Capitol Hill Housing’squest for a new name to reflect its work beyond its birth neighborhood is ready for the next phase.
Through October 14th, the nonprofit developer of affordable housing communities is collecting feedback on eight options and weighing how they reflect against the organization’s key values: Continue reading →
Dancers at the opening of Capitol Hill Housing’s 12th Ave Arts
CHS reported earlier this year on how Capitol Hill Housing is expanding its vision for affordability beyond its home neighborhood. With the new horizons will come a new name for the 12th Ave-headquartered nonprofit developer. CHH is now asking for a little help:
It’s time! We are ready to create a new name for our organization that better reflects our geographic reach and how we’ve grown and changed. Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) has served and worked alongside generations of low- and moderate-income folks to improve their neighborhoods since 1976. While our history is rooted in Capitol Hill, today we partner with communities across the Seattle area—from the Central District to White Center to Lake City. We envision Seattle as a place where everyone—from teachers and artists to seniors on fixed incomes to young families—can set down roots and thrive. Our mission in service to that vision is to build vibrant and engaged communities.
23rd and Union’s Africatown mural (Image: Africatown)
Community members met this week for an all-day design symposium at Washington Hall in the Central District to plan “African American communities and spaces of the future” around the Puget Sound.
The event follows a major development in the Central District with the opening of the Liberty Bank Building and comes as the early design process for Africatown Plaza at Midtown, another fully affordable development around the 23rd and Union core, is about to begin.
“Overall, working to make sure that we still have a heart and soul and a place of unity and community,” the Africatown Community Land Trust’sK. Wyking Garrett said Saturday, before giving a shout out to last weekend’s Umoja Fest Parade, a Central Area staple since the 1940s. He wants Africatown, however, to be more than just these major celebrations, but places “where we can experience Black culture, Black music, Black culinary genius from throughout the diaspora.” Continue reading →
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.
At its annual fundraiser last week, Capitol Hill Housing announced some news about its Liberty Bank Building project at 24th and Union that hits right at the heart of the “inclusive” development.
Ready to be displaced by redevelopment of its longtime Midtown Center home, Earl’s Cuts and Styles will be moving into the Liberty Bank development, leaving its former home of 26 years on the corner of 23rd and Union.
Earl Lancaster, the Earl in Earl’s Cuts and Styles, is ultimately optimistic about the move. “I never thought I would have to move, but change is good,” he said. “The neighborhood is changing quicker than we would know, but I’m happy to be a part of it and continue to have a footprint in the central district, which is where I grew up at.” Continue reading →
Renters make up roughly 80% of Capitol Hill residents but organizers of an upcoming summit say most are left out of crucial public policy decisions. In an effort to kickstart a renter power movement in Seattle, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is holding its first Capitol Hill Renter Summit September 24th.
“It’s about giving the silent majority of the neighborhood a voice,” said EcoDistrict director Joel Sisolak.
The summit will feature issue briefings followed by breakout discussion groups. Leading up to the event, EcoDistrict organizers reached out to renters on Capitol Hill to head the discussions. Mayor Ed Murray will give an opening address, and House Speaker Frank Chopp and State Senator Jamie Pederson will join other local elected officials for a live Q&A session.
Sisolak hopes the summit will inspire a pipeline of building ambassadors that will see themselves as the rightful advocates for a crucial segment of Seattle’s population. “The renters summit is more of a launch than an endpoint,” he said.
Early concept of the development coming to “Site B North”
Sound Transit is finally ready to sell off the first of five properties surrounding the Capitol Hill light rail station that will transform Broadway and serve as a new gateway to Capitol Hill.
The board is expected to approve the $2.65 million sale (PDF) of Site B-North to developer Gerding Edlen during its Thursday afternoon meeting. The Portland-based developer previously selected Capitol Hill Housing to develop and own an 86-unit affordable housing project on the site, which runs along 10th Ave between John and Denny Way.
UPDATE (4:35 PM): Sound Transit board members approved the Site B-North sale agreement during their Thursday afternoon meeting. Despite a Sound Transit staffer reminding the board the action was “a very, very big deal,” the approval was rather unceremonious as one member had to be pulled in from the hallway to make a quorum for the quick vote. There was no board discussion of the measure.
“The Capitol Hill community has repeatedly and strongly expressed its desire for affordable housing,” said Brie Gyncild, co-chair of the Capitol Hill Champion community group. “We need truly affordable housing as soon as possible and we near it near the light rail station.”
(Image: Gerding Edlen)
According to Gerding’s winning proposal, half of Site B-North’s units will be restricted to households making no more than 30% of the area median income. The other half will be made affordable to households at or below 60% of AMI. A quarter of the units will have two or three bedrooms. Initial plans call for a community center and a daycare, as well as a rooftop deck and computer lab.
The $2.65 million price tag for the “transit oriented development” “Site B North” comes just under Sound Transit’s estimated price last year. A substantial percentage of the proceeds will go towards paying back federal transportation grants that were secured for the project.
In August, the board is expected to approve land leases for three other sites so Gerding Edlen can move forward with its plan to build 100,000 square feet of commercial, housing, and community space. Seattle Central College has been given a right of first refusal to develop a fifth parcel, Site D, due to the site’s location directly next to the school’s Broadway promenade. Continue reading →
“@CMLGonzalez speaking at this month’s Capitol Hill Renters Initiative, part of the Capitol @HillEcoDistrict” — @michellehipler via Twitter
100 “building ambassadors” needed for Capitol Hill renter summit in September
Since renters on Capitol Hill are transient and apathetic to city affairs, their concerns are less worthy of consideration when crafting public policy — or so the theory goes.
The message is one that Capitol Hill EcoDistrict director Joel Sisolak says is internalized by many renters, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of disengagement. A new organizing effort by the neighborhood sustainability organization is trying to change that.
Capitol Hill Renter Initiative seeks to amplify the mostly dormant voices of Capitol Hill renters and insert their priorities into the city’s ongoing housing policy debates. Rather than fight back against some developer-homeowner agenda, Sisolak said the EcoDistrict wants to encourage renter identity as a way into local politics.
“We’re really interested in getting renters into the public process,” Sisolak said. “That includes neighborhood discussions around land use and affordability” Continue reading →
Tuesday’s panel included, from the left, Matthew Richter (City of Seattle), Tonya Lockyer (Velocity Dance), Jason Plourde (Three Dollar Bill Cinema), Seth Garrison ‘Mo-Wave!), Cathryn Vandenbrink (ArtsSpace USA), and Lesley Bain (Frameworks). SIFF’s Carl Spence was also part of the talk but had to run to make a 7 PM screening at the nearby Egyptian. You can weigh in here on the question “What do you want the Capitol Hill Arts District to accomplish?“ (Image: Capitol Hill Housing)
Over the past few years, the heart of Capitol Hill’s art scene has experienced a near-constant barrage of development. Where once was cheap studio space, there is now a mixed-use apartment building with $1,500 studio apartments. Where once was a stage, there is… well, a mixed-use apartment building with $1,500 studio apartments. Anyway, you get the idea. The City of Seattle — perhaps late in the game — has decided to start figuring out how to keep Capitol Hill the art epicenter of the city. Ideas on how to do it were pushed further ahead at Tuesday night’s annual Capitol Hill Housing forum.
The Capitol Hill Arts District is still just an idea. City Council member Nick Licata said it is up to the community to pressure government to act. “Every mayor I have talked to has said it is a good idea,” Licata said Tuesday night. “But they never got around to establishing it.”