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CHS Pics | A true groundbreaking to fill the empty lots around Capitol Hill Station

In June, CHS paid the moment its due as officials made speeches and used a giant pair of scissors to slice a ribbon and “break ground” on the four seven-story buildings set to rise around Capitol Hill Station, creating hundreds of new affordable and market rate homes, a new community plaza, and thousands of square feet of retail space on the busy block in the heart of Broadway.

Friday, the true groundbreaking took place. Community organizer Cathy Hillenbrand — a key part of the neighborhood effort to shape the “transit oriented development” project –donned workboots, a hard hat, and some safety yellow, and got behind the controls of a backhoe to ceremonially bust up some of the acres of pavement that have surrounded the station as the development process has stretched out over a decade since the block was demolished.

The work is now underway on the earliest phase of the construction process — removing a massive amount of dirt from the site and shoring up the pits. CHS reported here on how to keep track of construction updates during the two years of work the development is expected to require.

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8 thoughts on “CHS Pics | A true groundbreaking to fill the empty lots around Capitol Hill Station

  1. Does anybody know the logic of paving the site and then fencing it off? The intervening two years you’d think the space could have been activated with b-ball hoops, or pickle ball or something. Heck, a swap meat every weekend would have been fun.

      • Yes, it’s still a point worth considering for future projects of this kind. I also thought the site should be utilized in some way, perhaps as a skateboard park.

      • Probably not, but all we hear is there is a housing emergency, so maybe it is worth questioning why there was such a lag in developing around the station. Maybe it would prevent the same thing again. Also, it costs money to pave, and for what purpose? So it could be torn out again 2 years later?

      • Paving is the easiest long term erosion control method, albeit the most expense up front cost. and requires zero maintenance.

        Grass needs to be maintained and dirt/rock needs silt protection measures that also need constant maintenance.

        Note that I’m not justifying them fencing it off. Just the facts, ma’am.

    • As far as the paving goes: Keep down mud & dust? Make it easier to clean up trash that blows in or is thrown into the site? Facilitate service vehicle operations?

      As for activation, I bet Sound Transit wasn’t interested in accepting the liability of putting on public events (insurance, security, cleaning/maintenance, etc), plus event programming is not a line of business they’re generally in so it’d involve a lot of staff and financial resources for a minor payoff.

      • I can imagine a city office that does nothing but manage short-term public use of short-term available space (public, rented, used in lieu, whatever). Having a sense of what projects need how much time to pay off the trouble they take would be pretty specialized knowledge.

  2. A couple of years of revenue from a park-and-ride would have funded many tiny houses. (I’d guess at least $250,000)