If Seattle is going to preserve its ‘legacy businesses,’ here are a few ways it might do it

Work continues on a program that might help your favorite neighborhood bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops navigate a changing Seattle.

The Seattle City Council first started developing the program in 2017, when an effort spearheaded by council member Lisa Herbold budgeted $50,000 to study the issue of so-called “legacy businesses.” Council staff produced a study that year of what a legacy business might be, and ways the city might help them remain afloat.

The study defined a legacy business as one that has been open for at least 10 years and is small (10 or fewer employees), independent and serves as a community hub. A hub is considered a retail, restaurant or other environment where people gather. While someplace like the Central District’s Cappy’s Boxing Gym and Earl’s Cuts and Styles, or Capitol Hill’s Wildrose might qualify, something like a law office would not likely make the cut. It did not include nonprofits, since they would face a very different set of challenges. The study found that 1,162 businesses citywide might qualify for the designation using those standards.

This definition was only used for the purposes of the study. Changes would, obviously impact the number of potentially qualifying businesses. For example, if businesses needed to be open for 20 years instead of 10, the number of qualifying businesses would drop to 493.

All of this, however, is purely theoretical, as the city has not yet developed an official definition.

What they have developed is a series of potential ways to help these businesses. Simply handing the businesses money runs afoul of the state constitution, and so is out of the question. In fact, the study reports that there’s no easy way to help. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Historical Society | Rentals to Radiators — UMadBro part 2: Straight from Arthur Denny

In Part 1 we learned about the weird streets of UMadBro where the histories of Union, Madison, and Broadway meet. For Part 2, we’ll trace ownership of the property from the start of Seattle to the fallen building’s construction.

Werett’s Addition was the original name of UMadBro, the triangle formed by Union, Madison and Broadway. It was made from land at the very eastern end of Arthur Denny’s land claim, created at the founding of Seattle in 1852. It was a left over triangle after Madison Street cut through the rectangle.

1856 survey map of Seattle, zoomed to Capitol Hill and the Central District, showing Arthur Denny’s claim and John Nagle’s house

Terry wasn’t even mad: Arthur Denny, William Bell and Carson Boren famously abandoned Charles Terry and the original settlement at Alki point during the winter of 1852.They found land on the east side of Elliott Bay and took side-by-side land claims. Arthur Denny’s claim went from the waterfront east to about today’s 12th Avenue, and south to Cherry Street.

Denny apparently sold some of his land at the far east edge to James Campbell, whose land claim included odds and ends around other claims to the east of Denny.

That part of Campbell’s claim and Denny’s land was sold to George Edes and N.B. Knight, who formed the Edes and Knight Addition in 1870. Their addition left out one rectangular chunk in the northwest corner covering block 1, block 8, and part of block 9. Continue reading