Some are plain. Some are clever. Some leave you scratching your head. Regardless of the category, the names of some of the new apartments on Capitol Hill and First Hill also say quite a bit about the history and culture of the neighborhood.
Take Coppins Well, the name of the apartments at 1000 Minor Ave.
At first glance, the name doesn’t bring to the surface any clear tie to the area and the marketing team didn’t much care for it either.
“To be quite honest, when it was first presented to us, we paused and collectively said, ‘Absolutely not’,” recalled Josh McDonald of Holland Residential.
But if you go into the well of local history, you find that in 1875, Charles Coppin dug the first well on First Hill, which was said to have produced 900,000 gallons of water every day. Tapping into a reliable water source was not a trivial matter in 19th century Seattle. The well served as an essential ingredient in the development of First Hill, attracting families that would turn the hill into a bona fide residential neighborhood.
Other names aren’t as deep, but nevertheless give a nod to the area.
The developer of the new apartments at 215 10th Ave E. chose the name ‘Lyric’ “as a homage to the musical heritage of Capitol Hill as well as iconic local musicians, such as Jimmy Hendrix and Pearl Jam, that have made Seattle, one of the influential musical neighborhoods in the country,” according to Billy Pettit, vice president of Pillar Properties.
“The lyric in itself is a symbolic representation of art, which also helps pay tribute to the artistic, vibrant culture of Capitol Hill,” Pettit added.
The arts also inspired the name of the Vox Apartments at 1527 15th Ave, which was previously a theater. The developer used the theater as a starting point for the name and came up with Vox, the Latin word for voice or sound.
“We think it’s a concise and edgy name with a fun nod to the previous theater,” said Therese Bushnell, the property manager. “We think it fits the no frills, straight forward aspect of Capitol Hill while offering a bit of creativity in its essence.”
Not all of the new apartment names have a broad historical or cultural tie.
The developer behind the Chloe Apartments at 1408 E Union St and the Pearl Apartments at 1530 15th Ave would only say that the two were named after family members of their respective owners.
Meanwhile, two new apartments under construction will feature names that pay tribute to businesses that once thrived on Capitol Hill.
First, the building going up on 1222 E. Pine will be named Collins on Pine, which the marketing material references the speakeasy era of secrecy and celebration. It’s not a tribute necessarily to the present day bars that try to replicate the speakeasy experience but to the time when Capitol Hill was the center of the speakeasy culture in Seattle.
Finally, the name of the soon-to-be apartments at 1515 14th Ave takes us on a drive down memory lane, when auto-row ran right through Capitol Hill. Among the auto dealers on the hill back then was the REO Motor Company, which sold cars at what is now the Seattle Central Community College book store. REO also had a truck dealership at the current home of Area 51.
Developer Brad Augustine said he wanted to celebrate the industry that fueled some of the neighborhood’s growth so he named their new project REO Flats. But he wants the tribute to be more than just a name.
Inside REO Flats, Augustine said the architectural team worked hard to keep the 20-foot high store front (even though zoning only required 13-foot high ceilings) since that is what existed in old auto row buildings. Once the project is complete, photographs of old REO cars will adorn the lobby, while a large mural of a REO speed wagon (not the band, but a delivery truck) will be painted on the building’s façade.
“We’re not doing a billboard to promote our business but to promote the concept that this was once a local company,” said Augustine, founder of Madrona Real Estate Services. “We reside our businesses on Capitol Hill so we’re trying really hard to make sure we pay some homage to the history that was on that hill.”