Pivot: Gardened terraces out, mixed-use and offices in at the base of Capitol Hill

The future gaze from downtown highrises will reveal Pivot, gateway to Capitol Hill

There aren’t many of the elements left that won so much attention for the project when CHS first reported on it in the summer of 2016. The rooftop restaurant? Poof. The garden-like terraces rising above I-5? Gone with the wind. But after a long and circuitous route through the Seattle process, the appropriately named Pivot project set to rise at the base of Capitol Hill at Pine and Melrose has changed enough to make it to Wednesday night’s possible last design review.

Design review: 1208 Pine St

The review board will see a much more streamlined design focused for an eight-story, 70-unit apartment and office mixed-use building that is also planned for street-level retail. Neighborhood guidelines prefer those 5,200 square feet of restaurant or shop space to be on the ground floor — not the rooftop. Some 14,000 square feet will be dedicated to office space while 16 spaces are planned in the underground parking garage. Continue reading

Redevelopment lined up to replace Capitol Hill ‘drive thru’ All Seasons Cleaners

It’s no Wash Land laundromat but there will be plenty of people across Capitol Hill sad to see a neighborhood dry cleaner make way for a planned E Olive Way development.

All Seasons Cleaners has held a special place in Capitol Hill culture over the years as home to a regular streetside flea market just off Broadway. It’s also a well regarded dry cleaner. According to new plans, the property is being readied for demolition to make way for a planned seven-story mixed-use project. Continue reading

Euro fashion retailer Scotch and Soda set to join Melrose Ave

Scotch and Soda’s U Village store (Image: University Village)

The corner once home to quintessential Capitol Hill coffee shop Bauhaus is today home to an upscale cycling lifestyle “clubhouse.” The space around the corner on Melrose that used to be an art gallery before being built into the gargantuan, seven-story Excelsior mixed-use building? Amsterdam-based Scotch and Soda is adding the retail berth to its growing roster of U.S. locations.

Company officials haven’t confirmed the new store, the chain’s second in Seattle joining a location in the University Village mall. Permits filed with the city indicate the start of planning is underway for the shop on the eastern side of Melrose adjacent the entrance to the mixed-use building’s 280-vehicle underground parking garage and across the street from Melrose Market. Continue reading

Asian flavored H Mart in talks to fill key retail space at Capitol Hill Station

With PCC announcing its plans to open a new downtown Seattle store in 2020, another potential player appears to be off the board to fill the key anchor tenant space in the Capitol Hill Station “transit oriented development” project slated to finally break ground this spring after a decade of planning. After a series of names attached to the project have either backed out or moved on, CHS has learned that talks have centered on a new, growing part of the region’s grocery and retail economy.

Capitol Hill Station master developer Gerding Edlen is finalizing talks with Han Ah Reum Mart, Inc. to fill the key retail space in the massively important housing, commercial, and community development set to fill a block of Broadway surrounding the light rail station, a person familiar with negotiations tells CHS.

The company’s H Mart stores are known for their Asian foods and home goods. The U.S.-based chain featuring fresh produce, meats, seafood, snacks and more opened in the University District last summer even as a long anticipated downtown Seattle project has remained on hold. Continue reading

Design review board has first look at Belmont Ave low-income and re-entry project

(Images: SMR Architects)

Capitol Hill’s design review pipeline has slowed to a trickle but there are still a few important new projects on the board. Wednesday night, a development from Pioneer Human Services part of $101 million in funding for affordable housing projects across Seattle will take its first step in the process.

Design Review: 1717 Belmont Ave

Pioneer on Belmont will be a seven-story apartment building with 90 units designed for a mix of the lowest income tenants and housing for formerly incarcerated and homeless residents: Continue reading

Capitol Hill property owner takes Sullivan House landmark decision to court

Lawyers are asking the King County Superior Court to reject a well-worn, dilapidated 120-year-old Capitol Hill mansion recently approved as a Seattle historic landmark.

Saying that the decision has “prejudiced” their client by “causing the loss of a sale” and “substantially destroying the economic value of the property,” lawyers for the estate that owns the Sullivan House at 15th Ave and E Olive St. filed the lawsuit last month after the old mansion became one of the city’s most unlikely properties to go forward in the designation process that sets up controls and incentives on certain properties deemed worthy of preservation by a city convened board.

In the suit, lawyers for Elaine Thorson, the retired schoolteacher they say moved from California and plunged her life’s savings into buying out other heirs to her deceased aunt’s unique Capitol Hill apartment property, are asking the court to reverse the land use decision on the house and send the mansion back to Seattle Landmarks Board with direction to “reject the landmark nomination based on the severe economic impact such a designation will have (and has had) on the petitioners.” Continue reading

A demolition, a homeless camp, and townhouses: the 22nd Ave story of Cherry Hill Baptist Church

22nd Ave’s Cherry Hill Baptist Church — in the background, Tent City 3 has settled in across E Cherry

An 118-year-old Black church in the Central District lined up for demolition. A homeless encampment at the center of the city’s debate on how it should best approach providing housing to its residents most in need. A planned development that will build 14 townhouses that probably won’t be affordable but will help increase available stock in a booming city desperate for new housing. It’s a modern day Seattle story at 22nd Ave and Cherry.

Today, it’s mostly cold and wet. Tent City 3, recently moved in on church property behind the AM/PM and gas station at the corner, provides shelter to around 50 people. The New York Times just wrote about the camp and its most recent stay at Seattle Pacific University. “Some other cities grappling with homelessness, especially on the West Coast, have set aside places to allow camps or have opted not to enforce laws on outdoor camping for periods of time,” the New York Times remarks. “But the Seattle area went further into the experiment: It has, over the course of more than a decade, gradually allowed 11 camps to become permanent features of the landscape.”

The camps are also permanently on the move. Tent City 3 is now resident on land owned by Cherry Hill Baptist Church. Across the street, Pastor Willie Seals has big plans. Continue reading

A look at public comment on the Holy Names parking project — UPDATE: Extended

As you can see in the comments on this CHS Community Post in opposition to the project, there is a solid split on the proposal to build a five-level parking garage beneath North Capitol Hill’s Holy Names Academy and a new surface parking lot to the girls private high school’s north. As we reported in January, supporters and families at the school say that street parking in the neighborhood is overwhelmed. Those in opposition — mostly neighbors of the 110-year-old campus — say the massive project is not necessary, decry the loss of the school’s north lawn, and say the permitting should not proceed without further environmental review.

Land Use Application to allow a new 2-story gymnasium with below grade parking for 246 vehicles (Holy Names Academy). An additional 32 parking spaces to be provided in a new surface parking lot, 12 existing spaces to be removed for a total of 307 parking spaces. Review includes partial demolition of existing gymnasium.

With public comment on the key Master Use portion of the process to permit the construction project slated to end today, Wednesday, February 28th, here is a look at some of the comments submitted on both sides of the proposal. UPDATE 2:57 PM: The city tells us the comment period has, indeed, been extended to March 14th.

Of the 67 public comments submitted, supporters who support the project moving out without a costly environmental review outweigh those in opposition by around seven to three. Many in support have students among the 700 young women who attend the academy. Most in opposition live nearby. Continue reading

Unbundling, flexibility, ‘frequent transit service’ — What’s in Seattle’s ‘Neighborhood Parking Reform’ proposals

The City Council’s planning committee Wednesday morning is scheduled to continue its work reshaping Seattle’s parking policies in an effort to reduce building costs and, hopefully, help address the city’s growing affordability crisis.

CHS wrote here in January about Seattle’s so-called “Neighborhood Parking Reform” process and the hope of reducing requirements, “unbundling” costs, and opening up the city to “shared parking” for motor vehicles and bikes. Here’s a rundown of the elements in the latest version of the legislation under discussion Wednesday from a City Hall staff memo on the proposals:

  • Unbundling” of parking: requiring that renting or leasing of parking be covered by a separate agreement from rental agreements and leases,
  • Calling non-required or public parking “flexible use parking” and broadening the locations where flexible use parking is permitted and how it can be used, Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | What happened with Galbraith House

Galbraith House as of January 26th. Photo by Tom Heuser

When I saw the headlines last month that Galbraith House, a protected landmark would be demolished, my heart sank and I had to do a double take. How does a Capitol Hill landmark get cleared for demolition? The whole point of the landmarks ordinance is to prevent demolition not to enable it. I read the articles and the comments, and asked around thinking I had missed something, but only found misconceptions, half-truths, and dead ends (quite literally in one case). So I went straight to the source.

I scoured the Landmarks Preservation ordinance and the past 12 years of board meeting minutes, spoke extensively with city staff and other preservation advocates, and put all the pieces together. What I learned is a serious one-two punch to preservation that deserves our immediate attention. Now for those not familiar with the whole process, let’s start by taking a tour of the city’s landmarks ordinance. I will only cover the most salient points. Consider this a quick crash course.

The Ordinance: Landmarks designation is a four-step process and the city’s website lists and summarizes each very clearly. Continue reading