About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959. Follow @jseattle on Twitter or be best pals on Facebook.

Signs of Capitol Hill normalcy: Vivace returns — Plus, Capitol Hill’s COVID-19 ‘Phase 1’ takeout cocktails

(Image: Espresso Vivace)

This week started with another step toward normalcy on Capitol Hill — Espresso Vivace is back open:

Vivace will open it’s Brix location at 532 Broadway Ave. E. tomorrow morning at 7 AM for coffee to go. In addition Alley24 will be open at 10 AM both of which close at 5 PM. 321 Broadway,our sidewalk bar, will open on Saturday.

Hope you can make an announcement for our devoted customers



The heart and soul of Capitol Hill craft coffee for more than 30 years, Vivace joins the hardworking core of neighborhood coffee joints that have been pulling shots and foaming oat milk throughout the outbreak. Feel free to add a thankful shoutout to your favorite in comments.

As Capitol Hill food and drink gears up for the challenges and opportunities coming in the transition to “Phase 2” restrictions for restaurants and bars, an in-between period could carry on for a long while as your favorite neighborhood joints try to recover with creative — and tasty — “to go” creations. Continue reading

Seattle Council looks to rein in homeless sweeps during COVID-19 crisis

The Seattle City Council will pursue emergency legislation to limit homeless encampment sweeps during the COVID-19 crisis. South Seattle rep Tammy Morales is joining Central Seattle’s Kshama Sawant and citywide member Teresa Mosqueda in pushing for a compromise solution to the city’s ongoing clearance of people camping and living outside.

Seattle City Council Insight reports the proposed legislation would “align the city’s practices with guidance from the CDC, which has warned that removing encampments can disperse homeless people into the larger community and potentially increase transmission of COVID-19.” Continue reading

After nearly 30 years, the Broadway Urban Outfitters is closing

Urban Outfitters

The exit of Urban Outfitters will leave a hole at Broadway and Harrison (Image: CHS)

Youth-oriented fashion retailer Urban Outfitters is packing up and moving off of Capitol Hill and the Broadway corner it has called home for nearly three decades.

Workers were reported clearing out the relatively giant two-level store on the northern end of the Broadway Market shopping center Monday afternoon.

A store manager confirmed the end of the lease and the UO’s closing with CHS just as other neighborhood retailers are gearing up for curbside pick-up and relaxed outbreak restrictions.

While the COVID-19 crisis and financial impact still swirls, the Urban Outfitters exit has been in the works since last summer when the shopping center began marketing the lease for the space. Continue reading

Founders have deal to rescue Rudy’s Barbershop from bankruptcy

Inside the E Pine Rudy's

Rudy’s in busier days

The economic upheaval created by the COVID-19 crisis will put one of Capitol Hill’s signature companies back in the hands of the group of friends who created it on E Pine nearly 30 years ago.

According to federal court filings in a $3.5 million deal that closed Friday, Rudy’s Reloaded, a company involving founders Wade Weigel and David Petersen has successfully won a bid to purchase the Rudy’s Barbershop chain out of bankruptcy.

“After several rounds of bidding between the Stalking Horse and Rudy’s Reloaded during the Auction, the Debtors determined, in consultation with counsel to the Committee, that: (i) Rudy’s Reloaded was the Successful Bidder and its final bid was the Successful Bid; and (ii) that the Stalking Horse was the Back-Up Bidder and its final bid was the Back-Up Bid under the Bidding Procedures Order,” an analysis used in determining the winning bid reads. Continue reading

Seattle Fire battles basement blaze in boarded-up Federal Ave house — UPDATE

Flames charred a portion of a 1902-built house destined for demolition and subject to multiple complaints about squatters in a Sunday night fire on Federal Ave E.

There were no reported injuries and Seattle Fire says a search of the structure revealed nobody inside the two-story home set to make way for a townhouse development across from Lowell Elementary School. The fire and smoke were first reported just before 8:30 PM. Continue reading

COVID-19 has wiped out Seattle’s hotel tax revenue putting $1.8B convention center expansion ‘at risk’

Lying across I-5 from Capitol Hill, the massive hole filing quickly with steel girders where the state’s downtown convention center expansion is rising might also need to suck up new financing and federal assistance.

Saying the project is now “at risk,” officials are scheduled to hold a Friday morning press conference about the COVID-19 crisis snuffing out key funding for the massive project and new efforts “fighting for critical federal support to find new financing to keep the $1.8 billion WSCC Addition project under construction.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in plummeting lodging tax revenues, which support the bond funding that pays for the project,” an announcement of the Friday conference reads. “A long-planned second round of bond financing is required but is lacking sufficient tax revenue to support it.” Continue reading

Zero: King County reports a day with no new COVID-19 deaths

The county's report for new cases and deaths for Wednesday, May 13th

The county’s report for new cases and deaths for Wednesday, May 13th

King County and Seattle Public Health reported an unusual number in its latest daily update on new COVID-19 cases and deaths: zero.

For the first time since the onset of the outbreak, the county did not record an official COVID-19 related death in its tally Wednesday leaving the death total at 514.

While a day without another death from the virus is undoubtedly good news, the trend of new cases remains on a stubbornly slow downward course. Wednesday’s tally brought 86 new cases in King County — just short of the daily average reported so far in May but also the highest tally recorded in a week. Continue reading

After COVID-19 pause, Seattle development projects signing up for new review process

Developers around Seattle and across Capitol Hill this week are making the decision of whether to transition their projects into the city’s temporary “administrative design review” process to keep developments moving forward through the COVID-19 crisis.

The result will be a small flurry of new design review notices and 14-day public comment periods for a handful of Capitol Hill projects currently stuck in development limbo.

A letter from the city presents developers with two options: One, elect to put their projects into review by city planning staff in a process that will “re-trigger” public notice and open up a new 14-day comment window for each project, or, two, to “wait until the Design Review Board’s (sic) have resumed business” to have review meetings rescheduled under the citizen board process. Continue reading

COVID-19 updates: Seattle testing ramps up, $750K relief for music venues, and an update on Inslee’s dials

Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and response around the Seattle region, Capitol Hill, and the Central District. See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

  • Testing expansion: With adequate resources finally in place, Seattle and King County health officials are now recommending that anyone “who has COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19” should be tested right away. The new recommendations clarify previous guidelines that prioritized testing for people most at risk for severe illness, healthcare providers, and first responders. It comes some ten weeks after the first “presumed positive” cases were identified in the region. The new position from local officials come after progress in securing federal testing supplies and as new drive-thru testing clinics have been put in place. “Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear is important to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community,” the county update reads.
  • How to get tested: The county says contact your healthcare provider:

    Most testing is completed through healthcare providers. You should call your healthcare provider if you feel sick, live in the same household as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Each healthcare system has its own testing processes. Many providers require appointments to prevent overcrowding and to be sure that they have supplies.

    But if you need to be tested and don’t have a provider, call the King County COVID-19 call center, open daily 8 AM – 7 PM at 206-477-3977.

  • How are those COVID-19 dials doing? Remember Gov. Inslee’s dials showing the key metrics being monitored during the state’s phased approach to reopening? Hopefully the testing progress noted above will help. The state’s “Testing Capacity ​​​​​and Availability” dial is the one most stubbornly stuck in the “high risk” direction. In the latest weekly update on the metrics, officials say that statewide daily testing numbers remain “fairly steady” at approximately 6,000. “Test collection supplies remain limited, with the state waiting on large shipments from the federal government,” they write. “Testing adequacy is mixed regionally, with high positivity rates in some areas indicating hotspots with potentially inadequate testing.” The state’s daily testing goal is 22,000. You can track the dial progress here. Continue reading

Phase 2: Hopes of Capitol Hill food and drink survival at ‘50%’

Capitol Hill food and drink venues have started telling customers about a new requirement for service. If you want to eat or drink, you first will need to provide a phone number and an email address.

The “contact tracing” data collection — familiar to, say, registering on a new website but not necessarily grabbing a burger for takeout — is part of a new roster of requirements and restrictions for Washington’s restaurant and bar industry as the state prepares for its “Phase 2” loosening of the COVID-19 lockdown that could be in place in June if infection rates continue to fall.

The opportunity to restart comes with a roster of changes in business practices and resources that must be in place for restaurants, cafes, bars, and taverns around Capitol Hill to reopen. Top of mind for most owners trying to sort out what comes next for the hundreds of venues and thousands of workers across the area is how to make the new math pencil out.

“We’re going to be back where we were in 2008 with the recession,” Capitol Hill food and drink veteran John Sundstrom of Lark says. “Our hope… this is such a big reset moment for the economy and the way we look at people’s lives… there is an opportunity for change.”

State requirements issued for the industry this week include 13 points of new guidelines: Continue reading