A super green ATM on Capitol Hill? Zero waste Bullitt Center adds Beneficial State Bank

Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center — the greenest office building in the world — now has a bank. In a bid to focus a real world financial center on digital banking and hopefully cut down on waste in the process, Beneficial State Bank says its new location is cashless, except for the ATMs.

“When our Washington branch first opened in a trailer in Ilwaco, we couldn’t have imagined that one day we’d bank from the world’s most sustainable building,” CEO Randell Leach said in the announcement of the new financial center. “It’s the result of a decade of proactive investments in environmental sustainability and climate justice coming to fruition.”

Beneficial says the bank “will help its customers do their banking electronically without relying on paper transactions.” Continue reading

City Council to vote on new $135M price tag for Madison Bus Rapid Transit project

The Seattle City Council Monday afternoon will vote on approving the new, higher budget for the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project.

In August, CHS reported on the upward revisions in local spending on the project needed to meet recommendations as the city vies for a $60 million federal grant.

The new total price tag on the project pencils out to $134 million, up from an originally approved $121 million. Continue reading

Environmental media nonprofit Grist joins the mix at Capitol Hill’s super green Bullitt Center

It’s a natural pairing. Seattle-based Grist, the Seattle-born media nonprofit that has been dedicated to environmental news, commentary, and ideas since 1999, is joining the Bullitt Center, 15th and Madison’s “living” office building.

Even as COVID-19 has changed the way we work, the environmental nonprofit say it still wants a central core where its staff of around 20 can collaborate.

“Grist employs staff all around the country, so we have been well equipped to effectively transition to remote work here in Seattle, too,” a statement sent to CHS about the planned Bullitt office reads. “We foresee using the Bullitt Center space for staff to engage in collaborative work and not necessarily use the office as an everyday destination, though, we might get back to that given a change in the current circumstances.” Continue reading

‘Due to challenges presented by Covid-19,’ Intrigue closes Capitol Hill coffeehouse

(Image: Intrigue Coffeehouse)

15th and Madison’s Pioneer Square import, Intrigue Coffeehouse is the latest COVID-19 closure casualty on Capitol Hill.

Intrigue announced the permanent closure to customers last week:

It is with a heavy heart we must inform you that the Intrigue Chocolate Coffeehouse, due to challenges presented by Covid-19, is now permanently closed. The official statement is released and negotiations with the landlord have concluded. Soon we’ll be moving out! Thank you to the whole Capitol Hill community for just over 3 incredible years, from dream to completion.

In a complete and interesting post about the decision, owners Aaron Barthel and Karl Mueller describe how the 15th Ave coffee expansion for the confection business changed the company and the way it made its key element — its chocolate: Continue reading

RapidRide G bus project on Madison: City says good news on federal funding and new plan for 2024 start of service

The City of Seattle says changes to its plans to build the 2.3-mile, 10-station Madison Bus Rapid Transit route have passed a key assessment and the project is now in line for tens of millions in federal funding.

The Federal Transit Authority is now moving the planned RapidRide G project forward in its Small Starts Grant program after a previous federal assessment found the Seattle plan lacked adequate contingencies for budget and schedule.

The revised RapidRide G plan could cost as much as $133 million to complete and won’t begin service until 2024 thanks to a now longer 36-month-long construction plan, Seattle Department of Transportation officials said Wednesday.

“I am thrilled that the critical Madison Bus Rapid Transit project is moving past this critical milestone. While Seattle builds the best transit and transportation infrastructure in the country, support from our federal partners has become even more critical,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in an announcement on the $60 million federal grant process. “As we deal with the effects of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to invest in a transportation system that gets our frontline workers, historically underserved communities and communities of color where they need to go quickly and reliably.” Continue reading

As Tigerly Ox heads north, new shave ice spot Kakigori Dessert Cafe moves in on E Madison

Image: Kakigori Dessert Cafe

A new dessert spot has moved into Vietnamese eatery Tigerly Ox’s former home bordering Capitol Hill and the Central District at 22nd and E Madison.

Kakigori Dessert Cafe is now open and bringing Thai, Japanese and Korean fusion to E Madison with uniquely flavored sweet toasts and milk-based shave ice — like bestseller mango and sticky rice bingsu.

Owner Day Anujornrapan, who also runs Thai fusion restaurant Thai by Day in Edmonds with his family, saw the E Madison location as ideal for rolling out Kakigori’s creative dessert menu and says the pandemic heightened motivation to get the business up and running.

“I think life is too short and if you have a passion, do it — just follow your passion there,” he said. “That’s why I decided okay, this is my passion, I want to do it. I want to create a happiness to people.” Continue reading

More broken glass on eve of Seattle police budget cuts vote — UPDATE

(Image: SPD)

Monday afternoon, the Seattle City Council is set to vote on a major budget overhaul that will brings layoffs for Seattle Police and, advocates say, begin the process of more radically changing the way the city funds the department and social services.

Sunday night brought hundreds of people to the streets of Capitol Hill marching for the Black Lives Matter cause with some turning to bouts of property damage and vandalism that have marked recent protests in this part of the city.

Monday, the full city council will take up a package of proposed cuts and changes at SPD that members say are equivalent to a “43%” cut to the remaining policing budget for 2020 as part of the months-long debate over equity and racism in the city sparked by the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd. Continue reading

The Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s has reopened after being closed ‘indefinitely’ for remodel after Black Lives Matter controversy — Here’s what’s changed

Thanks to CHS reader Andrew for the pictures

The E Madison Trader Joe’s has reopened after one of the stranger remodeling closures in Capitol Hill grocery store history with a new layout that seems optimized for the new world of COVID-19 era retail.

We asked readers in the Capitol Hill Seattle Facebook Group to report back on what they found.

The front has been cleared out with the staff desk area known as The Bridge moved back by the liquor section, and new entrance and exit sections with “with low wooden walls and gates” added to channel shoppers into and out of the store. There are new areas for customers to pack their groceries into reusable bags and aisles across the store have reportedly been widened. And, we’re sorry to report, the sample station has been completely removed from the back of the store. Thoughts and prayers. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s reopening July 1, but its workers call for change

(Images: Lena Friedman)

The E Madson Trader Joe’s will reopen this week after a surprise 18-day closure but many of its employees continue to call for customers to support their push for changes over Black Lives Matter and worker rights at the nationwide grocery chain’s outlet serving Capitol Hill and the Central District.

The store is planned to reopen Wednesday, July 1st.

Last week, a group of Trader Joe’s workers ticked off a series of demands outside their E Madison store Thursday morning in response to its contentious closure — later announced by the company as temporary — when a group of employees participated in Black Lives Matter protesting Friday, June 12.

Suited in all-black clothing and employee name tags, workers shared experiences of racial bias as staff and read off demands they are calling on corporate and store management to respond to ahead of the store’s July 1 planned reopening.  Workers are calling on the company to train staff in implicit bias and de-escalation and come up with a concrete plan to support Black employees and customers going forward. They demand the company upholds the jobs of workers involved in protesting without penalty, that store private security be replaced by a social service agency trained in mental health and de-escalation, and that staff protocols and disciplinary processes are transparent and well-documented. Continue reading