Seattle Asian Art Museum puts its latest expansion designs on display

The reception to show off the latest Seattle Asian Art Museum designs was the type of event those used to the Seattle process might have expected months ago. Plans to renovate and expand the city-owned Art Deco building inside Volunteer Park had caught some neighbors by surprise when it was briefly mentioned in a SAAM newsletter.

Officials from the Seattle Art Museum, which operates SAAM, said at the Thursday event they first needed to decide on the scope of the project. That required private conversations among trustees, architects, and officials from the city’s historical preservation and parks departments.

“We wanted to make sure that before we showed something we were ready to show something,” said SAM spokesperson Domenic Morea.

Now that the initial designs are in place, SAM says they are eager for public input on the $49 million upgrade and expansion. In addition to feedback sessions the museum is holding, the designs are also making their way through the city’s Architectural Review Committee, where public comments are taken. Continue reading

U.S. Labor official comes to our Capitol Hill to support I-1433 statewide minimum wage boost


Cupcake Royale owner Jody Hall, Deputy Secretary Chris Lu, GSBA president Louise Chernin, and Mayor Ed Murray were on Capitol Hill to back I-1433. (Image: CHS)

President Barack Obama never got a chance to enact a federal minimum wage increase or paid sick leave law, but a senior administration official visiting Capitol Hill Thursday said his boss is happy to see Seattle and, hopefully, Washington state take the lead.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu joined a media event at E Pine’s Greater Seattle Business Association to support I-1433, the statewide initiative on the ballot in November that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 an hour and require most companies to offer paid sick leave.

“Unfortunately Congress has not acted,” Lu said. “A high priority of the Obama administration is to give lift to efforts happening at the state and local level.” Continue reading

New ‘Union’ sculpture part of 23rd Ave improvements


Washington D.C. artist Martha Jackson Jarvis says she believes her new creation will loom large enough to still be noticed when surrounded by when the corner of 23rd and Union is surrounded by seven-story buildings.

“I am building for the future,” she told CHS as a giant crane raised her sculpture, “Union,” on the southeast corner of the intersection. “The piece is tall. I think it can stand up.” Continue reading

Small coffee is the best coffee: Tiny Dorothea goes full-time in the Central District

Mahoney living the dream in the CD (Image: CHS)

Mahoney living the dream in the CD (Image: CHS)

Just over a year ago, the aroma of coffee wafted through the air calling customers to a purple house to get their caffeine fix at Dorothea Coffee.

The tiny coffee shop has since served many regulars and the occasional visitor along the Central District’s Jackson St. Earlier this month, owner Conor Mahoney expanded the shop’s hours from just weekends to seven days a week. Mahoney, who fell in love with java and the communities that fill coffee shops as a teenager, has transformed his dream of opening and running his own into a full-time into a reality.

“It feels really good,” Mahoney said. “It was a leap of faith to leave my job and try to do it full-time, but it felt so much safer knowing that I liked doing this enough to put up with it seven days a week.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Fun and games on Capitol Hill Station’s Denny festival street

Idiot? Do it. (Images: CHS)

Idiot? Do it. (Images: CHS)

Wednesday afternoon, the still relatively newly one-way E Denny Way running through the midst of Capitol Hill Station was put to use as intended — as a giant game board. The planned “festival street” designed to be easily shut off and used as a public space hosted a Seattle Department of Transportation-sponsored game of giant Scrabble as the department celebrated the National Association of Transportation Officials conference in the city this week.
Continue reading

With Capitol Hill commercial rents also soaring, Seattle looks at tax breaks for landlords with small biz tenants

Since 2008, commercial rents have risen 42% in Capitol Hill’s 98122 zip code, making it the third most expensive zip code for businesses in the city. The second most expensive retail rents are now in 98102, while other neighborhoods, like Ballard, have seen retail rents increase by more than double.

To ensure small businesses are not drowned out in the rising tide, Mayor Ed Murray convened a task force in April to explore what the city could do to help. The results, released during a Wednesday morning media conference, are relatively modest compared the mayor’s housing affordability plan, but Murray said it was an important starting point.

Recommendations from the Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee include a new entity to support small businesses, tax incentives for property owners to keep small businesses as tenants, and “fast track” permitting requirements for small business projects. Defining what exactly constitutes a small business would still need to be determined, but the recommendations appear to target support for micro-business projects like Melrose Market.

In the short term, the city will be directing $122,000 annually to a low-cost lending program for businesses with five or fewer employees and fund a commercial affordability consulting team to give businesses and small property owners technical advice. Not included in the recommendations — commercial rent control. Continue reading

Mount Zion church sells PSKS homeless youth shelter property for $3.2M

client_id_62464_logo_1457112485-7623Capitol Hill’s youth and young adult homeless shelter has two years to find a new location after learning its church property owner has sold its 19th and Pine home.

Mount Zion Baptist Church sold its annex building earlier this month to a Mercer Island residential housing developer for $3.2 million, according to King County property records. The church acquired the property in 2007 for $2.1 million.

Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets director Susan Fox tells CHS it still has two years on its lease and plans to stay for now, but the nonprofit is actively searching for a new location. Continue reading

As Harry’s Fine Foods finishes with Capitol Hill crowdfunded boost, Galerie 23 seeks $325K

Harry's Fine Foods is opening... soon (Image: CHS)

Harry’s Fine Foods is opening… soon (Image: CHS)

How much does it cost to open a “gourmet restaurant” on Capitol Hill? $325,000. More, actually. But that’s the total chef Rob Sevcik is looking to raise in a crowdfunding campaign to open Galerie 23 on Capitol Hill:

What I need is a sum of $325,000 dollars to purchase a local restaurant that is for sale. I have searched and searched and this opportunity is perfect. It is the right size, has the correct equipment and is located perfectly. I know I will be able to accomplish some truly amazing things with this space if contributors can help me achieve the purchase.

Sevcik’s “founders” won’t walk away empty handed, of course, for their act of generosity. The Thierry Rautureau protege will present his donors with equivalent gift cards and dinner experiences in return for their cold hard cash.

We heard back from Sevcik about his project but, at this point, can’t say what existing restaurant he has his eyes on. Plenty are available. Sevcik was originally looking at a space on E Pine in new development but tells CHS the price was out of his league. He’ll have his work cut out for him raising enough via the campaign. After about two weeks, he has around $2,300 of his goal pledged by backers. Continue reading

Film festival explores Capitol Hill’s ‘rapid development and change’ in two minutes or less

A quick search through Craigslist will tell you how artists are getting priced out of Capitol Hill. Not so easily quantifiable is what effect that is having on artists and the neighborhood as a whole. A series of 2-minute dance films is seeking to shed some light on the subject.

Dance Film Challenge is a film festival on Capitol Hill about Capitol Hill sponsored by Capitol Hill arts institutions. The challenge: Teams submit two-minute dance films “reflecting the Capitol Hill neighborhood and the crossroads that Capitol Hill artists, communities and residents are facing in this period of rapid development and change.” Winners selected by the audience will be given a one month residency at the V2 temporary art space on 11th Ave. Ten submissions will be screened Thursday at Northwest Film Forum. Continue reading

CHS Comics | Trading cards: Seattle Central Superstars

Seattle Central began its 50th year celebration last week with a day marking its legacy of social activism. With thousands of graduates over the years, the Central roster of distinguished alumni has some interesting names. We’ve honored the school with this special set of 50th anniversary collector cards. Happy birthday, Seattle Central.

HALA map: Broadway, area around Capitol Hill Station part of affordability plan’s proposal for taller buildings

325582184-mha-draft-rezone-mapping-11x17_capitolhill_firsthillThe mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability committee has released a preview of maps detailing proposed zoning changes across Seattle coming as part of the effort to link the creation of affordable housing with market-rate development in a legislative process expected to play out over the next two years. Included in the preview of the planned October release is a map detailing proposals for changes around First Hill and Capitol Hill including raising allowed heights by another story along Broadway and a new “midrise” designation in the area around Capitol Hill Station currently limited to three-story “lowrise” buildings.

The HALA announcement on the proposed Mandatory Housing Affordability zoning says the full package of proposals, shaped and vetted by stakeholder groups organized by the city, is expected to be released in October.

Based on our MHA Principles, we have maps illustrating a first draft of zoning changes in five example urban villages: South Park, Othello, First Hill-Capitol Hill, Aurora-Licton Springs, and Crown Hill. This first draft is intended to solicit your feedback and ideas for improving the zoning changes that will implement MHA affordable housing requirements. In October 2016, a full citywide draft zoning map will be available.

The full set of preview maps — and an easier to read view of the Capitol Hill map — is below. Continue reading

Design review: What Vulcan’s first Broadway project will look like, plus small efficiency dwelling units on 10th Ave E

Vulcan's Block 3 plan for Broadway at Yesler might finally justify the First Hill Streetcar

Vulcan’s Block 3 plan for Broadway at Yesler might finally justify the First Hill Streetcar

While Wednesday night’s review sessions will include one half of real estate giant Vulcan’s development plans for both sides of Broadway at Yesler and a review of a Central District project the review board was worried about being shoehorned into a residential area, the bigger design review decisions of the week won’t happen at a public meeting. More on Vulcan’s 120 Broadway development and a rowhouse project from Isola Homes at 18th and Spruce, below. But first, let’s stop by the squabble on 10th Ave E just past the curve from Broadway where neighbors aren’t happy about a planned five-story, “small efficiency dwelling unit” apartment building being lined up to rise above the lot currently home to a 1930s-built single family house.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-3-00-43-pmMcKee 10th
Though it will create a five-story building with 18 small units and one regular old “apartment”-style unit, the McKee 10th microhousing development being planned for 714 10th Ave E isn’t large enough to trigger a full design review. Instead, its “streamlined” review process wraps Friday without the full package of 90-minute meetings and a lineup of public comment by neighbors objecting to the bulk and scale of the project. But you can still have your say — here are some of the comments from letters sent to the city about the project: Continue reading