Cafe to become Love + Flour as Essential Bakery exits Madison Valley

(Image: CHS)

The dreaded paper sign in the window has gone up at the Essential Bakery Cafe in Madison Valley but in this case, the message is not about a closure on E Madison.

Or, at least, it won’t be a long one.

The Seattle baking company has sold its cafe to a new owner who is ready to keep the comfortable hangout full of soups and sandwiches, baked treats, and fresh Essential bread.

“We’re just looking to keep our little family here,” Jenny Finau told CHS Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

Selector Records adds new stop on Hill-proximate vinyl tour

(Image: Audrey Frigon for CHS)

(Image: Audrey Frigon for CHS)

By Audrey Frigon, CHS Fall Intern

In the digital age of music streaming, vinyl records just won’t die. With record sales reaching their highest revenue level since 1988, Capitol Hill and the nearby have sustained a few shops that have survived long enough to cash in on the resurgence. And sometimes, something new comes along.

Selector Records and Apparel opened earlier this month off the beaten track on E Madison.

After eleven years DJing in Hawaii, Seattle native Sherman Crawford moved back home with the goal of opening a record store business. “I always had a dream of having a record store and that opportunity fell into my lap with this building,” he said. This building, located on 23rd and Madison, previously housed Looters Records. Crawford stumbled upon the store and moved in upstairs. When the record store closed, Crawford took over.

A music lover his whole life, Crawford first began collecting records and cassettes when he was eight years old. But the real beginning of his music addiction came in 1992 when he attended a rave and discovered the world of underground techno and dance music. “I was enthralled by the energy of the music and became obsessed,” Crawford said. As his fascination and love of the music grew, so did his record collection.

That music became the inspiration for his store. “When I came back from Hawaii I saw a void. There were no other stores focusing on underground techno music, especially new releases, and I wanted to fill that void,” said Crawford. Continue reading

Still no winners in Madison Valley PCC mixed-use battle

Seattle YIMBYs are still basking in the fuzzy afterglow of victory in the expansion of the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan and upzoning in its densest neighborhoods. But there is one District 3 front in the city’s war over development where neither side is ready to declare a winner even though it seems the battles could finally be over.

In late February, the Seattle Hearing Examiner ruled in favor of developer Velmeir Companies that its plans for a six-story, mixed-use apartment building, anchored by a new PCC grocery store in the heart of Madison Valley were in line with the State Environmental Policy Act. Community group Save Madison Valley had asked the examiner to reverse design review approval and the city’s determination on the project’s environmental impact and require the development to undergo new rounds of costly, time consuming review,

But officials at Velmeir aren’t ready to celebrate a groundbreaking. Continue reading

‘Single family home neighborhood’ — the Madison Valley PCC mixed-use battle

An $85 filing fee — and lots of billable hours — is holding up a Madison Valley mixed-use apartments and PCC grocery project but the long, drawn out Seattle process to develop the property might finally be set to move forward.

Conflict between a community group attempting to use the State Environmental Policy Act as a defensive blanket and developer Velmeir Companies will come to a head by December as the city’s Hearing Examiner is slated to make a decision on an appeal against the project.

Save Madison Valley, a group aimed at maintaining the area as a “single family home neighborhood,” has been working, it says, to ensure that Velmeir commits to mitigating the environmental impacts of its 82-unit, mixed-use six-story development at 2925 E Madison.

The project passed through the first stage of the design review process finally in January 2017 after a relatively rare three sessions in front of the board. The design from Meng Strazzara was fully signed off on last September — but the project isn’t yet close to breaking ground.

Save Madison Valley is asking the Hearing Examiner to reverse the design review decision and the city’s determination on the project’s environmental impact and require the development to undergo new rounds of costly, time consuming review. It’s a strategy cut from similar cloth to the legal fight holding up Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program that has cost the city plenty in legal fees — and maybe 717 affordable apartment units.

But Velmeir may not have to wait for December to move forward. Continue reading

Speaking of Seattle transit bumps, officials sorting Madison Bus Rapid Transit trolley problem

While we’re taking a spin as the Capitol Hill Transit Blog, the area’s next big transit investment is facing a major barrier to acquiring its much needed $60 million federal grant. It’s not Donald Trump. And it’s not this E Madison gay bar.

The Seattle Transit Blog broke the news last week — the Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro have been sideswiped by a collision of international trade barriers, the unique design of Madison “Bus Rapid Transit,” and the corridor’s challenging grade and are scrambling to find a bus design capable of meeting the $120 million project’s needs and plans for electric trolley coaches:

Continue reading

Worker dies after forklift flips at Madison Valley construction site — UPDATE

A worker at a construction site died Monday morning, apparently crushed when a forklift unloading materials from a waiting truck flipped on the sloping pavement of E John at 26th.

Seattle Fire and police flooded the area around 26th and John around 10:45 AM for a heavy rescue response but the worker died at the scene. Continue reading

Developer ready to build higher if fight over Madison Valley PCC project drags on

Wednesday, activists are planning to protest outside the opening of New Seasons in Ballard to bring attention, they say, to the private equity investment firm-owned grocery chain’s anti-labor, anti-union activities. In Madison Valley, another grocery chain is facing pushback but the circumstances are much different. A land development deal to build a six-story, mixed-use apartment building, anchored by a new PCC grocery store in the heart of Madison Valley is about to close but opposition from a neighborhood group, if successful, could stop construction from breaking ground any time soon.

Community group Save Madison Valley has opposed the scale of the project since Velmeir Companies agreed to purchased the property currently home to City People’s in 2016. Velmeir expects to receive final approval from the city in the next few weeks to begin work where the garden store currently resides. But a Save Madison Valley appeal could gum up the “master use permit” process.

“The area is ripe for development, but it’s been a development on steroids,” said Melissa Stoker, SMV spokesperson. Continue reading

After big hopes for Capitol Hill, chef makes smaller plans work in Madison Valley at Petite Galerie

After a quest to crowdfund a new gourmet restaurant on Capitol Hill didn’t pan out, the right hand man of one of Seattle’s kitchen legends decided to stick to his home turf to open one of the more creative additions to Seattle fine dining to open in the city this year.

Chef Rob Sevcik has opened Petite Galerie in Madison Valley, putting a former chocolate shop to work as “a ‘studio’ where he and his staff could spend their days creating new dishes and working with ingredients to explore taste, texture and food.” Continue reading

Addo incubator pops up at 23rd/Madison with everything from Richard’s Burger to Japanese brunch

There’s no existing model for the wide range of culinary experiences Eric Rivera is cooking up at his private dining venue Addo in the former of Crush on 23rd and Madison. He’s making it up as he goes along, and a glance at Addo’s upcoming meal calendar reveals Rivera’s freewheeling, globetrotting approach to pop-up dining: a seven-course family-style seafood dinner ($65), a traditional Japanese brunch ($35), a gourmet homage to Dick’s Drive-In called the “Richard Burger” ($17, includes fries and special sauce). To accurately describe what Rivera is up to, one must resort to the terminology of the tech industry: It’s an incubator, a beta testing laboratory, a gastronomic version of Netflix.

“I’m always trying to work 60 to 90 days out, plugging in awesome ideas that I think will sell—and then some weird ones,” he says, “When I run out of ideas or get stuck with ‘writers block,’ that’s when I reach out to people to collaborate.” Continue reading

Prosecutors file charges in East Precinct gunpoint rape and robbery case

Prosecutors are charging 24-year-old Timothy D. Harris, Jr. with one count of first degree rape and another of first degree robbery after a woman was sexually assaulted at gunpoint in her home and her car was ditched near Madison Valley in a December 17th attack police say was set in motion when the two met earlier in the month and exchanged phone numbers.

CHS reported on details of the Sunday, December 17th attack here. Police say they were able to use Harris’s phone number to track him to the downtown shelter where he was a resident. According to court documents filed before the Christmas holiday, prosecutors say Harris has a limited criminal history and was new to the Seattle area: Continue reading