Weigh in on $10M in upgrades to improve Freeway Park’s connection between First Hill, Capitol Hill, and downtown

(Image: City of Seattle)

With a new initiative underway to add new features to Cal Anderson Park recognizing the power of the occupied protest camp and Black Lives Matter movement of the summer of 2020, another central city park is also in the middle of a public design process to upgrade the important public space.

Freeway Park, a public space connection to downtown through the convention center, is lined up for $10 million in upgrades — minus some consulting and design fees — thanks to the $80 million community benefits package formed to cover the value of public right of way being dedicated to the convention center’s expansion. Continue reading

21-story First Hill ‘Living Building’ up for design review

Seattle’s streamlined design review process seems destined to keep the city’s “stay home” population entertained. There is another comment deadline on a central city project up for administrative review this week.

Today is the final day for comment on the proposed 21-story, super-green “Living Building” apartment tower being planned for the corner of Madison and 9th where the Quarter LoungeGeorge’s Delicatessen, and the former home of Lotus Asian Kitchen stand.

CHS wrote about the project from developers Sustainable Living Innovations and architect CollinsWoerman last in February as it was geared up for a postponed design review. Continue reading

First Hill bank held up by face-masked man

Complete with a COVID-19 crisis appropriate face mask, a man walked into a First Hill bank Monday afternoon, handed over a note demanding cash, and fled from the scene in a full sprint in a noon-hour hold-up.

According to Seattle Police, the suspect in the threatened armed hold-up just before 1 PM was last seen running north on Minor from the Bank of America. Madison was briefly closed to traffic during the police response.

Police say the suspect, described as a black male in his 40s, around 6′, and wearing a light button down shirt over a darker shirt, and with his face covered by a light green mask, walked to a teller window around 12:42 PM and handed over a note demanding cash before fleeing the bank at the corner of Madison and Minor.

A search for the suspect was not immediately successful. The FBI is investigating the heist, SPD says.

Proposal for First Hill mass timber high-rise seeks to reach even higher

An artful rendering of things to come above First Hill (Image: Clark Barnes)

An artful rendering of things to come above First Hill (Image: Clark Barnes)

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic fallout could snuff Seattle’s latest development boom. Or the change might be more complicated and less predictable.

One of the more interesting projects in motion before the crisis is readying to return to the public development process with a plan that has grown in scale despite the uncertainty.

Developer Pryde Development and the architects at Clark Barnes have revised plans for a “mass timber” high-rise planned for First Hill to grow the design to 18 stories — adding six more floors to an already ambitious project.

“The project has elected to proceed with an 18 story, Type IV-A construction type,” the developers write in their updated proposal for the planned development that will replace a one-story 1949-built dental office on Seneca. “The structure will be mass timber, which requires a modular, gridded structural system,” they write. “The wood structure must be fully protected (covered) with gypsum wall board, therefore CLT wood veneer will be used as an interior expression of the wood material.” Continue reading

First Hill’s Harborview Hall to become King County COVID-19 ‘isolation and recovery center’

Saved from the wrecking ball and upgraded and transformed into a home for shelter and homelessness services, 9th Ave’s Harborview Hall will begin a new life this week in the region’s fight against COVID-19.

King County announced Saturday that the facility will be swung into action as a key component in the area’s hopes of getting through the outbreak: an isolation and recovery center for the region’s homeless and under sheltered patients: Continue reading

Months after radiation leak, researchers getting back to work but First Hill building remains closed

A caution sign hangs from the fence surrounding the loading dock of the closed Harborview Research and Training Building on Feb. 19, 2020. On May 2, 2019, 13 people were exposed to radiation while trying to transport an irradiator from the building. (Image: Conor Courtney)

By Conor Courtney, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

The loading dock looks almost normal, sitting in the shade behind the Harborview Research and Training Building.

But there are no lab technicians running back from their lunch break, no one delivering packages, no movement around the 9th Ave building, which has been closed since May 2, 2019 when 13 people were exposed to a radioactive substance while trying to disassemble an irradiator.

The night of the leak in the middle of First Hill, a Department of Energy team working to remove the irradiator from the building accidently cut into a capsule containing a radioactive powder called cesium-137. The radioactive contamination quickly spread around the loading dock, the first three floors and one of the staircases of the Research and Training Building.

The leak forced responders to turn off the HVAC in the building to prevent the spread of the powder and it remained off for multiple days as officials tried to clean up the leak.

Department of Energy deputy director for public affairs Gregory Wolf said the Department of Energy is handling the remediation and cost of the incident, but did not specify when the building would reopen nor the cost of the remediation. Continue reading

$1.74 billion bond measure would bring much needed upgrades, new 10-story tower to Harborview

(Image: UW Medicine)

There are some big decisions to make this election year. In November, King County voters may face a vote on a $1.74 billion bond to renovate and expand Harborview Medical Center.

The hospital, situated on First Hill, is owned by King County, but staffed and operated by the University of Washington. As a publicly owned and operated hospital, Harborview serves many people who need healthcare and would not be able to pay for it including, but not limited to, the area homeless population.

In addition, Harborview serves as the Level 1 trauma center for the states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. It is the disaster preparedness and control hospital for Seattle and King County. In short, if you find yourself there, something very, very bad has likely happened.

The hospital has 413 beds, 40 of which are in single rooms, and 20 of those 40 are reserved for patients in need of psychiatric care. The hospital says that typically, 50 beds in double rooms can’t be used because of infection protocols. According to the King County Executive’s office, it had more than 16,000 admissions last year. All this adds up to a hospital that routinely has more patients than it has places to put them. Continue reading

Olympia leaders to hold 43rd Legislative District Town Hall

The 43rd District’s leaders in Olympia will be in the neighborhood this weekend to discuss updates on the 2020 legislative session.

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, Rep. Frank Chopp, and Rep. Nicole Macri are scheduled to attend Saturday’s 43rd Legislative District Town Hall beginning at 1:30 PM in First Hill’s Seattle First Baptist Church:

43rd Legislative District Town Hall

Continue reading

Design review: First Hill ‘Living Building’ will climb 21 stories and be constructed like LEGO, piece by piece

CollinsWoerman’s designs for 901 Madison

Madison Street’s next contribution to Seattle’s ultra-green Living Building program could be a 21-story apartment tower set to rise in unique fashion on First Hill. The development takes its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

Plans for the 901 Madison project detail a more than 170-unit building — around 45 of those units will be affordable using two housing programs, MFTE and Mandatory Housing Affordability — with new street level retail, and, yes, even though it will be super green, underground parking for 40 vehicles.

Developers Sustainable Living Innovations and architect CollinsWoerman plan to make use of the city’s Living Building incentive program that will allow two additional floors of height in exchange for meeting ecologically friendly building standards. The two floors, by the way, would boost the total units in the building by about 12%

The building is planned to generate 105% of the power it uses through a mixture of wastewater heat recovery (using the heat from hot water that goes down the drain), efficient heat pumps, and solar panels. They are also exploring the idea of using wastewater heat from nearby buildings. Continue reading

‘A medical use’ — First Hill’s Museum of Museums arts venue hits city permitting snag

(Image: MoM Seattle)

As a classic Capitol Hill arts venue returns to service this weekend, a new venue being shaped out the medical office-filled landscape of First Hill won’t make its planned February debut.

The Museum of Museums project set to repurpose an unused Swedish Health Services office building on First Hill at Boylston and Broadway has hit a permitting snag with the city, the project’s backer Greg Lundgren announced earlier this week:

Due to some late in the game zoning issues on our top floor, we have no choice but to postpone our planned February opening. We are working with the city to find a path forward, and expect to resolve this issue soon. We sincerely apologize to the artists of our first exhibits and supporters of MoM, but please know we are doing everything we can to make MoM awesome and open.

Continue reading