On Capitol Hill, the ‘largest float pod center in North America’ has closed

Its UV glowing pods are being carted off Capitol Hill.

“The largest float pod center in North America” has shuttered.

Wellness spa start-up Urban Float closed its Capitol Hill location Sunday, after just under two years of business. According to the location’s announcement, Urban Float lost its lease in the E Union at Madison at 12th Viva Capitol Hill Building.

No company officials have responded to our inquiries about the situation.

UPDATE: We’re still sorting out details, but the company was part of a state Petition for Assurance of Discontinuance case in October. UPDATE x2: The action is unlikely to be related to the closure. A spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office says the petition was part of Washington’s “no-poach” effort to eliminate the clauses from franchise agreements in the state. “No-poach clauses appear in franchise agreements between owners of franchises and corporate headquarters,” the AG’s office says. “The clauses prohibit employees from moving among stores in the same corporate chain, a practice that economists believe stagnates wages.” In October, Urban Float joined a roster of more than 100 chains and franchises in Washington entering into legally enforceable agreements to remove the clauses from their contracts.

CHS visited the Urban Float facility as it debuted late in the winter of 2018 as the company showed off its largest location yet at 4,000 square feet of soaking tubs and relaxation space. Owned and operated by the Bellevue-based company, the Capitol Hill location was ready to embrace the diversity of its new neighborhood. “Urban Float prides itself on creating a culture of inclusivity and all genders are welcome in all our locations,” a company representative told CHS at the time. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s first float spa coming to 12th and Madison

IMG_8731If a counterbalance exists to Capitol Hill’s abundance of bars and restaurants, sensory deprivation therapy might be it. The neighborhood’s first flotation therapy pods are landing at the intersection of 12th, E Union and Madison as Urban Float plans to open its fifth location in the Viva Capitol Hill building.

The long wedge-shaped retail space had previously been marketed as a showcase opportunity for a bar or restaurant with at least one big project backing out after making plans for the giant wedge-shaped space.

Urban Float founder Joe Beaudry said an open date has not been set although posters for the business recently went up on Viva’s windows. “After some review and customer feedback it was made apparent that Capitol Hill with its dense demographic was a perfect location for us to expand,” Beaudry said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Heritage Distilling opening Pike/Pine tasting room

The problem, many said, with Meat and Bread was that the sandwich shop on the backside of Pike/Pine closed for the day just as the neighborhood’s nightlife district was waking up. The next venture to take over the space inside the Central Agency Building left behind by the M&B closure appears ready to be part of the party.

CHS has learned that Heritage Distilling Co., a Gig Harbor-based maker of craft spirits born in the 2012-era wave of microdistilleries, is bringing a tasting room to Capitol Hill, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Heritage representatives declined to comment on the project at this time.

The new tasting and sales room will join Heritage’s Gig Harbor main distillery and a tasting room facility on the South Puget Sound city’s waterfront. Heritage is also opening a distillery in Eugene, Oregon. Jennifer and Justin Stiefel founded the company — Justin serves as master distiller and CEO. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Big in B.C., Meat and Bread closing on Capitol Hill

There is more cold, hard news for daytime food and drink business on the edges of Pike/Pine. British Columbian sandwich shop Meat and Bread is pulling out of Capitol Hill.

Business owners and people familiar with the situation have told CHS that the shop is canceling orders and preparing to shut down. We have questions out to the Abbotsford-headquartered chain’s management about the closure but have not yet heard back. UPDATE: M&B’s Dave Neil tells CHS the last day for the Capitol Hill location is Saturday.

“We anticipated having a busier daytime rush there,” Neil said of the decision to close. He also said the company did consider trying later hours but decided it didn’t fit the model of being in place with a busy lunchtime rush to build off of. “The construction in the area really hurt us, also,” Neil said. “We’re sticking with what we’re good at.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Soi — the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union

OK. We know who the oxpecker is — that’s Soi. But the big water buffalo in the coming soon E Union restaurant’s logo? That could be many things.

When it opens this summer, the ambitious, regionally-focused Thai restaurant will be part of a massive development and preservation project on E Union in the rapidly changing blocks just south of E Pike. Soi will also, some will undoubtedly believe, ride in on the back of the beast of hype that is the unnamed, triple-concepted Renee Erickson project focused on the “flavors of the French Atlantic” it will neighbor.

But the bird and water buffalo for husband and wife restaurateurs Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth are simple representations of the northeastern Thai region of Isan at the center of their plans for Soi’s flavors. And the ambitious space in a major project was what the couple needed to stage their vision of “an exploration through food.”

“We wanted to do a restaurant like Soi in the beginning but Kent wasn’t the right place,” Wiborg said. “We had ambitious visions, ideas, and goals.” Continue reading

Likelihood ‘men’s footwear and sneaker boutique’ opens on the backside of Pike/Pine

Daniel Carlson, left, and Aaron DelGuzzo of Likelihood (Images: CHS)

Daniel Carlson, left, and Aaron DelGuzzo of Likelihood (Images: CHS)

Pike/Pine’s entertainment district continues to seep south. With last week’s opening of the Chophouse Row development — where Kurt Farm Shop and Niche Outside are open and Chop Shop Cafe and Bar, Upper Bar Ferd’nand and Amandine Bakery/Empire Espresso are coming soon — and the Central Agency Building — with the new Lark (and friends) as well as Canadian sandwich import Meat and Bread — the blocks between Pike and Madison are moving into a whole new phase of gentrification where dilapidated apartment buildings, old garages used as art and music studios, and parking lots are giving way to ambitious mixed-use projects.

In the middle of all this comes Likelihood, a “men’s footwear and sneaker boutique” in the new Viva building at 11th and Union. Not that long ago, this was the home of the notorious Undre Arms apartments. Thursday night, the newly opened shop neighboring Inès Pâtisserie hosted a launch party for the Spring 2015 Maiden Noir Buddy Slipper Sneaker.IMG_6734 Continue reading

Gokan by Musashi, with a focus on the art of sushi, opens on E Union

A fixture inside Gokan by Musashi (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

A fixture inside Gokan by Musashi (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

By Agazit Afeworki, UW News Lab special to CHS

Private Tatami rooms bring Japanese customs to Capitol Hill (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

Private Tatami rooms bring Japanese customs to Capitol Hill (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

Rushing in, Gokan by Musashi restaurant owner Jun Park makes his rounds shaking hands with his staff, picking up phone calls and getting the music changed over the speakers. Offering some green tea, he apologizes for being late.

He was up until 5 AM the night before. But there was a good reason: He was cutting fish.

The busy owner of Musashi in Seattle and Bellevue decided to take a chance by opening a new restaurant on Capitol Hill.

Gokan debuts with a soft opening Friday night.

Gokan’s traditional and modern Japanese mix — complete with two tatami rooms — reflects Park’s passion to elevate the innovation in sushi bars. Park said he referred to his roots when building Gokan, which means “five senses” in Japanese, because he was tired of the fast-food style in his other restaurants.

“People would just eat and go,” said Park. Continue reading

Company’s new Capitol Hill headquarters will be bike shop + training facility + cafe — UPDATE: Métier

HSP hopes its new Capitol Hill facility will appeal to more than hardcore cyclists (Image: HSP)

HSP hopes its new Capitol Hill facility will appeal to more than hardcore cyclists (Image: HSP)

(Images: HSP) 

The E Union backside of Pike/Pine will continue its rapid transformation as a one of a kind bicycling and athlete training center and retailer makes plans to open its ambitious new headquarters on the street.

Construction is gearing up to begin on the new Herriott Sports Performance facility in the 4,400 square-foot former E Union home of Lifelong Thrift. The goal, founder Todd Herriott tells CHS, is to be open and hosting viewing parties by the time the 2015 Tour de France begins in July.

“We’re really excited to be in the neighborhood and have more visibility,” Herriott said.

HSP has operated its “Pro Shop” near Seattle Pacific University since 2009 and has grown into a business focused on the “lifestyle experience for athletes,” Herriott said, with trainers and workout equipment along with HSP’s cycle and repair shop.

Herriott is ready for a major expansion on E Union that will add to the elements he will move from West Nickerson and, he hopes, expand the base of athletes HSP appeals to.

“We consider everybody a high performance athlete,” Herriott said. “We think of ourselves as performance consultants.” Continue reading

Lark nestles into its ‘grown-up’ Central Agency home


Lark’s new roost in the old and overhauled Central Agency Building (Images: CHS)

Lark's ownership trio -- Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

Lark’s ownership trio — Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan

In August 2013, when layers of metal sheeting were first getting peeled off the old File Box warehouse, CHS predicted that the area around 10th and Seneca would be completely transformed in 20 years. You can probably shave a few years off of that prediction.

After more than a year of preservation work on the 1917-built Central Agency Building, the cavernous food and drink complex is buzzing with activity. Central Agency’s anchor tenant, Lark, opened the doors to its new home December 4th after closing up shop at 12th and E Spring earlier this year. So far, chef/owner John Sundstrom said the reaction from his 12th Ave regulars has been overwhelmingly positive.IMG_3411

“We love the space,” he said. “It’s a little bit more of a grown-up experience.” Continue reading

Beware the Union Triangle, Capitol Hill’s current car prowl hot spot

(Image: SPD SeaStat)

(Image: SPD SeaStat)

As a dozen East Precinct patrol officers prepare to begin testing SPD’s new body camera program next week (and get ready for new uniforms, a new Capitol Hill-designed patch, and new SUV patrol vehicles), maybe the department can make some headway on the latest scourge identified by the department’s new SeaStat crime analytics. If not, you might want to walk when you go check out the new home of Lark in the Central Agency building.

Capitol Hill-based design firm DEI Creative worked on the redesign of SPD's patch

Capitol Hill-based design firm DEI Creative worked on the redesign of SPD’s patch. More on the patch, new uniforms, new SUV patrol vehicles and the camera program here

Identifying a trend CHS reported on in early November, SPD’s number crunchers say central Capitol Hill is part of a corridor of theft for Seattle car prowlers with more than 30% of the city’s prowling crimes occurring within a square mile and a half swath.

Overall, CHS’s analysis of SPD reports showed 2014 was on pace to produce about a third more reports of auto thefts and car prowls than 2013 in East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill.

The worst recent concentration according to the SeaStat analysis was reported in the Union Triangle area bounded by Broadway, E Union, Madison and 12th Ave.

In the meantime, SPD has put renewed energy into addressing property crime after reports earlier this year of burglaries in the city not being investigated.