Forum to discuss ‘truth about changes in the Central District’

An event Saturday morning seeks to give people an opportunity to “share your truth about changes in the Central District” —

City of Seattle department directors want to hear directly from you. Share your stories on how the African-American community has been impacted by the drastic changes in the Central District and how the loss of community and culture has affected your life.

The Impact 2020: Central District Community Conversation takes place Saturday at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute on 17th Ave S in an event hosted by the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Northwest African American Museum, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Impact 2020: Central District Community Conversation

The event comes amid continued redevelopment of Central District and with the Black population falling below 20% in the neighborhood. 50 years ago, more than 70% of the area’s population was Black.

Capitol Hill Housing planning mass timber apartment building on E Union

An early concept for the planned mass timber project (Image: Atelier Jones)

For years, prime real estate neighboring the brick Helen V apartment building on Union has hosted a surface parking lot used by a few local residents and Capitol Hill Housing vehicles.

On its face, a new eight-story, affordable project set to rise there doesn’t seem much different than the many sprouting on Capitol Hill but there is one major difference. The new building will have a mass timber structural system, which Atelier Jones principal architect Susan Jones says allows for more density. She said that the shift to timber away from concrete or steel made a 114-unit goal for the affordable project possible. Standard construction would have produced only 88.

Mass timber buildings like these are a trend in the Pacific Northwest, Jones says. Continue reading

Central District’s Midtown Square will feature massive ‘external art’ — These eight artists will create the works

The public process to approve the design of the Midtown Square development was stuck until developers incorporated a plan for large installations of art panels hoped to help the project better reflect the culture and the history of the Central District. With the old strip mall torn down and the construction underway at 23rd and Union, details of the artists who will create those works have been announced.

A panel representing “several Central District based organizations and African American artists,” has selected eight artists for “a commitment of more than $225,000 in dedicated local artwork for the new project,” developer Lake Union Partners announced this week. Continue reading

Developer behind 23rd Ave church land buy and mixed-use project says ‘contending gentrification in Seattle’s Central District’

Jaebadiah Gardner

Gardner Global and its Onpoint real estate firm have announced more details of the 23rd Ave church property purchase and development plans CHS reported on earlier this month.

“We have an unbelievable opportunity to be creative in a way that gives back,” Jaebadiah Gardner, CEO of Gardner Global said in the company’s announcement of the project. “Our company slogan is #letsbuildwealth and this project is an example of how we are doing exactly that. Through this project. we’re providing non- traditional real estate investors an opportunity to be directly involved in the ownership.” Continue reading

Design review: First Hill’s The Victor set to rise — in deference — next to First Baptist Church

There is a chance Wednesday night’s session of the East Design Review Board will be postponed due to wintry weather. If so, you’ll be prepared early for a January 29th session reviewing on The Victor, a planned eight-story, 227-unit apartment building on First Hill.

If not, read up quick and settle in for what could be the project’s final step in the public design process.

CHS reported last May on the early plans for the project from developer Carmel Partners and Encore Architects and their “church-friendly” midrise design in a zone that could have featured an apartment tower. Instead, the new development planned for 1100 Boylston will replace a surface parking lot with lots of new First Hill housing but even more deference for the neighboring First Baptist Church. Continue reading

Six-story development planned for 23rd Ave church property

There is more change coming to 23rd and Union with another Black church a step closer to its exit from the neighborhood so its land can be developed. A developer “dedicated to partnership and community growth” is making early plans for a new mixed-use project on 23rd Ave on Mount Calvary Christian Center’s properties across the street from its house of worship.

Early filings with the city for The Calvary Apartments 23Calvary project from Seattle-based developer Gardner Global show a six-story building rising across the church’s three parcels at 23rd and E Pike. The church’s teen center structure would be demolished.

The new plans come after Mount Calvary last spring put its third of an acre property home to its house of worship and a surface parking lot on the market for $4.5 million in a listing boasting a “rare opportunity for land in the Central District commercial corridor.” Continue reading

With R3BAR Training, the Knights of Columbus court is back in action

Michael Knight of R3BAR

Most people don’t know this, but there’s a basketball court on the corner of Harvard and Union.

The court — one of many secrets inside the old Knights of Columbus building — is being put back into motion even as a major redevelopment planned to overhaul the landmark-worthy building and surround it with new apartments looms.

While the building is slated for a massive overhaul including construction of the two new apartment buildings on either side, R3BAR, an athletic training company, has been quietly moving in since last August, taking over the old basketball court and adjoining rooms.

Entering through a key-coded door, trainers and trainees walk through a short hall that opens out to wide space overlooking a maple wood basketball court on the floor below. Continue reading

Seattle marks Mandatory Housing Affordability victory in challenge from anti-growth groups

A legal effort led by the Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity and a bevy of anti-growth neighborhood groups to upend Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan focusing increased development mostly in its already densest neighborhoods has been rejected by a state growth board.

The City of Seattle announced the victory Monday following its successful appeal to the Growth Management Hearings Board.

“Seattle has spoken and made clear our vision for the future of our city,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement on the decision. “We want a city where people who work in Seattle can afford to live and raise a family in Seattle. Mandatory Housing Affordability is one of the most important strategies we have to build a more affordable and equitable future for all.” Continue reading

Broadway’s 114-year-old Capitol Crest moves forward in landmarks process

The Seattle landmarks board this week sent a Broadway building home to a longtime neighborhood favorite restaurant to the next step in the process to afford the 1905-built building protections on its historic exterior.

In a 6-2 vote, the board opted to consider the nomination of Broadway’s Capitol Crest building, also once known as the Avon Apartments, and today home to Annapurna and Albacha restaurants, the Ace Barber Shop, as well as 14 apartment units above, that is set to be demolished to make way for a planned mixed-use project from Champion Development. Continue reading

Despite tough 2019, WeWork Capitol Hill will be open for the first Monday of 2020

(Images: CHS)

The first full work week of 2020 will include new offices kicking into motion for the first time above the streets of Pike/Pine in a project many thought would never survive WeWork’s tumultuous 2019.

WeWork Capitol Hill is set to officially debut as the company’s newest Seattle facility Monday, January 6th officials confirmed with CHS this week.

The opening will continue a string of activity for WeWork in the area. Its Ballard location — a more modest, two-floor affair above a development that also added a Target to the neighborhood, opened last week.

As the fast-rising and now cost-cutting office real estate and coworking company is reportedly searching for solutions to remove itself from hundreds of leases around the country, its ambitious new 11th Ave facility will come online after months of delays and in a limited fashion that will leave much of the five-story building it and its customers will call home empty and still under construction, and without its key central tenant — Microsoft.

The major cause for the delay and softer than hoped launch on Capitol Hill won’t be WeWork’s dramas documented in Vanity Fair.

WeWork has run into something much more brutal than the cutthroat world of startups and pre-IPO valuations — the City of Seattle’s permit desk. Continue reading