The Liberty Bank Building in the Central District
Antonesha Jackson still remembers riding bikes near the three-bedroom Central District apartment she shared with her sisters and mother growing up. From there, it was just a brief trip to her grandparents’ house and an even shorter walk to Garfield High School.
But when she tried to return to the neighborhood after 12 years studying and working in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, finding a place to rent in her now-gentrified neighborhood proved nearly impossible. She looked for an affordable apartment for months.
Until acquaintances told her about a then-new affordable housing development right here in her neighborhood: Liberty Bank Building, an equitable development project led by Capitol Hill Housing and Africatown. She moved in this March, finally returning to the area she’d grown up in and now operated a fashion boutique out of.
“A lot of the people that live in my building, I have seen around growing up. [They] are from this community,” Jackson said. “It’s beautiful to me.” Continue reading
Inside Saba (Image: Saba Ethiopian Cuisine)
Though the building it calls home won’t be demolished for months, 12th Ave’s Saba is being shown the door after a King County Superior Court judge upheld an unlawful detainer case against the Ethiopian restaurant whose fight against displacement has been championed by District 3 rep Kshama Sawant.
“We technically have a month left. But the judge read the lease differently,” Saba Teklegiorgis tells CHS. She says her mother’s restaurant has been in an unfair fight with the management company brought in to help push the tenant out by the property’s owners. Tactics, she says, have included claiming Saba had failed to pay its rent even though the restaurant found another way to make sure the landlord got its check.
“If they are within the law, I don’t know why they keep doing dirty things,” she said. Continue reading
As the Seattle City Council moves toward a vote later this month to finalize the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan, legislation to buttress the program with extra protections against displacement in Seattle’s most vulnerable neighborhoods will begin moving forward Wednesday at City Hall.
Sponsored by West Seattle rep Lisa Herbold, the anti-displacement legislation will be taken up by the council’s Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee. Despite the Capitol Hill and Central District area’s high potential for displacement from continued redevelopment, Central Seattle’s many resources including jobs, high performing schools, and robust levels of transit would disqualify it from the proposed legislation’s protections. Continue reading
District 3 representative Kshama Sawant Thursday rallied with supporters and residents of the Central District’s Chateau Apartments, a 21-unit Section 8 subsidized building purchased by a Seattle developer two years ago and slated to be replaced by a new microhousing project with 73 “small efficiency dwelling units.”
“The story of the Chateau Apartments is the story of Seattle and indeed every metropolitan region around the United States where we see sky high rent driving out working class people, low income seniors, community members who belonged to the immigrant community, the LGBTQ community, the disabled community,” Sawant said Thursday at the press conference in front of the neighborhood’s Good Neighbor Cafe. “And we are seeing Seattle increasingly becoming a playground for the rich.”
Sawant, who told the crowd she lives near the area of the apartments, called on developers Cadence Real Estate to “ensure that every Chateau resident can continue to live in affordable and accessible homes in their neighborhood” and urged the company to meet with the residents as part of a Seattle City Council meeting next month.
In a statement sent to CHS and media Thursday, Cadence did not take Sawant up on her offer but said development of the property would not begin for “three to five” years. Continue reading
The “What’s Gentrification Got To Do With It?: Hate and Violence in Capitol Hill” forum covered “hate, violence, policing and gentrification occurring in Capitol Hill.”
At 12th Avenue Arts Thursday night, the Northwest Network Pink Shield Project hosted a panel discussion on hate violence, policing, and gentrification in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Much of the conversation revolved around the connection between these three topics, including how greater inequality in recent years in Seattle has created a situation that breeds hate violence, whether it be against people of color or the LGBTQIA+ population.
“You have wealth to a certain community increasing, inequality expanding, poverty worsening, homelessness skyrocketing,” Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, a panelist, said. “At the same time, you will see correlated with that, increase in violence, crimes, car break-ins, and house break-ins.” Continue reading
The Central District’s Midtown Center got a new paint job over the weekend as hundreds of volunteers came together, brushes and rollers in hand, to paint a massive mural to demonstrate what the neighborhood could look like before the property is redeveloped in 2019.
“What we’re doing is trying to make a statement in the last few months of this property, to talk about history and the potential future of the neighborhood,” said Sara Zewde, a past Africatown board member. “The future redevelopment retail should incubate small, black-owned businesses from this neighborhood and we’re going to demonstrate the potential for that in this market space.” Continue reading
Sara Galvin (Images: CHS)
Community thought leaders, activists and performers are organizing events around the city as part of Town Hall’s a year-long artists in residence event series. Designer Erik Molano brought together passionate activists for an ambitious undertaking with his first event, Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next. Before an audience at the Summit on E Pike last week they explored the challenge of maintaining the heritage of a community through growth and development.
“A lot of these buildings are being erased and with them the memories and people who inhabited them or gathered in and expressed themselves in those buildings,” said Molano, co-founder of brand agency Photon Factory. For Molano, who moved to Seattle five years ago to work at Microsoft, the demolition of old buildings “is a loss of history.”
Following individual poetry readings and a presentation from Capitol Hill Housing at the Summit on Pike, a group of community advocates responded to prompts from Molano in an effort to determine what preserving heritage in a developing city means. The group spoke on a wide range of intersectional issues related to the affordable housing crisis. Continue reading