Grand Re-Opening of Washington Hall

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To celebrate the completion of its ambitious five-year renovation, Washington Hall is holding a grand re-opening on Wednesday, June 1st from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Hosted by Historic Seattle, 206 Zulu, Hidmo, and Voices Rising, the Voices Rising, the event will feature music and lite refreshments provided by Madres Kitchen and Panera.

Washington Hall was commissioned by the Danish Brotherhood and opened its doors in 1908.  Designed by Victor Voorhees, Washington Hall was built to provide boarding facilities for newly arrived Danish immigrants and also as a community center, fraternal lodge, and dance hall. Most notably, however, Washington Hall has served as a popular performing arts venue, hosting musicians and speakers such as Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Joe Louis.

Despite being in constant use since its construction, Washington Hall faced demolition due to its deteriorating condition.  In 2009, Historic Seattle, with the aid of 4Culture, purchased the building with the intention to restore it.  The restoration and stabilization work to Washington Hall included seismic upgrades, a new roof, and securing the south wall.  An elevator was added, making the building fully ADA accessible. Refinished floors, stage enhancements, new lighting, and a complete re-working of the back space of the building, all helped to restore this Historic Landmark building in a way that honors its storied past.

 

For more information about his event, visit Washington Hall’s Facebook page.

Former Value Village Could Become an Open Public Market

 

Cap Hill MArket 5-18

Legacy Commercial and architecture firm Ankrom Moisan released their plans for the redevelopment of the Kelly Springfield Building (formally a Value Village) to the Pike / Pine Neighborhood Council on Monday.

The project aims to create 65,000 square feet of new office space, which will be split between a proposed three-story addition atop the Kelly Springfield Building, and a new, narrow, five-story building.  This new building will be built directly south of the Kelly Springfield Building on what is now a sunken parking lot.

Due to the Kelly Springfield Building status as a Seattle City Landmarks, Legacy Commercial, and Ankrom Moisan must have all of their plans approved by the city’s Architectural Review Committee.  The committee is instant upon the preservation of the building’s brick façade and also committed maintaining a public, retail ruse on the building’s ground floor.  Taking this into consideration, developers from Legacy Commercial are exploring the possibility of transforming the 12,000-square-foot ground floor into an open, food and retail destination, similar to Melrose Market.

Ankrom Moisan and Legacy will be providing its latest design proposal to the Early Design Guidance Review Board (EDG) on Wednesday, June 8, in the Student Center 210 Multipurpose Room of Seattle University, 1000 E. James Way.

Charette to Draw Public Input for Big Lid

 Marchers against I-5 construction, downtown Seattle, June 1, 1961 Museum of History & Industry


Marchers against I-5 construction, downtown Seattle, June 1, 1961
Museum of History & Industry

In 1967, the last phase of Interstate 5 opened. The freeway, which was designed to link Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, and Bellingham, demolished anything that fell within its path and nowhere was this more destructive than in Seattle. Rather than cut through downtown, or climb through the hills and ridges directly surrounding the city, planners selected a course of least resistance for 1-5 in Seattle. In 1957, more than seven blocks of residences and retail businesses on the east side of Eastlake were razed to make way for the Interstate. The freeway eliminated the bottom portion of the Republican Street Hillclimb, a stairway leading from Cascade to Capitol Hill built in 1910. South of the Ship Canal Bridge Interstate 5 separates the Eastlake and Cascade neighborhoods from the Capitol Hill neighborhood and separates Downtown Seattle from the Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods. Its construction necessitated the demolition of significantly developed areas and cut off walking commutes to downtown for many First Hill and Capitol Hill residents.
Since its completion, there has been significant interest in placing a lid over the portion of I-5 that cuts through Seattle. An early attempt at this can be seen in Lawrence Halprin‘s Freeway Park, which opened in 1976. This Saturday, May 7th, a design charrette (a collaborative session where designers and stakeholders work to draft proposals to solve a design problem) is being held by the Pike/Pine Urban Neighborhood Council to gather ideas that could materialize into an actual lid.
The charrette will take place at 12th Ave Arts this Saturday, May 7th, from 8 AM to 1 PM (coffee and High 5 Pie provided). Attendees will be armed with markers and tracing paper over a blown up image of the I-5 corridor to draw up their best ideas for a lid. Organizers have also compiled packets of materials reviewing existing lids in Seattle and around the U.S.
Pine Street Group developers will next go before the Seattle Design Commission on June 7th, where public benefits for the WSCC addition will be discussed. Commissioners are not expected to take any action. However, the commission will consider materials submitted by the community ahead of the meeting, creating an ideal opportunity to present the results of Saturday’s charrette.

Vulcan is Preparing for 23rd and Jackosn’s First Design Review Session

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a preliminary study for Vulcan’s redevelopment of 23rd and Jackson.

Vulcan has released preliminary redevelopment plans for the Central District shopping center at 23rd and Jackson it purchased for $30.9 million in February. While some community members see Vulcan’s entry into the Central District as yet another sign of increasing gentrification, the real estate giant is working affordable housing into the development.

Vulcan plans to replace the shopping center and its expansive parking lot with two mid-rise buildings which would hold 566 apartments. The two buildings will be built over three to four levels of underground parking, allowing the development to center around a public plaza and retail shops. Vulcan is proposing to utilize Seattle’s Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE), an affordable housing incentive program which alleviates certain property taxes from participating developers, to make twenty percent of the units at 23rd and Jackson affordable. This would mean that the redevelopment of 23rd and Jackson would produce 113 affordable units including 49 units affordable to households earning 65% of Area Median Income ($41,145 for a single person, $58,695 for a family of 4).

While Vulcan has stated that the design of 23rd and Jackson was derived from recommendations it received from Central Area stakeholders, some community members do not see the affordable units as enough to counteract the increased gentrification the neighborhood has faced recently. Evelyn Thomas Alan, the founder of the Black Community Impact Alliance, argues that while MFTE does provide affordable housing for middle-class workers, the income range does not go low enough to provide affordable housing for significant numbers of African Americans.

Despite some push back from community members, the Vulcan development team is getting ready for the project’s first design review session, scheduled for May 10th.