Capitol Hill counter legend Carmelo’s Tacos opening new location on 12th Ave — this time, with tables

Thanks to a CHS reader for the tip!

(Image: Carmelo’s Tacos)

Add one more to our roster of Capitol Hill bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2021. Carmelo’s Tacos is expanding with a second location — and, when we can finally go back inside, this new Carmelo’s will have tables.

The new Carmelo’s is being readied to open at 12th and Cherry across from Seattle U near the Cherry Street Coffee and 12th Ave Square Park. Continue reading

Design review: First look at proposal for preservation incentive-boosted project that will rise above 110-year-old E Pike Rowland building

Wednesday night will bring two virtual design review meetings that could help set the course for new developments on Capitol Hill in 2021 including a project planned to preserve the E Pike facade of the 1910-built commercial building that has been home to Gay City and Kaladi Brothers as part of an eight-story, incentive boosted mixed-use project.

CHS reported on the early plans from developer Hunters Capital and longtime property owner Chip Ragen to redevelop the corner of E Pike and Belmont.

Wednesday night, the Studio Meng Strazzara-designed project will take its first step in front of the East Design review board. Continue reading

Velocity Dance Center seeks new home as COVID-19 crisis brings 24-year run on Capitol Hill to an end

(Image: Velocity)

A symbol of the neighborhood’s efforts to bring its arts organizations and venues forward amid gentrification and soaring rents, Velocity Dance Center has announced it is leaving its Capitol Hill home due to “financial hardship brought on by the pandemic and government-mandated closures” during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“As Velocity takes this step to stabilize amidst uncertainty, we recognize and make room for the grief and joy that mark growth and change,” the center’s announcement reads. “We are reminded that it is all of you who make Velocity a place of creativity, connection, and care. We are so grateful for all the memories we’ve made together in the space. We understand your grief. We feel it too. But we are also excited to be more flexible. To have the ability to look forward to future programming, collaborations, and a new future home.”

Velocity has been facing the challenge of a possible end to its 12th Ave center in recent years as the nonprofit faced the pressures of the increasingly expensive neighborhood. Continue reading

The latest Capitol Hill food and drink trend: hibernation

Some of the neighborhood’s main remaining active food and drink players are pressing pause on their hard-fought efforts to re-configure businesses for takeout and creative streetside patio set-ups, opting, instead, to try to wait this all out.

“This isn’t a goodbye and it’s not forever, rather a see you soon,” the announcement from the Derschang Group about its decision to temporarily shut down Oddsfellow Cafe reads.

The shutdowns will bring more plywood to the already mostly barricaded nightlife and business districts. And they will put hundreds of workers onto unemployment after what turned out to be a temporary burst of reopening activity under the summer and early fall’s downturn in new cases and lightened restrictions on businesses

The popular Oddfellows is not alone in Capitol Hill venues opting for a December — and longer? — slumber. Continue reading

Seattle U’s Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation on track to open for 2021 school year

Seattle University said its new five-story, 111,000-square-foot science and tech building designed as the school’s new main entrance on 12th Ave will be completed in May and ready for next year’s fall quarter as it announced the building will be named to honor two longtime benefactors.

The Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation will serve the university’s growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics student population as well as make a new home for campus radio station KXSU. The new building will also house the university’s Center for Community Engagement, which runs the Seattle University Youth Initiative.

The University Services building, a former Canada Dry bottling facility, was demolished to make way for the project.

The school says the Sinegals have been a longtime part of the campus community: Continue reading

Mayor Durkan, tear down this wall (and safely reopen Cal Anderson)

A petition organized by members of neighborhood community groups, organizations, and businesses around Cal Anderson have launched a petition to show community support for the reopening of the park and removal of the concrete barrier wall surrounding the East Precinct:

From the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council:

Cal Anderson Park, a 7-acre public park in the middle of Seattle, has been closed to the public since early July. Although many continue to use the park, its use is not supported by regular maintenance and repair and it has become an unwelcoming place for many. Since its closure there have been 2 deaths inside the park, sprawling encampments, piles of trash and human excrement, property damage and deferred maintenance. Reopening the park will provide much needed maintenance and allow for the park to be utilized by all. The City has installed large cement barriers and fences around the E. Precinct in response to property damage. While most businesses have removed the plywood from their windows and are open for business in the neighborhood, the barricades around the E. Precinct remain. Removing the barricades signals this is a safe and welcoming neighborhood. We created the petition and will send its signatures to the Mayor and City Council members – the support they say they need to act. But, to make an impact, we need a LARGE VOICE. Please sign the petition here:

The petition already had more than 200 sign-ups as of early Thursday afternoon. Continue reading

‘Spiritual practice’ — 12th Ave yoga studio says it will continue in-person classes despite COVID-19 restrictions — UPDATE

(Image: Live Love Flow)

A 12th Ave yoga studio says it is exempt from the state’s new COVID-19 restrictions and will continue in-person “spiritual and mindful” classes.

Live Love Flow informed customers about the plans Monday night one day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new lockdown on businesses and social gatherings to help slow a dangerous third wave of rapid spread of the virus. Live Love Flow members notified CHS about the update.

“In response to Gov. Inslee’s mandate, we are announcing that we are continuing to run yoga classes as scheduled In-Studio and Online,” the studio’s message said. “Yoga is considered a spiritual and mindful practice.”

The new restrictions seem to disagree. Continue reading

What Capitol Hill small businesses, restaurants, and bars are saying about the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions — UPDATE

(Image: Victrola Coffee)

For some Capitol Hill small businesses, the coming weeks will be like the rest — making ends meet with reduced capacities and a reliance on new or rapidly scaled up revenue streams. For others, the new restrictions going into effect this week to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle are the start of new shutdowns and “temporary closures.”

Restaurants and bars will be particularly hard hit. The prohibition on indoor service begins Wednesday and already some have said they cannot afford to stay open. Broadway’s Corvus and Co. announced it will close “until indoor dining can resume.” Until then, they’re clearing out with a 50% off sale on food. Other Capitol Hill bars will likely follow.

The food, drink, and shopping restrictions are necessary, health officials says, because people are getting sick at work and the virus is spreading rapidly in home settings with friends and loved ones. Monday, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has identified “a handful of employer outbreaks” and that bars and restaurants have been the most common source in those business-related situations.

UPDATE 11/18/2020: Industry advocates are pointing out that restaurants and bars are being unfairly singled out. According to the state’s latest sector report (PDF), Washington’s leading employment categories by total case count are Health Care and Social Assistance, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and then Accommodation and Food Services.

The new lockdown is described as “temporary” with plans for the state to reassess the crisis by mid-December. In the meantime, restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service while outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Tables are limited to parties of five. For those venues with a good sidewalk and street setup, the city’s easing of permitting for outdoor dining, tents, and heating should help.

Others, like Mamnoon, for example, have announced they will step up their takeout efforts by adding things like expanded service hours for lunch deliveries.

Below is a selection of updates from Capitol Hill businesses about the coming lockdown: Continue reading

Seven-story development set to rise on 12th Ave Car Tender block faces design review

The multimillion dollar driver behind the exit of longtime auto garage Car Tender from Capitol Hill will kick into gear this week as the development set to replace it brings its new, larger vision to the city’s design review process.

The seven-story development set for review Thursday is set for 1710 12th Ave E, on property formerly home to the Car Tender auto repair shop, Bergman’s Lock and Key and the former home of the Scratch Deli. The auto shop which became a center of private security activity during the Capitol Hill occupied protest, is relocating to Shoreline. The project set to replace it had started the design review process in November 2019, well before any of this summer’s events.

In its place, Hill residents will get a few hundred new neighbors. In plans from the Runberg Architecture Group, developer Mack Real Estate Group proposes a 170,000 square foot building with 145 apartments, including a mix of studio, and 1- and 2-bedroom units. It would include a total of 3,500 square feet of commercial use broken up into three spaces, one at the corner of 12th and Olive, and the other two along 12th.  There will also be 90 parking stalls. Amenities include a fitness center, co-working space, and a rooftop deck. Continue reading

Police say new speaker system used at Seattle protests is an LRAD Long Range Acoustic Device

The new LRAD speaker system can be seen in this image from Wednesday night’s protest response (Image: Renee Raketty/CHS)

Seattle Police has clarified that new public address hardware used this week during its response to protests on Capitol Hill is a system developed as a sound energy weapon but the department says its new Long Range Acoustic Device has been modified so it can not  broadcast “high-frequency warning tones.”

“The department recently purchased, commercially, an enhanced public announcement system to address crowd communication issues identified over the summer months,” a statement sent to CHS about the new speaker system reads. “The purchase of such a system was a recommendation of both the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of the Inspector General following complaints from protest groups that instructions provided by Seattle PD during previous demonstrations could not be heard due to the quality of previous public announcement systems the department had used.” Continue reading