Category Archives: BH in the News

“High-octane” booze sales may be voluntarily restricted on Beacon Hill

Photo (not of Beacon Hill, as far as we know) by Steve Snodgrass via Creative Commons/Flickr.
Retailers in Beacon Hill, Sodo, and Lake City would be asked to voluntarily refrain from selling certain “high-octane” alcohol products during morning hours under a pilot program currently being developed by Mayor Mike McGinn’s office.

Under this voluntary plan, sales of fortified wine and some beers would be prohibited between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., seven days a week. Bars and restaurants would not be included. Community organizations would be notified if local businesses don’t participate.

According to a report by Casey McNerthney at, the project will involve a partnership with several alcohol distributors who will encourage local retailers to participate in the program, and will keep track of the program’s progress. The program is still in the planning stages, but could be operating as soon as May.

The voluntary program would not preclude the city from eventually creating an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) on Beacon Hill if necessary. In an AIA, retailers may be restricted from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. This is the list of products currently banned in AIA areas. A group of Beacon Hill neighbors began a drive last year to form an AIA.

Beacon Food Forest finds fame

Photo by Gavin St. Ours via Creative Commons/Flickr.

You have probably heard of the Beacon Food Forest, the new urban farming project being created west of Jefferson Park. Suddenly, however, much of the rest of the country is hearing about it as well. The Food Forest has picked up a ton of press in the last few weeks.

“It’s a great day if you like the organic food!” Craig Ferguson of CBS’s Late Late Show spent part of his monologue on Monday night’s show riffing about the Food Forest and organic food.

The Food Forest was also featured on KUOW’s Weekday show with Steve Scher on Monday.

Here are some of the other mentions this local project has received:

And the stories that seem to have started the frenzy:

It’s not yet as well-known as the Space Needle, but it seems the Food Forest is on its way to becoming a famous Seattle landmark.

“Lotto luck” on Beacon Hill

The Hilltop Red Apple on North Beacon Hill and the Aloha Market on South Beacon Hill sell a lot of winning lottery tickets. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
You might be able to pick up a little luck with your lettuce at a couple of Beacon Hill retailers. Washington’s Lottery just announced the retailers in the Puget Sound region that sold the most winning lottery tickets of prizes worth $1,000 or more in 2011. Though the top store on the list is in Yelm, Beacon Hill stores took slots two and three on the list. The Aloha Market at 7762 Beacon Ave. S. had 15 $1,000+ wins, and the Hilltop Red Apple at 2701 Beacon Ave. S. had 14 $1,000+ wins.

The only other retailer in the Seattle city limits to finish in the top ten was the Lake City Fred Meyer, ranked seventh with 12 “big wins.”

According to the Lottery, “the Hilltop Red Apple on Beacon Ave. South in Seattle is a regular to this yearly list.” Last year the Red Apple tied for fifth place on the list with nearby Uwajimaya, with 13 wins. It’s not likely that your odds are better at the Red Apple—it’s that the volume of lottery ticket sales there is very high. Though we haven’t been able to get this year’s stats, the Red Apple has previously been the state’s highest-grossing outlet for lottery ticket sales.

In the last few weeks, Floyd A. Goffney won $1,000 from a ticket purchased at the Red Apple, but Zack H. McCain topped that with a $10,000 win.

Seattle Mag loves Beacon Hill

Seattle Magazine has given Beacon Hill some extra love recently, with a neighborhood feature and a review of the new Indian restaurant Travelers Thali House in the current issue. Last month they reviewed Bar del Corso and profiled local bicycle activist Dylan Ahearn.

Beacon Hill was featured in an “Urban Safari” by Patrick Hutchison, which mentioned a collection of Beacon businesses, including Kusina Filipina, El Quetzal, Despi Delite Bakery, The Station, Victrola, NEPO House and Jefferson Park:

“Long treasured for its diversity, Beacon Hill is amassing a trove of new tastes, out-of-the-box art and community music spaces—not to mention the new light rail station that provides quick and easy access for residents and day-trippers alike.”

The review of Travelers Thali House, by Allison Austin Scheff, is pretty darned positive: “For years, there have been complaints about the lack of (and lacking) Indian food options in Seattle. I’m here to tell you: Travelers is the answer to your prayers.” Is it going to become as hard to get a table there as at Bar del Corso?

Not yet, says Scheff in “Rooting for the Underdog, Restaurant Version“: “It’s a bittersweet review for me because the restaurant is so good, so welcoming, and the food is lovely in so many ways. But where is everyone? Travelers was virtually empty on each of my three visits.”

Speaking of Bar del Corso, last month Scheff had more superlatives about that restaurant: “First things first: This place makes the best margherita pizza in Seattle.”

Restaurants are not the only Beacon Hill fixtures that the magazine has drawn folks’ attention to lately. Last month, Dylan Ahearn, chairperson of Beacon BIKES (and BHB contributor), was included in a profile of 5 volunteers who are contributing to positive change in their neighborhoods.

Hello Bicycle gets some press

Hello Bicycle has come a long way since they opened in Fall 2008. This is what their window looked like then. Photo by Jason Simpson.
Beacon Avenue bike shop Hello Bicycle has been very visible lately in both online and on-air media.

Last month, Seattle Pulp published “Hello Bicycle, goodbye bike snobs,” a profile of the shop and bicycle mechanic Sam Lettes:

“Somewhere in Seattle, one bicycle mechanic isn’t feeling smug. He’s not leering at shop patrons as they push their mangled machines through the shop door. He’s not belittling new customers who’ve never heard the word Shimano. And he’s happy to see penniless pre-teen BMXers hovering outside the shop door.”

Then yesterday, Hello Bicycle founder Miki Nishihata was interviewed on American Public Media’s Marketplace radio show, for a story about small businesses and technology by Steve Henn. You can read the interview or listen to it here.

Hello Bicycle is located at 3067 Beacon Ave. S.

Seattle Met chows down on Beacon Avenue

Bar del Corso is one of the restaurants on Beacon Avenue featured in a recent Seattle Met article. Photo by Wendi.
Seattle Met’s Kathryn Robinson recently posted an article about three of Beacon Avenue’s restaurants: Bar del Corso, Travelers Thali House, and Inay’s Asian Pacific Cuisine, suggesting that with restaurants like these, Beacon Hill is now a neighborhood worth bringing your appetite to.

About Bar del Corso, Robinson says “Full of neighbors sharing wine and chatting across tables, it was a true third place from the moment it opened in July.” Travelers “now has the space to do justice” to the thali and street food its owners have served until now from a portion of a small retail store on Capitol Hill. And Inay’s food, says Robinson, is “accorded solid treatment by Inay’s son Ernie”—but she even more highly recommends eating there on Friday evenings, when waiter Louie transforms into drag queen waiter Atasha for a lip sync diva tribute.

Commenters on the article and on the Beacon Hill mailing list noted that El Quetzal was left out, as was Baja Bistro. Perhaps Robinson wanted to focus on newer restaurants, though Inay’s has been around for several years.

Foreclosure a possibility for PacMed building

The landmark PacMed building dominates the northern tip of Beacon Hill. Photo by Wendi.

Eric Pryne of the Seattle Times reports that developer Wright Runstad has defaulted on their loan on the PacMed building at the north tip of Beacon Hill, and that the building is now in the beginning of foreclosure proceedings.

Most recently, the building was occupied by, whose lease expired this spring. Amazon has moved their operations to the South Lake Union neighborhood, and the PacMed building is currently mostly vacant.

The PacMed building was in the news last month when Wright Runstad proposed that the King County juvenile court and jail complex move into the building. However, county officials determined that the proposal wouldn’t meet affordability criteria, and so it was scrapped.

Pryne suggests that the default and threatened foreclosure could be “saber-rattling”:

“Owners of other financially troubled buildings, such as downtown Seattle’s Columbia Center, have engaged in ‘strategic defaults’ to prod lenders to modify their loans.

“And there’s no evidence so far of any foreclosure filing involving the PacMed building in King County court or property records—although the first step in foreclosure in Washington, a ‘notice of default’ from lender to borrower, generally isn’t recorded.”

Pryne also notes that an appraisal last year valued the building at $11.3 million, a little more than half of the $20.5 million Wright Runstad owes on the loan. Monthly payments are about $181,000.

The owners of the building are the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority, who negotiated a 99-year lease with Wright Runstad in 1998. Wright Runstad then subleased the the building to Amazon.

The Preservation and Development Authority is a non-profit quasi-public organization whose mission is to promote health care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Find out more about the PHPDA here.

Wall along trail is “graffiti hotspot”

Publicola reports that the retaining wall along the Mountains to Sound Trail at the north tip of Beacon Hill has become a big graffiti headache, requiring heavy maintenance from Seattle Public Utilities’ Graffiti Rangers:

“‘We check it every day, and we’ve been painting it over every other day for the last two weeks,’ Stoltzfus says. ‘There are other [graffiti hot spots] in the city, but not one that has been covered as frequently and to such an extent.'”

The graffiti issue was discussed at last week’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting. Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith mentioned that a mural on the site to deter taggers is a possibility, but current city rules state that a permit is needed to install a mural, with an agreement to maintain the artwork on an ongoing basis. Whoever steps up to install a mural or other artwork needs to be able to meet this responsibility.

More about the PacMed proposal

The possibility that the King County Juvenile court/detention facility could move to the PacMed building on North Beacon caused a lot of conversation yesterday both here on the BHB and on other media outlets. KOMO (BHB news partner) covered the story, including quotes from neighbors Curtis Bonney and Craig Thompson.

Further coverage of the PacMed story comes from Eric Scigliano at Crosscut:

“At least one other prospect may still be in the picture: the Bellevue-based City University of Seattle, which, true to its name, has been trying to move to Seattle. ‘We have looked at their building, as well as a dozen other sites in Seattle,’ says City University spokesperson Christopher Ross. ‘We’re not far enough along in any of our negotiations to comment.'”

City Council approves grants for Beacon Hill parks

Earlier this week the City Council approved Opportunity Fund grants for two Beacon Hill parks, Lewis Park and the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park (El Centro de la Raza Play Area). The grants were awarded for the amounts recommended earlier by the Levy Citizens Oversight Committee: Lewis Park was awarded $260,000 for reforestation, and Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park was awarded $350,000 for improvements to revitalize the park and increase public awareness and access to the park space.

Previous BHB posts about this round of Opportunity Fund applications are here.