Plan for new City Market building: eight stories, mass timber, and a new home for the longtime Capitol Hill grocery — UPDATE

A rendering of the preferred design showing the proposed basic layout of the development (Image: Ennead Architects)

Plans spawned pre-pandemic for a mixed-use development to replace — and create a new home for — Capitol Hill’s City Market along with eight stories of new apartment and retail space just off E Olive Way will move forward Wednesday night with the “mass timber” project’s first pass through the Seattle design review process.

The review will be a test for Juno Residential, a San Francisco real estate startup launched only last summer with Apple and Tesla pedigree that is seeking to change the residential development market with mass production and pre-fabrication techniques. New York’s Ennead Architects is designing the project while Capitol Hill’s Board & Vellum has provided the landscape plan.

UPDATE 4/1/2021: Wednesday night, the review board agreed the project is ready to move forward in the city’s development permitting process. It will move on to its second and possible final review in coming months.

CHS first reported on the Bellevue Ave and E Olive Way development plans from local firm Barrientos Ryan for the property and early promises that City Market would remain in the mix in the fall of 2019.

Juno’s just revealed plans propose an eight-story, 102-unit timber apartment building with 6,200-square-feet of ground floor retail including a new home for City Market. Parking for two vehicles — presumably for City Market’s needs — is included in the proposal. Continue reading

911 | Capitol Hill park encampment fire, Sunday night gunfire, and a dog-cat-knife brawl on Broadway

Thanks to CHS readers for pictures and reports from the scene

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS 911 coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • Williams Place encampment fire: Seattle Police and Seattle Fire were called to the encampment in Williams Place Park Sunday afternoon after an explosion and a fire damaged tents and belongings but caused no reported significant injuries. Officers and firefighters were called to the park at 15th and John just before 2 PM to a report of an explosion and fire burning the public space. Officers arrived to find one tent fully engulfed and a second scorched by the blaze. Police say the tent owner was not present at the time of the incident and witnesses said the fire appeared to be an accident and reported no suspicious activity at the encampment. SPD says it couldn’t be determined what caused the fire and explosion but officers reported numerous flammable items including fuel canisters in the park. “Several encampments were entirely destroyed,” advocacy group Be:Seattle  reports. “The people living there lost their shelter and all of their belongings.” You can learn more about how to donate items to help here. Continue reading

Checking in: 20 years of Pretty Parlor on Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

Banana and crew (Image: CHS)

By Gabrielle Locke

While we’re thinking about Capitol Hill fashion and beauty that may end up being nothing more than plans due to the COVID-19 crisis, one neighborhood center of fashion, beauty, and more is doing everything it can to hang on through the pandemic and celebrate its 20th anniversary in style.

When COVID-19 first hit, Pretty Parlor owner Anna Banana turned to doorstep delivery to local customers, focused on her Etsy shop, and created an e-commerce store attached to her website — graceful but major shifts for a business that has been in motion since the turn of the millenium.

“In the beginning, I would do doorstep delivery and sometimes, if I knew the customer well, I’d pick them up a Dicks burger and friends, because why not!” Banana says of the early pandemic delivery effort. Continue reading

From market rate to affordable, Low Income Housing Institute buying brand new Capitol Hill apartment building

(Image: LIHI)

A newly constructed Capitol Hill apartment building destined to become part of the neighborhood’s market rate housing will instead be used for affordable housing.

With a mix of public financing, Low Income Housing Institute says it is buying the newly constructed, seven story, 76-unit apartment development in the 600 block of E Howell. LIHI announced the Clay Apartments deal late last year but the Seattle Times reported on the transition of the “building planned for upscale market-rate rentals into affordable housing for people who are currently homeless” this week. Continue reading

2020’s year of pandemic saw record-breaking weed sales across state but a changing Capitol Hill and Central District market

502Data’s record of monthly state excise tax shows the 2020 boom

By Ben Adlin

Washington’s legal cannabis industry kept on booming even as “puff, puff, pass” was put on hold during the pandemic, breaking monthly sales records multiple times in 2020 and raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes. Growth was more modest in the city of Seattle, however, and slower still around Capitol Hill—a sign that many who once commuted into the city may be buying weed closer to home.

While the six shops that serve the Capitol Hill neighborhood—The Reef, Ruckus, Ponder and three Uncle Ike’s locations—together did more combined business in 2020 than the year before, according to state sales numbers through November, only The Reef kept pace with regional growth. Ponder and Ruckus each had smaller increases, while two of three Uncle Ike’s locations actually saw sales drop.

“This really does look like an outmigration,” said Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the state’s cannabis market at Straight Line Analytics. “That suggests to me that business overall is shifting to different parts of the state.” Continue reading

Pot in Seattle is too white: Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force shaping plan to create new opportunities in state’s retail marijuana industry

Owner Ian Eisenberg watches a 2016 protest targeting his Uncle Ike’s pot shop at 23rd and Union

By Melissa Santos /

A plan to bring social equity to the state’s mostly white marijuana industry was delayed by COVID-19. Now, things are inching forward.

Even before this year’s Black Lives Matter protests, Washington state’s legal cannabis industry had a well-known problem with race.

About 4% of the state’s population is Black. But Black people have a majority stake in only 1% of Washington businesses that grow and process marijuana, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, while roughly 3% of retail cannabis shops are majority Black owned. Some remain skeptical of those figures and say the picture is actually worse.

So, when former basketball star Shawn Kemp opened a shop that was initially billed as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary, headlines followed.

Except Kemp’s store didn’t do anything to budge those statewide numbers. In fact, he owns only 5% of the store that bears his name — and the business is actually majority white owned. The communications firm that originally promoted the store as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary later said it shouldn’t have done so.

For many, the dustup once again highlighted the lack of diversity in the state’s legal pot industry and the need to fix it. Continue reading

Police investigate after suspect shoots up Summit Ave apartment building

Police are investigating after a man opened fire into a Summit Ave apartment building early Tuesday morning. There were no injuries.

According to the Seattle Police report on the incident, police were called to the Summit Ave building above E Olive Way after reports of gunfire around 1:30 AM. Continue reading

Below The Reef, La Rue Creperie and Espresso adds a new Capitol Hill counter on E Olive Way

La Rue’s Basic Bitch features organic pumpkin butter with a spiced cookie crumble (Image: La Rue)

The challenging times of COVID-19 bring the occasional small joys including new reasons to celebrate Capitol Hill’s great walk-ups. The newest addition to the Hill’s counter scene is on E Olive Way beneath The Reef pot shop where La Rue Creperie and Espresso is now serving the neighborhood every Wednesday through Sunday.

“I was working my way just to be a sous chef,” owner Alex Villa tells CHS, “but this opportunity kind of leveled me up.”

Villa says he came up with the idea for La Rue after learning about The Reef’s search for a chef to put its lower level space along E Olive Way into motion with a new concept. Taylor Cheney, who opened E Olive Way walk-up spot Yalla last year hooked Villa up with Reef owner Adam Simon who liked his pitch and was open to taking a chance on the first-time business owner inspired by his work and knowledge gained during travel in Europe. Villa says the fact that he lives next door probably also helped sell Simon on the idea. Continue reading

Three arrests as protest marches on Capitol Hill for ‘essential workers’

Protests in the street on E Olive Way (Image: SDOT)

A Black Lives Matter march for essential workers part of “Black Friday” protests across Seattle ended with arrests Friday night at Denny and E Olive Way on Capitol Hill.

A group marching through the neighborhood was reported blocking traffic and had been given dispersal orders, Seattle Police said. Continue reading

A frequent target during Capitol Hill protests, E Olive Way Starbucks reopening

Downtown and Capitol Hill locations of the Starbucks chain are reopening after weeks of closures amid bouts of regular property damage from protest groups targeting the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A call to the E Olive Way location confirmed that the store is open again on a limited schedule after what the manager said was a five-week closure. For now, it is open only on weekdays but weekend hours are planned to be restored after November 30th. For now, the shop is also takeout and delivery only.

Most questions about the closures needed to be answered by Starbucks media relations, the manager told CHS. The company has not replied to multiple inquiries from CHS in recent weeks.

The company has said it is also making changes to its locations to add better spaces for mobile ordering and pickup “due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience.” The E Olive shop was closed for weeks late this summer for an overhaul following that announcement.

Continue reading