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On a Capitol Hill corner once home to Fran’s, Flight Wine + Chocolate set to join super green Solis building at 13th and Pike

(Image: Flight)

There is a ripple of history for one of the new businesses slated to open soon in the super green Solis apartment development at 13th and Pike. In the years before construction began in 2018 on the Passive House-certified building, the corner was home to Fran’s Chocolates where workers boxed up the sweet treats for two decades on Capitol Hill.

Flight Wine + Chocolate will bring the sweetness back when it opens in the Solis in coming weeks as a wine tasting room and fine chocolate shop from husband and husband team David Wildman and Kevin Morton.

Wildman is the wine guy, Morton, the chocolate guy. The plan is to offer flights of wine from Washington wineries paired with Morton’s chocolates.

(Image: Solis)

“Guests can come for the wine, chocolates, or both,” Wildman told us about the concept earlier this year as the plans came together. “The space is two stories and about 1,500 square feet. It will be a higher-end design. Guests can order at the bar, or we will serve them at their table.”

Morton and Wildman are currently running a crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for Flight’s opening with perks for backers.

CHS reported on the $4.6 million acquisition of the project by developer Solterra in the summer of 2018. In the deal, Solterra acquired the former Fran’s Chocolates building and a 2016-approved plan to build the Passive House-certified mixed-use project at 13th and Pike. At the time, the deal put the project on track to be the first new condo building to open on Capitol Hill in years.

But as construction progressed and the real estate market continued to shift, Solterra’s chief operating officer Marc Coluccio pulled the plug on the condo plan and announced that the building would instead be marketed as apartments. When it finally opens, it will be Capitol Hill’s first Passive House-certified mixed-use project.

It also will be home to more than apartment dwellers. Sonder, a startup in the hotel and hospitality industry, is now offering Solis suites in its Seattle listings. A one-bedroom will run you around $350 a night. The company also stepped in to replace planned office space in an eight-story, 65-unit apartment and mixed-use building rising on the land where a surface parking lot once spread out on Pine just above downtown. The nimble companies in the space are increasingly becoming factors in Capitol Hill’s rental market. CHS reported here on efforts to win city permit approval for a similar setup with the WhyHotel chain in the apartment housing set to open above Capitol Hill Station.

The Solis will also feature another new food and drink business in its retail mix. Q Cafe, a concept from Seattle-area escape room business Quest Factor, is the development’s commercial centerpiece. The Capitol Hill cafe dedicated to steampunk design, interactive games, and shiny desserts will be the second location for the company after a similar cafe opened in Issaquah this summer.

For Flight, the Madison Valley duo of first-time cafe owners say, while the history of Fran’s is a nice twist, much of the appeal of opening at 13th and Pike in the Solterra-developed property comes from its proximity to home after years of commuting to “corporate jobs.”

Wildman says developer Solterra was also a draw. “They prefer small, local companies for their retail spots,” he said. “They are also committed to reducing the carbon footprint of their buildings. The passive solar concept of the building really spoke to us.”

Flight Wine + Chocolate is planned to open this fall at 1300 E Pike. You can learn more at flightwineandchocolate.com.


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