchased the property in December for $1.4 million. The developer on the project is Steam Real Estate. The company is also behind this Stream Belmont project. The architect Nicholson Kovalchick is also a familiar name on the Hill.
In addition to the 40-foot building, underground parking is planned for 23 to 25 cars.
We hope to have more soon from Chutney’s management on what comes next for the restaurant but things don’t sound positive, exactly, for a return to the corner’s planned 3,800 square feet of retail space after the completion of construction.
CHS reported this week on the issues surrounding Capitol Hill Housing’s decision to seek a new tenant for The Canterbury’s space across the street from the planned development parcel. The bar has called the location home since 1976.
15th Ave as a whole shows signs that development and investment activity in the sometimes sleepy Hilltop area is starting to keep pace with Pike/Pine and Broadway. New faces have been added to the strip. Longtime players have stepped up their game. New projects are being built. Nouveau ones, too. Meanwhile, on the other end of the street closer to Madison and the Pike/Pine corridor, this six-story project is nearing completion.
We’ll have more when we can talk more with Chutney’s management. The one-time small chain of four restaurants reached its height in the mid-2000s before being split and sold off to managers. Current Chutney’s manager Ram Poudel is a familiar face at the 15th Ave E eatery which has done what it could over the years to try to freshen its space in the 1941-built building and add new business including experiments with brunch and the ancillary Chaat Lounge. An ongoing theme for Capitol Hill’s surviving ethnic eateries is finding opportunities to grow with the $$$+ segment of the Capitol Hill food and drink economy. One illustration is Autthaya which expanded its bar and overhauled its E Pike restaurant to celebrate its 25th birthday — and take advantage of the throngs of people on the Hill looking for a good dinner with good drink.
Even if Chutney’s works out a plan to come back to 15th Ave E, it will be a challenge. Late last year, CHS reported on Bill’s off Broadway’s search for a temporary home during construction of this mixed-use project. As of January, owner Don Stevens was still looking.
The re-start of big development on 15th Ave E entails repercussions for the neighborhood beyond food and drink are more noteworthy. The project is only a block from a developer-pushback hot spot on the Hill and the spread of multistory, multifamily housing into the single family home-dominated ares of the Hill has been a concern of activist groups like the Capitol Hill Coalition and Reasonable Density Seattle. The four-story project will be located on the northeastern edge of Capitol Hill’s “lowrise 3” zone. Kitty corner, the Hill’s single family development zone begins. It might also be time to start watching some of the dormant projects from the past planned for the street.