‘FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES’ — Latest addition to Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway adds messages of action on way to June opening

After a year mostly lost to the COVID-19 crisis, Capitol Hill Station’s AIDS memorial project connecting the transit hub’s mixed-use development and plaza to Cal Anderson is taking shape and on track for a June 2021 completion. This week, an important component of the AIDS Memorial Pathway was installed, adding new messages to the area from time of the height of the AIDS crisis that the project’s organizers and contributing creators say are relevant and important for today’s Capitol Hill.

“We not only wanted to do messaging that was relevant, that was authentic,” Gabriel Stromberg of the Civilization firm tells CHS about the We’re Already Here installation added to the pathway this week. “But we also wanted to find messaging that represents different experiences in the AIDS crisis.”

Stromberg and Corey Gutch say the Civilization creation of bright signs now on display at the Broadway development and plaza is based research and community review of messages from “collective action” — protests, demonstrations, rallies, and campaigns — from the activism around the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Jason Plourde, manager of the AIDS Memorial Pathway Project, says that realness, relevancy, and diversity of experience is a key component of the pathway. Continue reading

Sound Transit board to vote on fare enforcement policy reform

(Image: Sound Transit)

The Sound Transit board of directors will vote Thursday afternoon on what the body is calling the start of “major reforms” for how the agency handles fare enforcement.

If approved in Thursday’s vote, the proposed motion (PDF) would direct the creation of “a new fare enforcement/engagement program” and suspend all “civil infractions for fare evasion” until the board can vote “on an updated fare enforcement policy.” Continue reading

A Broadway development more than 20 years in the making, the process to fill Capitol Hill Station’s new apartments has begun — UPDATE

Capitol Hill Station’s Park luxury apartment building will provide its tenants with plenty of Cal Anderson views (Image: Live Capitol Hill Station)

One quarter of the first batch of units in the new Capitol Hill Station mixed-use development have been leased, as of early this month, according to the complex’s general manager.

The major project above the light rail transit station has been seen as a key development for the neighborhood creating hundreds of new homes and thousands of square feet of new commercial space on Broadway. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed construction but the new, mostly “market-rate” apartments are finally hitting that market.

110 affordable units in the Station House development on the northeast area above the station opened earlier this year and faced high demand.

More than two years after the project’s groundbreaking across the street from Cal Anderson Park, which included a ribbon cutting from Mayor Jenny Durkan, the leasing process on the first 94 units of 400-plus on Broadway started in mid-September amid the coronavirus pandemic, general manager Kristin Lipp told CHS. Continue reading

Explaining the ‘X’ in Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway

The artists and community collaborators behind Capitol Hill’s forthcoming AIDS Memorial Pathway have a different approach to building a memorial. For starters, the AMP, working with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, is steering clear of a monolithic or singular representation of Seattle’s early AIDS crisis. To that end, adding more contributors to the public art installation ensures more experiences are represented. That vision was reflected last week when the AMP announced Christopher Paul Jordan, Horatio Hung-Yan Law, graphic design studio Civilization, and Storme Webber as the artists selected to contribute four permanent art installations on the plaza above Capitol Hill Station and in Cal Anderson Park.

“I think the AMP is a very unique way to remember and memorialize HIV and AIDS and its history here in Seattle,” AMP project manager Jason Plourde said. “I have been really excited by the fact that it’s not just a singular thing that’s representing a history or commemorating what happened. There are four different artists doing four unique, connected pieces. I think it makes it more interesting and will make it more impactful.”

The as-yet-unnamed centerpiece is a giant X made from speakers, a 20 foot by 20 foot structure, designed by Jordan. He points out the X is a +, or positive symbol, turned on its axis to erode the perceived binary between HIV positive and HIV negative people and symbolizing a solidarity between the two. Jordan said that “the general attitude that a lot of folks have is, ‘Well it doesn’t really affect me, I’m negative.’ There’s a respectability culture around HIV negative status that sees itself as separate from the crisis, as some people have access to healthcare and support they need.” Continue reading

Sound Transit dropping color plan so you can take the 1 Line to Capitol Hill Station

(Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit is transitioning to an alphanumeric system for naming its light rail lines and bus routes. The public transit agency announced the decision last week to adopt the new system of numbers and letters that will change the line currently connecting north and south through the city via Capitol Hill to the 1 Line.

In November, CHS reported on the agency’s ill-fated “Red Line” designation of the route serving Capitol Hill Station as Sound Transit was preparing for the launch of the Blue Line serving a new connection to the Eastside.

“As the term Red Line became more visible we heard concerns from members of our community, that this term carries unfortunate associations with the punitive practice by lenders of ‘redlining,'” Sound Transit said at the time. Continue reading

COVID-19 restrictions bring most Seattle construction to a halt — including Capitol Hill Station’s hundreds of new apartments

Capitol Hill Station’s “transit oriented development” construction will come to a halt (Image: CHS)

While Capitol Hill has gone mostly quiet under COVID-19 restrictions, there was a louder than usual buzz of saws, hammering, and heavy equipment as contractors worked Wednesday to wrap up projects and secure work sites across the neighborhood.

Monday’s latest round of restrictions to slow the outbreak’s spread include a shutdown of businesses and industries deemed “non-essential” — late Wednesday, word spread that would, indeed, include most residential and commercial construction.

Across Seattle and on Capitol Hill, the decision will ripple through the area on a project by project basis. Most will also go quiet. Continue reading

Why there might* be a temporary** hotel above Capitol Hill Station

Building C is lined up to be apartments above a daycare and and a dentist office… eventually.

* COVID-19

**
apartments are worth more than hotel units?

As construction on the buildings rising above Capitol Hill Station is completed, the project’s lead developer has been looking for ways to put the properties and their hundreds of new apartment units along Broadway to use as quickly as possible. You might see a new hotel operating in the neighborhood next to the busy transit station — for a while, at least.

Developer Gerding Edlen is securing permits for a possible temporary transition in plans from apartments to 60 hotel rooms managed by the WhyHotel chain on the project’s southwest edge above Broadway and E Barbara Bailey Way, Jill Sherman of Capitol Hill Station master tells CHS.

WhyHotel is a Washington, D.C. based player in the growing “apartment hotel” industry that is targeting a more premium, extended stay and work housing-focused cut of the hospitality market. CHS reported in January on Sonder, another industry startup, stepping in to replace planned office space in an eight-story, 65-unit apartment and mixed-use building rising on the land where a surface parking lot once spread out on Pine just above downtown. Two floors of the under construction building will be dedicated to the hotel units while the rest of the upper floors will be standard apartment units. The change in plans in this project was a simpler effort — the city treats office and lodging as the same use category. Continue reading

Council committee OKs ordinance for AIDS Memorial Pathway art that will rise at center of Capitol Hill Station plaza

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday approved a key ordinance and got a look at the artwork being planned for the AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway project destined to be the centerpiece of the Capitol Hill Station plaza and connect the development to nearby Cal Anderson Park.

During the session, the council approved the use of “non city funds” and the donation of three major art components of the project funded by the AMP foundation set up to support the project. A requirement that the council and the Office of Arts and Culture work out a specific plan to pay for maintenance of the Memorial Pathway art once it comes under city control was also added to Thursday’s approval. The ordinance will now move on to the full council for a final vote in March.

The donations from AMP approved Thursday cover some $750,000 in art: Continue reading

You’ve heard about H Mart, here’s how the rest of Capitol Hill Station’s mix of retail, food, drink, daycare, and new home for the farmers market is shaping up

While it might fall short of visions of a bustling European market above a busy transit facility, the grocery, shops, cafes, farmers market, and, yes, a daycare facility set to open in the new buildings above Capitol Hill Station later this year will be intentionally smaller in scale than the massive development they are part of.

“We felt like there was a real demand for just smaller shop spaces,” Jill Sherman of Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen tells CHS.

While hundreds of new market-rate apartments and much needed affordable housing part of the project will be welcomed to Broadway, Capitol Hill Station’s lead developer has also set about trying to meet the promises over community priorities it made to win the bid to lead the project’s development process.

But don’t expect La Boqueria, Barcelona’s sprawling public market. Instead, Sherman said the vision for the project has shifted to the realities of present-day Seattle small businesses with an emphasis on smaller spaces, lower rents, shared facilities like restrooms, and, especially, local ownership.

“We ended up going with a small shop space instead of open market or food hall,” Sherman said.

For shoppers and commuters, this is how Capitol Hill Station’s retail, food, and drink spaces will fit together. Continue reading

No downtown light rail this weekend as Sound Transit’s winter construction project reaches halfway point

Where to find your free CHS shuttle

Sound Transit contractors have reached the halfway point of this winter’s construction project to connect the coming East Link light rail expansion to the city’s existing underground transit tunnel running from downtown to Pioneer Square. What comes next this weekend is the second of three planned service disruptions with downtown stations completely closed from Friday 9 PM until Monday morning. “During that time, there will be no Link light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO,” Sound Transit writes. “Shuttle buses will make surface stops at the closed stations. Fares will not be required for train or shuttle bus passengers.”

Then comes five more weeks of construction and a reversal of sorts for the single tracking solution Sound Transit has been using to keep trains running during the work:

When service resumes, Link passengers traveling through downtown will still need to make a transfer via the new center platform at Pioneer Square. However, the operating platform will have switched to the southbound platform at stations north of Pioneer Square and to the northbound platform at stations south of Pioneer Square. Extensive signage marking the change will be deployed, and Sound Transit ambassadors and security staff will be present to assist passengers in getting where they need to go.

Sound Transit says bikes will remain prohibited at Pioneer Square station throughout the construction. Riders with bikes must exit at University Street or International District/Chinatown stations.

The final planned weekend light rail closure is scheduled for March 14th and 15th.