Local Sightings 2021: You can attend an in-person film festival on Capitol Hill

(Image: Thin Skin)

This summer, CHS checked in with the unique mix of Capitol Hill area movie theaters to learn more about how the venues were approaching reopening after months of COVID-19 restrictions. The answer? In slow motion with caution and safety.

On 12th Ave, the Hill’s Northwest Film Forum is tip toeing into the new world of pandemic-era theatergoing this week with screenings as part of its annual Local Sightings film festival. Masks and proof of vaccination are required: Continue reading

Bookkeeping | Rounding up inspiration from the pages at Capitol Hill’s Karachi Cowboys

(Image: CHS)

By Kimberly Kinchen

Bookkeeping is an occasional series touring some favorite places from Capitol Hill and the nearby via bookshelves, covers, and spines

We stopped in at Nasir Zubair’s 12th Ave Karachi Cowboy’s, one of the Hill’s newer eateries, where food is bound up in Zubair’s family traditions but unbound by the rules of restaurant trade.

How does a book make it onto this shelf? This is all just stuff that’s inspiring me right now. If we ever have a downtime and we want some inspiration for what to add to our menu next, we have all this to choose from. And everyone’s welcome to take a look if they want to. We’re not very structured here. It’s pretty chill. Continue reading

Ready to ‘lean into really dark,’ Anchorhead Coffee opening new bakery and cafe on Capitol Hill

(Image: Anchorhead Coffee)

A one of a kind Capitol Hill coffee and cafe space that went dark during the pandemic and never reopened is set to go… darker.

Anchorhead Coffee, with its Pacific Northwest rocker blacks and browns, will take over the former 12th Ave Stumptown location with plans for a new cafe, bakery, and coffee education lab to open this winter.

“When we saw this location, we had no plans to come to Capitol Hill,” Anchorhead co-owner Jake Paulson tells CHS, “but we were like, ‘We need to get this.'” Continue reading

Cakes + Trees now growing on 13th Ave with granny cakes, ‘parm night’ pop-ups, and plants

(Image: Cakes + Trees)

(Image: CHS)

By Jethro Swain

13th Ave’s new Cakes + Trees is attracting pastry-lovers with its homestyle cakes and keeping them coming back with a changing menu, pop-up dinners, and an array of indoor flora for sale.

“Once we got the place and started building it out, we really focused on making a little spot where people could walk in, forget about all the crap, indulge in a piece of cake, enjoy the plants and just not worry about things for a minute,” said Alison Odowski.

The new shop, located on 13th Ave just off of E Jefferson, opened earlier this summer from Seattle food and drink veterans Odowski and Erik Jackson. Jackson has been a chef in Seattle for over 20 years, and Cakes + Trees is the couple’s second small business venture, after creating Good Day Donuts in White Center.

Odowski and Jackson lived in Capitol Hill for three years before moving south to be closer to Good Day Donuts, so they’re familiar with the area.

“We weren’t specifically looking to be over here, or anywhere, but this space [we’re in] dictated the move because we fell in love with it,” said Odowski. “It’s really old, the building was built in 1910, which I love. With so much new stuff in Seattle it’s also fun to be in something really old.” Continue reading

Buoyed by pro-housing support, 8-story 12th Ave development gets design board ‘OK’

Runberg Architecture Group’s design is a “go” on 12th Ave

The land is currently occupied by the former Car Tender auto shop, Bergman’s Lock and Key, and the old Scratch Deli building

Capitol Hill’s “most debated” new development can move forward to construction.

Wednesday night, facing a wave of support from pro-housing advocates and residents providing public comment, and despite concerns from representatives for neighborhood groups, the East Design Review Board gave its support to the plan for a new eight-story, 130+ unit mixed-use apartment building with an 83-car underground parking lot set to rise on the properties now home to a former auto garage and set of small businesses on 12th Ave at E Olive St. Continue reading

Eight stories, 134 units on 12th Ave — Largest new development coming to Capitol Hill also its most debated

The future 12th at E Olive St? (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

The largest development taking shape on Capitol Hill has, perhaps unsurprisingly, also generated the most pushback from neighbors and the biggest challenges for the city’s design review process.

The Mack Real Estate group has plans for an eight-story building at 1710 12th Ave, just north of the affordable 12th Ave Arts development. The land is currently occupied by the former Car Tender auto shop, Bergman’s Lock and Key, and the old Scratch Deli building. The market rate, mixed-use project set to reshape the block started the design review process in late 2019 and returns, now, for the final step still facing stacks of questions and following iterations that have seen at least six different design concepts presented for review.

In its most recent pass in front of the East Design Review Board in November, frustration about the project and concerns about its relationship to the lower heights and smaller scale housing off of 12th bled through. The board split in its opinion that the project could move forward with two of the board members siding with public comment and voting to make the project return for yet another early design guidance session “to consider additional massing alternatives and response to context.” The proposed building related too much to the larger scale of the 12th Ave Arts development and not enough to the small apartment buildings and houses nearby.

“The Board recognized the large volume of public comment with concerns regarding the height, bulk, and scale of this project relative to recent up-zoning changes, the existing context and the adjacent lower intensity zone and agreed that these issues were of critical importance in developing the design of the project,” the report on the most review session for the project reads.

1710 12th Ave

Land Use application to allow an 8-story, 134-unit apartment building with retail. Parking for 83 vehicles proposed. Existing buildings to be demolished. Design Review Early Design Guidance done under 3035745-EG. View Design Proposal  (32 MB)    

Review Meeting
July 28, 2021 7:00 PM

Meeting: https://bit.ly/Mtg3036725

Listen Line: 206-207-1700 Passcode: 146 305 3476
Comment Sign Up: https://bit.ly/Comment3036725
Review Phase

Project Number

Joseph Hurley — email comments: [email protected]

But there is light at the end of the long process tunnel. Wednesday, the project team enters what could be the final review for the project believing its has found solutions for the problems of scale and relationship to the neighborhood.

“Massing and modulation have been adjusted to reflect/reference this smaller scale and create an appropriate transition,” the design review packet reads. “The preferred scheme does draw inspiration from the neighboring 12th Ave Arts building, but now also incorporates inspiration from the neighborhood to the north, west and east as well.” Continue reading

Slow motion: For Capitol Hill-area movie theaters, reopening means taking time to do it right

We’re still a long way from scenes like this inside the Northwest Film Forum. In the meantime, you and friends can rent the theater for your own screenings for $350 a night (Image: Northwest Film Forum)

By Jethro Swain

Prior to the pandemic, Capitol Hill’s access to three flesh and blood, living, breathing movie theaters has been a cultural blessing for this day and age. With the state’s economic reopening and the growing evidence that powerful variants of the COVID-19 virus could be impactful even in a city with 73% of its population now vaccinated, Capitol Hill-area theaters are taking a slow and steady approach to reopening.

The Northwest Film Forum, the 12th Ave nonprofit film and arts center has continued its mission through the pandemic using online screenings to continue their showings.

“We’re looking at mid-September for reopening, which is a week before our Local Sightings Film Festival,” said Northwest Film Forum’s executive director Vivian Hua. The Local Sightings Film Festival will run from September 16-26. “That will be the big reopening, but we’ll have a lighter reopening a week before that with a standard film run,” said Hua.

Hua said that the theater is working on upgrades to the venue, as well as hiring new staff for training to get the theater ready for reopening. “Also upgrading our accessibility stuff, our signage, things on the outside that people might not care about until they come into our space which will hopefully look and feel a little bit different,” said Hua. Continue reading

In the transition from pop-up to in-person, new Blotto pizza joint and market perfectly timed for Capitol Hill’s reopening

(Image: Blotto)

With many Capitol Hill restaurants going with the tides and flows of the pandemic growth of app services and streamlined takeout, new Capitol Hill cornershop and pizza joint Blotto is refreshingly cattywompus.

Blotto serves pizza just three days a week — Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — starting at 5 PM until the sourdough runs out. You can’t order online. You might be able to call an order in. But, really, you should stop by the corner of 12th and Denny. That’s really the point.

“It’s really thrilling to have people in the space after working on it so long,” Cal Hoffmann said.

CHS stopped by Blotto’s new 12th Ave home this week to talk with Hoffman and Jordan Koplowitz as the pizza shop and market is still settling into its first days of business. The Blotto trio — Hoffman, Koplowitz, and Christy Wyble — have been in the shop for every hour of its existence, soaking in the transition to a brick and mortar restaurant after launching the business as a takeout-only pop-up. Continue reading

Nature is healing: Seattle bumps up parking rates but Capitol Hill still far from $4.50/hour pre-pandemic levels

(Image: Ryan Packer)

By Ryan Packer

Capitol Hill’s on-street parking rates are going to stay pretty affordable, at least for the foreseeable future.

Last week, the latest adjustment to citywide metered parking rates took effect, as the Seattle Department of Transportation says it is trying to match demand as vaccination rates increase and businesses welcome more customers. But unlike other cities that have reinstated their old, pre-COVID parking meter rates, Seattle is keeping a base rate of 50 cents per hour and adjusting that based on demand. As a result, parking a car in Pike/Pine will actually be cheaper than it was when SDOT adjusted rates back in February.

Will you be paying early 2020 rates to park a car in any on-street spaces on the Hill anytime soon? Not likely. Pre-pandemic rates hit as high as $4.50 per hour during evening hours in the heart of Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, rates in First Hill are inching just a bit closer to their former peak rate of $5 per hour, with $2 per hour morning rate and $1.50 at mid-day.

Here are the new hourly rates as of June 1st: Continue reading

Karachi Cowboys, with Aloo Sliders, ‘vegetable forward bowls,’ and tamarind BBQ sauce, ready to settle in on 12th Ave

(Image: Karachi Cowboys/Kyle Johnson)

With Capitol Hill’s food and drink economy moving toward a full reopening, new opportunities — and new flavors — are emerging including a concept shaped by the Seattle food and drink pop-up scene ready to pony up and join the neighborhood with its first restaurant space.

Karachi Cowboys and its Pakistani soul food creations is ready to strap in and ride it out on 12th Ave. Natural wine shop Glinda will make room but is sticking around to be part of the new project.

Nasir Zubair says the spirit of Karachi Cowboys is born of his life growing up in Texas in a Pakistani home filled with Desi flavors and the African American food and drink culture of his mixed family.

“We take liberties, pick from here and there. We pick from all over India and Pakistan,” Zubair said. Continue reading