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

With a Capitol Hill sidewalk as his studio, Michael Stasinos paints change in Seattle

While some artists choose to have a studio, Michael Stasinos has chosen the city of Seattle – and many vantage points across Capitol Hill — to be his studio.

If you’ve ever walked around Broadway, Pine, Pike, or Boren and seen a painter painting, you might have seen Stasinos at work.

“​​What I’m creating, I think, is an illusion of a moment of time,” Stasinos said. “But it’s made up of so many thousands of moments of time, of observation and documenting that observation.”

Stasinos views his work as a form of storytelling by portraying the lived realities of the people and the city. By documenting how the city has evolved over time, he considers himself to be a visual anthropologist.

When choosing a location, Stasinos look for a place that is ironic, interesting, or a challenge. However, he believes that no matter where you are, there’s something interesting to paint and often finds himself painting until he finds the personality of that space.

“If you stick me at one spot on Capitol Hill, if I just turn my head in different directions, I believe I have at least four if not 20 paintings that I could make.” Continue reading

Want to shop the Hill? Try Pike/Pine’s clusters of indie fashion shops

The bold choices at Veridis have been part of shopping on Capitol Hill for 15 years (Image: Veridis)

While the big chains come and go, small independent fashion retailers are calling Pike/Pine home, creating personal shopping experiences, building relationships, and activating the neighborhood.

“Capitol Hill has had a more of a grunge-y vibe in the past few decades but now it is becoming like a ‘mini-Soho’ full of tourists and locals,” Susan Kim, owner of SUM Style, tells CHS.

New clusters of small fashion retailers are giving the neighborhood more activity during the day and customers the opportunity to shop at multiple locations at once.

Here are just a few of the fashion boutiques you’ll find around Capitol Hill (Source: Yelp)

  1. Veridis
  2. Pretty Parlor
  3. Glasswing
  4. Refind
  5. Likelihood (closed)
  6. Revival Shop
  7. Retail Therapy
  8. Standard Goods
  9. Casita International
  10. A Mano

more…

Sergius & Bacchus, a menswear boutique bringing fun, bold fashion to Capitol Hill, focuses on cultivating authentic personal shopping experiences and supporting LGBTQ+ brands. For owners Ray Ochs and Rick Jones, seeing customers gain confidence through fashion has been one of their most rewarding experiences.

“There are several of the customers that I would consider them as friends,” Ochs said. “They come in and they shop, we get to know them, we are able to remember what they bought last time and point them towards other things that they might like. In many cases, we can custom order things in for them. It’s just a whole lot more personal with a small business.”

Building community and taking care of the neighborhood is something Ochs and Jones take pride in. Every morning before their store opens, they pick up trash around the block to help keep their block clean.

Retail Therapy recently celebrated 20 years on Capitol Hill. They specialize in the intersection of arts and goods through gifts, clothing apparel, jewelry, and cards, all created by independent artists. Continue reading

Developer hears community hopes for 15th ave E QFC block redevelopment

With the city’s design review process in a drawn out transition period, the developers behind a project that will truly reset the commercial core of Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E with new retail space and five stories of mixed-use housing held a neighborhood meeting last week to gather some of the feedback normally channeled through formal civic processes — or pushed aside altogether.

Capitol Hill-based Hunters Capital hosted the Friday afternoon session billed as “drop-in hours” to discuss the planned 15th Ave E development of the former QFC block with around 25 residents who came to express their hopes over pedestrian safety, community building, traffic mitigation, and neighborhood perennials like parking and, yes, public bathrooms.

“There are no public restrooms in Capitol Hill,” one resident said. With a potential increase in visitors to the neighborhood, the attendee expressed the need for public restrooms. Other attendees agreed. While some acknowledged there could be potential issues with public restrooms, being able to pee is an equity issue that should be raised.

Will the city’s pee equity issue be addressed in the project’s design? That seems unlikely but the discussion is the kind of thing that wasn’t typically supposed to be part of the city’s formal design review process. For a few minutes on 15th Ave E, it was on the table.

Longtime residents of the few existing apartment units above the QFC-block property that will make way for the new project also attended Friday’s session. Long-term tenants living in the building expressed to Hunters Capital that there has been a lack of upkeep on the current building and property management has not been responding to their concerns and not informing them about the dates of developing meetings.

Attendees said they hoped for better communication as they prepare for the changes.

Hunters Capital is planning a five-story mixed-use building with around 150 apartment units and underground parking for around 100 vehicles on the site. With around 10,000-square-feet of street-level commercial space, Hunters says it is hoping to connect with 15th Ave E by designing a wrap-around plaza and creating a pedestrian thoroughfare that’s open for pedestrians. Along 15th, they’re hoping to pull back the building at least four feet to widen the sidewalk.

Large in the minds of attendees — and the developer — is the future of retail and grocery shopping on the block. Continue reading

Trio of nightlife vets twin up with Capitol Hill’s fastest growing business family to create the Gemini Room day and night cafe and bar

 

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Tanner Mclaughlin, Jackie Proctor, and loana Andrei (Image: Gemini Room)

A new day and night cafe and bar inspired by the Age of Aquarius decades called the Gemini Room located in the heart of Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine neighborhood opens this week.

During the day, the Gemini Room will feature locally roasted espresso and unique coffee and tea lattes, grab-and-go breakfast staples, fresh seasonal bowls, salads, and sandwiches.

After dark, small plate style dishes and signature cocktails featuring house-infused liquors, herbaceous elements, fresh juices, and glassware inspired by the ’70s will be featured.

The new cafe and bar has been designed to shift seamlessly from morning to night.

“The ‘Gemini’ name derived from that duality of serving both the day and evening but with highly differentiated offerings,” Tanner Mclaughlin, co-owner of Gemini Room, said. “From there, a ’60s/’70s vibe felt like the right aesthetic for the name.”

The 2,000 square foot space, formerly Pettirosso Cafe, is backed by Joey Burgess and Murf Hall of Burgess/Hall. Gemini Room is the debut project of Mclaughlin, Jackie Proctor, and Ioana Andrei who are teaming up with the company behind a growing family of Pike/Pine businesses that ranges from Queer/Bar to Elliott Bay Book Company.

Its official opening day is planned for Friday, December 16th. Continue reading

With an owner returning to the community that first welcomed him, Tamarind Tree will reshape R Place building in 2023

 

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Subscribe to CHS to help us pay writers and photographers to cover the neighborhood. CHS is a pay what you can community news site with no required sign-in or paywall. Become a subscriber to help us cover the neighborhood for as little as $5 a month. ☀️Summer☀️ is the most challenging time to keep our subscriber total up. Thanks for any help and for spreading the word about CHS!

 

 

Tam Nguyen (Image: Friends of Little Saigon)

Little Saigon’s Tamarind Tree restaurant is coming to Capitol Hill in the former R Place building in 2023.

“Our hope is to serve our Vietnamese foods in the culture we adopted to and the culture that gave us so much opportunities to reach our dreams.” said Tam Nguyen, owner of the popular Vietnamese restaurant that has been part of the International District for nearly 20 years.

CHS previously spoke with Nguyen early this year about his interest in expanding to Capitol Hill. King County property records show the former E Pine home of R Place finally sold for $2.5 million.

The Nguyen family is going it alone in the major real estate deal. CHS previously reported that Capitol Hill-based tech firm Add3 was eyeing a deal for a new headquarters, and space for a new venue in the former R Place building but CHS learned the company decided to move on over concerns about the cost of seismically retrofitting the 1917-built Bothell Motors garage building. Add3 founder and nightlife entrepreneur Brian Rauschenbach turned his attention instead to E Olive Way where he partnered in a deal to purchase the buildings home to his Captain Black’s as well as the Stumbling Monk, The Doctor’s Office, and the former Glo’s. Continue reading

Tiny Spark and Thread wants to help Capitol Hill connect to a gift of art

Online shopping is rarely optimized for building relationships with other artists and customers.

Solia Hermes and Juli Hudson are two local artists who have taken the initiative and opened their own boutique on Capitol Hill, a small start to building community and helping support local artists showcase their work.

Having customers experience E Aloha’s Spark and Thread in person has created a positive impact for the artists to see people appreciate their work and the creations of others featured in the small store.

“Online you’re searching for things versus in person you see all kinds of things that you didn’t expect.” Hudson said. “Meeting the artist changes the relationship people have with the art.” Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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