Capitol Hill Business Alliance sets out to grow despite Seattle’s chamber backlash

Christina Arrington (Image: Capitol Hill Alliance)

With reporting by Tim Kukes

In a tumultuous week that brought what many see as a backlash against pro-business politics in Seattle, Capitol Hill’s new de facto chamber was a relatively calm, almost apolitical center of advocacy and information as it set about trying to represent the neighborhood’s small businesses — and grow its ranks.

At a Thursday night forum organized by GSBA and the new Capitol Hill Business Alliance, attendees visited tables at the neighborhood’s Union bar to learn more about “Capitol Hill Streetscapes” with representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Lid I-5, the Melrose Promenade, the Capitol Hill Ecodistrict, and more.

“This community will be as strong as we make it,” the GSBA’s Louise Chernin said in remarks during the gathering. “I just want to tell you, if you need something done you need to call us, whether it is with the city, whether it is with the state, whether it with the county – whatever it is we want to get together, we want to get to know each other, we want to protest something, we want to stop something, we want to make sure something happens –- give us a call.” Continue reading

Power Connect: Capitol Hill Streetscapes

Capitol Hill continues to change at a rapid pace, and it can be hard to keep track of all the projects transforming and improving our neighborhood. From bike lanes to bus rapid transit to streetcar changes to putting a lid on I-5, there are a lot of actions big and small shaping how we live, work, and play in the neighborhood.

Enjoy a drink with your neighbors while you meet and mingle with neighborhood small business owners. Learn what is going on around Capitol Hill’s streets and in front of your business, including representatives for:

Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe will be joining us as a special guest to talk about the big picture of how the city and region are looking at our streetscapes to adapt to our evolving needs in a fast-growing city while also serving those who already live here.

This mixer is open to all.

Free to attend; registration preferred:

Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce to shut down as plans for new effort to represent neighborhood business community takes shape

The chamber’s Stars on Broadway effort honored neighborhood nonprofits with holiday stars on the Capitol Hill Station construction wall

Back in the old days of the mid-2000s, the chamber called this old house (no longer) at 10th and Thomas home (Image: CHS)

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce’s ambitious but thus far unsuccessful effort centered around creating an expanded business organization with the power to assess properties from I-5 to 23rd Ave will end in 2019. The nonprofit organization representing the neighborhood’s business community is suspending operations effective June 2nd, the board announced Thursday.

But a larger organization with a strong track record of effective — and socially progressive — pro-business advocacy is ready to fill the gap.

Louise Chernin, executive director of the Capitol Hill-headquartered Greater Seattle Business Association, tells CHS her organization hopes to step forward to create a new effort under the GSBA wing dedicated to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s a continuation, she says, of work already underway at the GSBA.

“They’ve called us in the last two years because they weren’t getting services,” Chernin said about Capitol Hill shops and restaurants who have been looking for more support in their issues with Seattle City Hall and in Olympia. “I think we’re just going to continue doing what we do but we’ll just be more open about it. We respected the chamber, we wanted them to succeed. We’re hoping this new version, they will succeed.” Continue reading