Central District Amazon Fresh to open next week — UPDATE

(Image: Amazon Fresh)

Amazon Fresh has announced it will open its 25,000 35,000-square-foot Central District store next week.

In its grand opening announcement, the Amazon grocery store chain promised “consistently low prices on a wide assortment of top brands plus high-quality produce, meat, and seafood. Enjoy delicious prepared foods made in our kitchen” plus “new ways to make grocery shopping more convenient” while announcing a roster of promotions to accompany a ribbon cutting at the 23rd and Jackson location:

Ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin shortly before we open our doors at 7:00 AM on August 12
• First 100 customers will receive an Amazon Card ranging from $5 to $100 each
• First 300 customers will receive an exclusive 23rd & Jackson tote
• Product giveaways and food sampling
• Music provided by a local DJ
• Enter for a chance to win a $250 e-gift card

“We can’t wait to meet you at the new Seattle 23rd & Jackson location,” the announcement reads.

UPDATE: In a statement sent to CHS late Thursday night, the company said the new store will bring “hundreds of high-quality jobs to the community, which offer industry-leading pay starting at $17/hr. and a variety of benefits packages that start on the employee’s first day on the job.”

“We’re thrilled to bring the first Amazon Fresh grocery store in Seattle to the Central District, providing customers with a wide selection of low-priced, high-quality fresh foods and a convenient in-store shopping experience,” David Nielson, regional manager of Amazon Fresh grocery stores, said in the statement. “We’re proud that this store has brought hundreds of great jobs to the area, and we are committed to continuing to contribute positively to the community.”

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With queso and tacos, Oaky’s Tex-Mex hopes to blur the lines of Central District BBQ

(Image: Oaky’s Tex-Mex)

Oaky’s Tex-Mex is coming to the Central District. That means Tex-Mex ‘queso’, the hot, melted cheese made for dipping tortilla chips or drizzling on dishes, is soon to satisfy that comfort food craving. If queso isn’t your thing (yet) Matt Davis, co-owner of Wood Shop BBQ just across S Jackson, is bringing his passion for food to each of his menu items.

With a rotating taco menu, meaty burritos, queso, and cocktails, Oaky’s expects to open any day now.

“The connection to comfort food is pretty intense for us,” Davis says.

“We found next level BBQ in Texas, and we fell in love with Austin too, the standard of food quality there is awesome.” Davis said. Co-owner James Barrington and Davis would take trips down to Texas during the early years of Wood Shop for BBQ tours.

“We would go down there in February because the weather was better there. In doing that, we fell in love with the place and got more into Tex-Mex. People give a shit about what they do there.” A few years back, Davis and Barrington went to pick up their “Snoop Dogg” smoker in Texas and while driving from Austin to El Paso they “ate their faces off,” trying all the Mexican food they could find.

Sometimes it was a small-town restaurant with 4,000 Yelp reviews like Mi Casa Restaurante in Arizona where you could taste how much care is put into the food. On occasion, it’s the people who stand out. Continue reading

2021 Umoja Day of Unity Parade & March steps off from Jimi Hendrix Park this weekend

2020’s parade and march

Concerns about the continued impact of COVID-19 mean another year without the full three-day festival but organizers behind Seattle’s annual Umoja events in the Central District will again gather for a day of celebration and a march “for Black Lives, Love, Unity, Healing & Justice” this weekend. 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

Uncle Ike’s new thing at 23rd and Union: booze

(Image: Uncle Ike’s Bottle Shop)

One of the captains of Seattle’s legal pot industry is turning his attention to a more traditional intoxicant at 23rd and Union.

Uncle Ike’s Bottle Shop is now open at the corner in front of the chain’s Central District cannabis store. Owner Ian Eisenberg said the decision was about simple economics.

“Glass and Goods never really performed,” Eisenberg said about the space’s previous life as an Uncle Ike’s store for pipes and pot paraphernalia. The higher margin, high end electronic smoking gear, Eisenberg said, is something most people were shopping for online. Continue reading

Garfield Super Block project seeks to fulfill broken promises in the Central District

(Image: Garfield Super Block)

By Ryan Packer

The Garfield Super Block is unfinished business. At least, that’s how members of the coalition seeking to improve the public space around Garfield High School and the adjacent Garfield Community Center see it.

Robert Stephens, Jr. has been one of the voices pushing the public agencies who each control a section of the Garfield High School campus, Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, to fulfil a promise made back when the school was undergoing a major renovation that opened in 2008 that cost the district over $100 million.

As part of the public process to approve building a new Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center, Seattle Public Schools had to be approved to get a variance in order to build fewer than the required number of off-street parking stalls. As part of that process, the district was required to provide a public benefit as a mitigation.

That project was the Super Block improvement project. “The community was just forgotten about,” Stephens tells CHS.

The “Super Block” label may cause confusion around the goals of this project, in contrast with proposals in recent years to create more pedestrian friendly areas by limiting vehicle traffic where it’s currently allowed. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda has proposed creating a “super block” on Capitol Hill in the Pike Pine Corridor. Here the Super Block already exists, with 24th Ave and E Jefferson having been subsumed by the Garfield campus. Pedestrian connectivity within the campus would be restored and enhanced.

The project seeks to acknowledge what Stephens described as the Central District’s “little city hall,” a major center of the political universe in the neighborhood for the past century. It also seeks to shore up historical memory of the neighborhood at large during an era of continued gentrification. Continue reading

Let us pray for a more affordable city: Seattle to allow taller, denser development on church properties

A project to provide housing at 22nd and Union from the Low Income Housing Institute and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd could grow with help from the newly approved legislation

As city leaders gear up a legislative process to re-brand so-called “single family” zoning in Seattle, the Seattle City Council passed new rules Monday that will essentially upzone properties owned by religious institutions in return for building new affordable housing.

Monday’s vote could be especially meaningful for the Central District and Capitol Hill where there are dozens of potential sites owned by churches and religious communities. CHS reported here on one example at 22nd and Union where the Low Income Housing Institute and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd are planning Good Shepherd Housing, an affordable housing development with 75 of its 100 units reserved for homeless residents. Continue reading

After alleged $800 heist downtown Friday, Starbucks bandit’s robbery goes less well Saturday in the Central District

A Starbucks bandit who SPD says later told police he was also responsible for another recent heist was apprehended within minutes Saturday morning after threatening he had a gun in a hold-up of the coffee chain’s 23rd and Jackson location.

Police responded and surrounded the area around cafe just before 9:30 AM where the suspect was reported by witnesses to have fled south on Jackson and through a nearby park.

According to East Precinct updates, the suspect told workers at the coffee shop he had a handgun and demanded cash. He reportedly fled the shop with a Starbucks bag of $1 and $5 bills. Continue reading

When will the Central District Amazon Fresh open? Amazon’s not saying

Amazon’s PR for its new Factoria store (Image: Amazon Fresh)

In January, Seattle retail giant Amazon announced two new era grocery stores: one in Bellevue’s Factoria neighborhood and one in the heart of Seattle’s Central District at 23rd and Jackson. Last week, the company proudly showed off its first Amazon Fresh full-sized grocery to use it checkout-less “Just Walk Out technology” as it cut the ribbon on the Factoria store.

When will the 25,000-square-foot South Jackson Amazon Fresh open? The company isn’t saying. Continue reading

‘The fight isn’t over’ — 2021 Seattle Juneteenth Freedom March crosses the Central District

With pandemic facemasks coming off and a year removed from last summer’s massive Black Lives Matter protests, the Juneteenth Freedom March crossed the Central District with calls  Saturday for stronger support for Seattle’s Black communities. Sunday, the celebration and activism continues with a festival of Black businesses in Jimi Hendrix Park.

“Pay the fee,” was one theme of the day as organizers King County Equity Now and Africatown continue the push for Black ownership of property and businesses to return to the Central District. “The fight isn’t over,” another sign read. Continue reading