Former e-bike shop lined up as planned new home for Central District post office

There is a plan for the Central District to get its post office back.

In a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the United States Postal service says it is working on agreement with the property owner of The Central building at 2207 E Union to take over the space being left vacant by the exit of electric bike dealership Electric Lady.

“If this location is not adequate or an agreement cannot be reached with its owner, the Postal Service will consider other sites within the preferred area as shown at the May 2, 2019, meeting,” the letter reads. Continue reading

With a vision for affordability beyond the neighborhood, Capitol Hill Housing won’t just be Capitol Hill Housing much longer

Developed in conjunction with Africatown, The Black Community Impact Alliance, and Byrd Barr Place, Capitol Hill Housing’s Liberty Bank Building opened in March

By Tim Kukes for CHS

Capitol Hill Housing held its annual meeting Tuesday at the 12th Avenue Arts building, one of several projects across Seattle created by the nonprofit developer of affordable housing.  Members of the organization gave status reports on the successes of the past year and discussed some of the challenges they were facing.  But, CEO Chris Persons did what in journalism is called “burying the lede”.

“We’re coming up with a new name,” Persons said, late in the meeting.  “Think about our name, Capitol Hill Housing, neither of those really represent what we do as an organization, so it is time after 40 years to select a different name.”

What was discussed prior to the announcement Tuesday morning illustrates the need for a new name and rebranding of the organization.  As the leadership spoke it became clear that the message was that CHH was more than in the business for providing affordable housing and its scope was beyond Capitol Hill.

As Persons put it, “Building beyond buildings.” Continue reading

Hoping to follow the equitable development example of the Liberty Bank Building, Africatown Plaza begins to take shape

Community members discuss their priorities for the Africatown Plaza project (Image: CHS)

“Welcome to what we now call sacred ground,” said K. Wyking Garrett, standing in the still bare-bones corner space of the Liberty Bank Building where a new restaurant by That Brown Girl Cooks will land this summer. His comments marked the start of the first community design meeting for the planned Africatown Plaza affordable housing and commercial retail development on 23rd and Union.

Thursday’s meeting gave a first glimpse into what Africatown Community Land Trust, of which Garrett is president and CEO, plans for the site, and was a first step in the design process that is supposed the mirror and exceed the success of the affordable housing development Liberty Bank Building. The opening of the building this spring signaled the start of what is hoped to be a wave of equitable development across the Central District.

“We are here today to talk about the next project, the next building (…) across the street. Which will be similar, but we will improve on what we’ve done here,” Garrett said. Continue reading

After deadly shooting at 21st and Union, where did SPD find a cache of military-style rifles and ammo in gang gun violence investigation? Two blocks away

One of the firearms seized from a Central District apartment building (Image: SPD)

As scads of city officials toured the area around recent scenes of Central District gun violence Wednesday and are considering approaches including simpler, faster solutions like Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design features, another factor in the ongoing violence has emerged.

Many of the powerful firearms swept up by Seattle Police, FBI, and ATF agents around Seattle in the weeks following a deadly shooting at 21st and Union were found in an apartment only blocks from where the deadly May 10th gang shootout went down.

East Precinct commander Capt. Bryan Grenon told the African American Advisory Council community meeting last week that some of the military style rifles and ammunition recovered by police was found in a nearby apartment building just blocks from where the deadly shooting occurred, a person who attended the meeting told CHS.

Among the weapons seized were two AK-47 style assault rifles, an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, and a large amount of ammunition. Continue reading

Lowrider Baking Company, the Central District’s new cookie shop, moves in at 24th and Union

(Image: Lowrider Baking Company)

The logo of Lowrider Baking Company, a new Central District cookie counter shop, may feature a large wiener dog but its cookies are for humans only.

“It was just a way to combine my obsession with my dogs and my obsession with cookies,” says Lowrider founder and owner Emily Allport, who owns two dachshunds, Smokey and Riley. Now, she also owns a cookie-only bakery space and walk-up counter in The Stencil building on 24th and Union, located in the former Street Treats retail space. Lowrider Baking Company will officially open May 11th.

For two years, Lowrider has been a popular pop-up presence at farmer’s markets and some coffee shops in the South End. In October of last year, Allport made her cookie operation more permanent with a trailer in the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. There, the bakery has a sign that says “COOKIES,” and in parentheses, “for humans”, though Allport says that “99.9% of the time there is no confusion.” Continue reading

United States Postal Service weighing two options for new Central District post office

At a meeting Thursday at the Garfield Community Center, a United States Postal Service representative, flanked by Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, laid out two likely Central District options for permanently replacing the former location on 23rd Ave vacated as a major housing and retail development moves in.

“We know that post offices are a vital part of any healthy community,” Sawant said before quickly pivoting to the issue of high rents and displacement. Her staffers were handing out packets on her rent control proposal prior to the meeting. Continue reading

Black church puts $4.5M plan to exit 23rd and Union into motion

The exodus of a Black church from its Central District home is moving forward. The Mount Calvary Christian Center has put its third of an acre property home to its house of worship at 23rd and Union on the market for $4.5 million.

“Rare opportunity for land in the Central District commercial corridor. Zoned NC2P-75, this site allows for mixed use opportunities not easily found in this high demand neighborhood with vast amounts of pedestrian access,” the description from the Bascomb Real Estate Group listing reads. “Subject consists of two parcels and provides an opportunity for a full range of expansive projects with the value in the land; bring your investors, architects & builders, and take advantage of having a presence in the heart of the city. Buyer to verify land use requirements.” Continue reading

Celebrate equitable, affordable development in the Central District at Liberty Bank Building ribbon cutting

The Liberty Bank Building, what many hope will be a model for equitable, affordable development in Seattle, will celebrate its opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday in the Central District.

Liberty Bank Building Ribbon Cutting Celebration

Saturday’s party will include live music and performances, and food.

Named to honor the region’s first Black-owned bank that once stood at the corner, the six-story, 115-unit affordable housing development is a collaboration between Capitol Hill HousingAfricatownThe Black Community Impact Alliance, and Byrd Barr Place. Continue reading

Design for Midtown: Public Square and its ‘art plan’ set and ready for construction at 23rd and Union

The redevelopment of Midtown Center and the most significant thrust in the wave of change transforming 23rd and Union can finally move forward toward a start of construction later this year.

The design review board has given its final blessings to the plans for Midtown: Public Square, a three-piece, seven-story apartment development with more than 400 apartment units, a quasi-public central plaza, and underground parking for around 250 vehicles set to rise above the land home to the old shopping center.

In December, the project was kicked back in the design process over concerns about the large installations of art panels hoped to help the project better reflect the culture and the history of the Central District. Continue reading

Roasted corn — and machine learning in a food truck — at 23rd and Union’s El Costeño

Moises and Bernardo

Moises Santos is a 24-year-old programmer, food truck designer, and immigrant from Oaxaca, Mexico. His food truck holds down what seems like prime territory — the pot purchasing and stoner friendly parking lot at the Central District’s Uncle Ike’s. The truck is not run like a pipe dream but, instead, puts to use a fat pipe of bandwidth and crunches datasets of Seattle to make business decisions like how much carne asada he might serve up on a Tuesday.

“We’re a pretty innovative culture, we’re hardworking people,” Santos tells CHS as he stands by a corn roaster of his own design.

While the corn roaster is a first run concept, the food truck is a state-of-the-art restaurant on wheels that took two years to design and manufacture.

“It’s an artificial intelligence food truck,” Santos said. Continue reading