Medieval Meets Modern

The Anhalt Apartments historic exterior.   Photo: Anhalt Apartments

Have you wondered why there’s a mini castle at the corner of 16th and East John Street in Capitol Hill? Being such a young city compared to those located out east, Seattle doesn’t have as many historic apartment buildings. But two years ago, the Anhalt Apartments at this location won a Preserving Neighborhood Character award. This was due to the building, originally built in 1931, getting a complete overhaul while preserving certain aspects of its history. The exterior features of the brick building, such as the courtyard and turreted entryway, and interior public spaces such as the spiral staircase, maintain the original late medieval/English Tudor character and the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 24 apartment interiors themselves were revamped to now meet today’s modern style. Another new, thoroughly modern building was also built in the space behind the original building to house 15 more apartment dwellers, and includes limited underground parking. (Helpful when living in a high-density area.)

Historic stairwell in entryway. Photo: Anhalt Apartments

Over 80 years ago, Fred Anhalt, a previous butcher turned designer & builder, moved from Minnesota and built a number of these castle-like structures in Seattle before the big Great Depression hit. He had wanted his multi-family rental units to really feel like a home, so included aspects such as privacy and a sense of community, and great amenities such as fireplaces, soundproofing, hand-carved wood detail, even electric dishwashers—highly unusual back then. This Anhalt Apartment building was an example of his mature work, being the 2nd to last building he completed before the economic downturn ended his company. Seattle’s AIA (American Institute of Architects) chapter posthumously awarded Mr. Anhalt an honorary membership because of his excellent residential design. The Seattle Times also ranked him among the 150 most influential people in Seattle’s history.

Two of Anhalt Historic’s remodelled rooms. Photo: Anhalt Apartments

For 40 years, the Group Health company occupied the building after that, having completely gutted the interior for conversion into offices. Then the building sat vacant for 6 years until bought and converted back to 1-2 bedroom rentals during the renovation.

Exterior and interior of Anhalt Modern building, located behind Anhalt Historic.  Photo: Anhalt Apartments

So if you’ve wondered why there are people living in a castle in your neighborhood… well, now you know.

Anhalt Historic & Modern:
https://www.facebook.com/anhaltapartments/
http://anhaltapartments.com/

 

The Greenest Commercial Building on Earth

The Bullitt Center, the world’s only fully self-sustained office building.  Photo: Joe Mabel

To be called the world’s greenest office building is no easy feat, but the 6-story Bullitt Center at 1501 East Madison Street between Capitol Hill and the Central District has attained that status. Completed in 2013, it has won numerous environmental awards and received much media coverage since then, due to being completely self-sustaining, like a forest, thus not contributing to global warming. It’s considered a “Living Building”, mimicking how nature reuses, stores, and filters materials in a productive way. The Bullitt Center was built to last 250 years, and is so effective at generating energy that it has an excess during the summer months.

Created as part of the Living Building Challenge, this building produces its own energy through solar panels on the roof, processing its own rainwater for reuse, composting toilets, a bike garage + showers, rare triple-pane windows, completely non-toxic and locally-sourced building materials, automatic blinds adjustment according to sun position, heat pumps processing at 400 feet below the soil, and lots of natural light and wood throughout. The building is purposely situated near various public transit and has the best walking score possible: 100 out of 100. Tenants are given an energy allotment according to how much space (ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 square feet) they occupy in the building. If they stay within those parameters, they receive a financial incentive at the end of the year.

Denis Hayes, who has an incredible environmental resume (including being the organizer for the very first Earth Day in the 1970s, then bringing it to the global stage) is now president of the Bullitt Foundation, which owns the building. In critical upcoming years, as urban populations continue to grow, Hayes hopes that the Bullitt Center will serve as an example of what’s possible, and will promote future construction of other living, sustainable buildings.

Photo: Joe Mabel

JOSEPHINE: Homemade Takeout Food

Traci, Josephine cook, prepares to roast brussel sprouts with preserved lemon.                                 Video: Rustic studio in L.A. /posted on Josephine site

A made-in-the-kitchen small business revolution is occurring in Capitol Hill and neighborhoods across Seattle. Josephine, an Oakland, CA-based startup which recently expanded to Seattle in 2016, believes in empowering home chefs to reach their local community, while supplying good meals to neighbors. This blog post happened because of a glowing comment from a current Josephine customer, Jordan L., in Capitol Hill. He enthusiastically recommended their service (see his referral below).

From customer Jordan L.

The two who started this business, Charley and Tal, named it after meeting initially at the warm, welcome home of a mutual friend’s mother Josephine, who invited them over regularly. This spawned discussions over meals about the value of home-cooking and whether we were losing that connection in our world.

 

A reoccurring comment about the Josephine service is that it connects neighbors to other neighbors; sometimes people you wouldn’t meet in your day-to-day, busy life. Customers come pick their food up in a chef’s warm, welcome (and safety-certified) kitchen, after signing up for free at the Josephine site.  After entering your zip code on the site, you will be able to see where chefs are located in your area. Once a week, members receive a newsletter showing the week’s food offerings from different kitchens, and how far they are away from your location.

Weekly Food Offerings near Capitol Hill (varies weekly). Photo: Josephine

This method requires meal planning on your part, since it’s not a delivery service, but many people say the homemade food quality is excellent. Chefs often have repeat customers. The choices are vast: ethnic dishes (that might not be available at restaurants in that neighborhood), vegan, gluten-free, baked goods and American comfort food, to name a few.

Community at cook Akiko’s home. Photo: Josephine / The Seattle Times

“We provide healthy food options, where the money stays in the community,” says Simone Stolzoff, Director of Communications, at Josephine. “You can buy food that reflects individual cooks’ culture; the most authentic representation of what they would feed to their own families.” Dishes are served a la carte, and cooks set their own prices, typically ranging between $8-12 per full meal, according to Stolzoff. In the Seattle area, including Capitol Hill, the local network extends as far north as Lynnwood and as far south as Tacoma.

Cook Shui Zhu’s creations. Photo: The Seattle Times / Josephine

Those approved to cook for Josephine decide what they want to cook and how often, and carry a WA food handlers licence as certification. They pass a safety inspection from Josephine, and two Masters of Public Health are on staff to check-in with new cooks before ever posting their offerings. Mark Bittman, of PBS and cookbook fame, also sits on Josephine’s board. Small business owners receive 90% of the revenue, while 10% goes to Josephine for maintaining the website, marketing home cooks’ meals, and creating a credit payment process for them.

It isn’t always smooth sailing. Although meeting standards for food safety, they have run into problems with government regulation, previously receiving “Cease-and-Desist” orders in California. But legislation continues to be developed and proposed.

A May 19th, 2016 NPR article mentions that Willard Middle School in Berkeley, Calif., has a student-run operation (with supervision) which has partnered with Josephine for the past 3 years. To date, it has brought in over $100,000 in revenue to the school, and is very popular with the locals.

Willard Middle School uses the produce from its school garden to create meals through Josephine.  Photo: Teresa Chin/Youth Radio on NPR.org

As Simone Stolzoff commented upon Josephine’s mission, “More than anything, it’s about connecting people and bringing them together.

 

Capitol Hill Station Development Update

12-06_openhouse

Photo by Brandon Marcz, The Capitol Hill Times

On December 6th, a community openhouse was held at 420 E. Pike Street to show ideas and preliminary design proposals for development around the Capitol Hill light rail station. Input from the general public was encouraged. Hosted by Capitol Hill Housing and Gerding Edlen, (the latter is developing the site), members of the design team were on-hand to answer questions.

There appear to a number of goals surrounding the development, mostly having to do with creating a centric, community-based environment which promotes easy accessibility, while incorporating affordable housing in the mix. There are four sites that will be developed around the transit station at 140 Broadway East on Capitol Hill, some with resident-friendly features, such as a daycare center. capitolhillstationsite

Here are a few of the ideas being proposed:

  • a blend of housing and retail, including potentially a restaurant
  • ground-floor daycare center, including an adjoining outside play area
  • large anchor retail store
  • twice-weekly, year-round farmers market on the plaza (adjacent to Cal Anderson Park)
  • great accessability and an easy walk to the transit station
  • 20-100% affordable housing, depending upon the building site, based on average median income
  • “festival street” that would close to vehicles during special events
  • rooftop deck
  • underground parking
  • library amenity on a 2nd floor
  • urban agriculture (they are currently looking for a farming partner)

The Capitol Hill Link Light Rail station links the University of WA to Downtown Seattle on a 3.15 mile-long line, and greatly reduces the normal car commute. The station is located on the surface as well as underground, and was newly opened this year. Construction around the station will begin in the spring of 2018 and last for 18 to 24 months.

99-Year Deal Advances Plans for Multi-Use Light Rail Complex

Gerdling plaza

Sound Transit recently agreed to sign Portland-based Gerding Edlen to a 99-year contract to develop the area around the Capitol Hill Transit Link Light rail station, according to Curbed Seattle. The area will be multi-use with a strong community-based approach, including apartment living, Broadway Farmers Market, daycare center, and other smaller businesses. A larger anchor store has yet to be determined.

A large appeal for the complex is easy access to popular areas of Seattle, due to the complex’s location over the new 8-story underground Capitol Hill Transit train station, which opened on March 19th, 2016, and is located at 140 Broadway East. In under 4 minutes, riders are able to reach the University of WA. During rush hour, trains leave the station every 6 minutes, and every 10-15 minutes during non-rush hours. Seattle Central Community College, Group Health Medical Center and other locations are also accessible.

Developer Gerding Edlen plans to move ahead with construction in spring of 2018 and potentially will be completed in late 2019.