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

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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.

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No deal as Swedish strike and lockouts end

Swedish Medical Center says it is welcoming back nearly 8,000 nurses and caregivers after a planned three-day strike ended Friday. Many striking workers were locked out over the weekend as temporary workers finished up five-day contracts to replace them.

There’s no word yet of any future walkouts with nurses and caregivers fighting for a new, better contract with the nonprofit Seattle-area health provider.

The strike hit Seattle campuses including First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah where Swedish use thousands of temporary workers to continue its services. Continue reading

Where and when it will be cheaper to park on Capitol Hill in 2020 (and where the appetite for parking is apparently insatiable no matter how expensive it gets)

2020 mornings will bring cheaper paid parking to most of Capitol Hill’s streets — the nightlife crush means prices are rising. Seattle announced its annual adjustments Friday to be rolled out in its regular rebalancing of pricing for the city’s paid parking based on demand studies over the past year.

“Our goal is to make it efficient and accessible for people who need to drive to find a parking space,” SDOT says in its announcement and explainer of the 2020 adjustments. “This reduces how much time drivers spend circling for parking, which provides other important benefits” —

  • Improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists – drivers circling for parking are often distracted
  • Reduces congestion – drivers circling for parking contribute to congestion
  • Improves transit efficiency – less congestion and fewer cars stopping in the bus lane means our public transit is more reliable
  • Decreases greenhouse gas emissions – less circling means fewer emissions

Simplified, SDOT says its goal is to price so that “two parking spaces are available on each block throughout the day.”

It’s not clear how high prices would have to rise across SDOT’s Capitol Hill paid parking regions to hit that “two space” goal at night were capacity is also measured at hitting greater than 100% thanks to creative — and illegal — parking strategies some nightlife visitors deploy. Prices will hit from $4 to $4.50 across most of Capitol Hill at night. Continue reading

Striking Swedish Medical Center nurses and caregivers will march from First Hill

(Image: @SEIU1199NW)

A Wednesday afternoon march will mark the midway of a planned three-day strike as nearly 8,000 Swedish Medical Center nurses and caregivers are fighting for a new, better contract with the nonprofit Seattle-area health provider.

The strike is hitting Seattle campuses including First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah where Swedish says it planned to use thousands of temporary workers to continue its services.

Emergency rooms in Ballard and Redmond have been closed during the strike which is slated to end Friday morning. Organizers claim Swedish management has threatened to lock striking workers out through the weekend.
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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

Seattle announces $110M for new affordable projects including five in District 3

Bellwether Housing and Plymouth Housing Group’s First Hill development could end up the tallest affordable housing building Seattle has ever seen (Image: Weber Thompson)

Seattle has announced its largest ever annual round of city funding for affordable housing with $110 million going to help start 13 projects across the city including five new buildings across Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the Central District that will create nearly 800 affordable units in the area.

“Seattle is committed to investing in housing and services that help advance our shared priorities of equity and inclusion,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in her announcement of the annual funding roster powered by the 2016 housing levy. “With investments in both permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, affordable housing for seniors, and housing for working families, we are addressing our affordability crisis.”

The millions in city funding are part of the recipe required for nonprofit developers to piece together the dollars required to create new affordable projects in the city like the Capitol Hill Housing-backed Station House that will begin its leasing process in January for 110 new affordable units above Capitol Hill Station. With units reserved for those meeting affordable housing income thresholds and rents likely some 30% or more below area averages, demand will reach thousands of prospective tenants.

The 2019 roster of investments announced Monday will also include two Capitol Hill Housing-involved projects. Continue reading

Inside Harborview Hall’s new ‘enhanced’ homeless shelter: a warm place to sleep, pets, laundry, and help around the clock

Harborview Hall’s overnight shelter now offers more than a stay in a warm place to sleep. There is now room for loyal companions, new showers and bathrooms, a place to do your laundry, and counselors are there to help people find a path off the streets. And, most importantly, the new “enhanced” shelter is now open around the clock, seven days a week to be ready for the people who require a stay when they need it most.

“For our homeless neighbors at Harborview Hall, the 24/7 facility will be their home-base as they work to improve their situation,” said Bill Dickinson of The Salvation Army in the Northwest. “They can visit the shelter throughout the day as needed – from hygiene necessities of showers and laundry, to meeting with caseworkers for guidance in transitioning to independent housing.”

Powered by a $2.2 million King County contract, the Salvation Army runs the show at the First Hill facility, using a bed reservation and referral system to fill the beds. In collaboration with neighboring Harborview Medical Center, the Salvation Army holds five beds open each night for patients who are receiving assistance from the hospital and need a shelter bed overnight. Continue reading

First Hill art museum’s Café Frieda a small part of the Trump impeachment hearings story

(Image: Jill Hardy/Frye Art Museum)

As the characters are formed and the terrible drama of the Trump impeachment hearings plays out, there is a small corner of First Hill that we might think of quite a bit differently after Wednesday’s witness is sworn in and begins his testimony.

Before she died in 2016, it is said Frieda Sondland visited First Hill’s Frye Museum — only blocks from her home for more than a decade in The Summit building — nearly every day. That love was memorialized in a special gift.

Café Frieda is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 AM to 4:30 PM — 6:30 PM on Thursdays when the weekly happy hour starts at 3 PM. You can “relax and enjoy your lunch or dinner with a side of art” and “spend some time in our bright and open environment during your workday or take advantage of Seattle’s sunny months in the courtyard” when you visit the Terry Ave museum.

Café Frieda was made possible, of course, by a generous gift from the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Family Foundation. Continue reading