About Jacquelyn Jimenez Romero -- CHS Reporting Intern

Jacquelyn Jimenez Romero is a Seattle native studying Journalism and Law, Societies & Justice at the University of Washington where she covers news, arts & culture at UW’s student paper, The Daily. Twitter: @jacquelynjmzr

Capitol Hill ZIP code is one of the most renter-rich in Seattle — but this Central District ZIP is gaining on it

Africatown Plaza — a ‘cultural anchor’ against ‘the tide of displacement in the Central District’ — is taking shape at 23rd and Spring in 98122

Tenants in the Capitol Hill and Central District neighborhoods are at the top of major shifts in how people live in Seattle with areas that rank among the fastest growing areas for renters in the nation and some of the most renter-represented streets in Seattle, according to a new industry report.

For some, they are part of areas with a long history of renter representation. Others are part of streets where the balance has shifted only recently to renter majority neighborhoods.

“We have to ask ourselves, what is the population moving in and what is the population moving out,” John Rodriguez, formerly part of the Capitol Hill Renters Initiative and founder and executive director of the Dominican Association of Washington State said. “Is it equitable? Is it fair?”

According to the report from nationwide apartment listing service RentCafe, the Central District’s 98122 is ranked 66th as one of the fastest growing renter ZIP codes in the nation with an 44.4% increase of renters from 2011 to 2020. 65.1% of the people living in this neighborhood are renters. It is now the sixth-most renter dominated area in the city.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s 98102’s longer history as a place for small apartment buildings and rentals means the area’s renter majority isn’t as new as the Central District’s — the area has produced a 22.7% increase in renters from 2011 to 2020. Its renter population now sits at 68.3%, making it the fifth most renter-represented ZIP in Seattle.

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Why Pink Gorilla is coming to Capitol Hill

Pink Gorilla is beginning to light up on E Pike (Image: @DSKoopa)

(Image: @DSKoopa)

Pink Gorilla, the longest running retro video game store in the Pacific Northwest, is expanding to Capitol Hill at 613 E Pike St. This new 1,400-square-feet location is set to open January 2023.

“We’re really excited to be expanding to Capitol Hill,” Kelsey Lewin, one of the co-owners, said. “We’ve always wanted to but haven’t found the right opportunity until now.”

Co-owner Cody Spencer made the announcement of the planned Capitol Hill expansion on his popular Twitch stream earlier this month, saying “We’re now building a new additional store safer, bigger & better than ever.”

The new expansion will be close to the Washington Convention Center and Seattle University plus one of Capitol Hill’s top tourist draws — the Starbucks Roastery. Lewin hopes to be able to connect to communities of the Hill and believes the store’s atmosphere matches well with the neighborhood.

The original Pink Gorilla location in the International District recently faced an armed robbery and increased safety concerns that the business said influenced its plans for Capitol Hill. Continue reading

City says new Capitol Hill park will need ‘private-public partnerships’ to pay for it

A new sketch for the planned park (Image: Seattle Parks)

A new Harvard Ave E park is currently in the planning phase and a new, early design concept has been presented to the public.

Susanne Rockwell, senior planner with Seattle Parks and Recreation is working on figuring out how to best create a space where people can gather and stroll in nature while incorporating historical elements into the current park design.

Since the park space is located in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Seattle, it is not considered a community of need. The park is eight to 16 years away from having park district funding directly allocated for this site so Seattle Parks is hoping to create private-public partnerships to raise the money needed to create the new public space.

This land has been donated to the city for public use. Rockwell hopes that with the new park, it is open for everyone to enjoy.

“Our parks are open to everyone regardless of sexual orientation or home ownership or where you come from, you are welcome and they are open to everybody.” Rockwell said.

Some neighbors in the area are worried about an increase of crime or encampments that could occur with having a park near them. Continue reading

Last-minute Seattle Redistricting tweaks could split part of University of Washington voters into Sawant’s District 3

The Seattle Redistricting Commission has kicked another local politics hornets nest with a last-minute proposal from a commissioner that would gerrymander the University of Washington campus — but not Greek Row and most of the school’s off-campus housing  — into District 3 representing neighborhoods to the south including Montlake, the Central District, and Capitol Hill.

The proposed map from commissioner Rory O’Sullivan

The proposed redistricting would see the UW campus join District 3 while the surrounding U-District neighborhood, including Greek Row and other off-campus student housing accommodations, in District 4.

The split would likely diminish the collective voting power of students by scattering UW votes across the two districts. D3, meanwhile, would see its young voter stock even further boosted.

“The University of Washington and University District are a cohesive community,” student Sean Haney said in a press release sent by Redistricting Justice Seattle. “We’re a connected renter, majority-BIPOC, student-heavy community that faces many unique challenges, and splitting us hurts our voice.”

The proposed amendments come only days before the SRC holds its final vote on the map amendments. Continue reading

Indies Workshop game industry coworking space ready for another level on Capitol Hill

The Indies Workshop crew (Image: CHS)

Indies Workshop, a coworking space for video game developers, is reopening after being shut down since the pandemic in a new location in Capitol Hill on 12th Ave. It is the company’s second tour on the Hill.

“Energy levels are high,” said Christopher Floyd, founder and owner of the space now making its home in Capitol Hill’s Ballou Wright Building.

With the new location, Floyd is hoping to continue doing what has been done before – providing a space for video game developers – and more social events to bring people from the industry together.

Floyd created the workshop after seeing a need for the gaming industry in Seattle to and build community through in-person collaboration. He saw a lot of the gaming industry was located in Seattle but people weren’t connected to each other. Continue reading

Project to document — and sometimes protect — Capitol Hill’s midcentury modern apartment buildings gets boost

Camellia Manor (Image: Lana Blinderman)

The Capitol Hill Modern project led by photographer Lana Blinderman and historian Tom Heuser focuses on documenting and protecting Capitol Hill’s midcentury modern multifamily residential buildings and the relatively affordable housing they have provided for decades, has wrapped up it first phase and is moving on to a second phase that will expand the research and, they hope, set the stage for expanding the effort across Seattle..

“These are the types of buildings that allowed people to live here and create the culture on Capitol Hill that we so love,” Blinderman said. “It’s the working people, it’s the queers, it’s you know, people of all walks of life.”

Through a new grant received from King County 4Culture, Heuser and Blinderman will research and photograph 28 more midcentury architecture buildings in the second phase of their project. Continue reading