Viva Apartments

Developer: Alliance Residential (Phoenix, Arizona)

Dave Knight, development manager at Alliance

Architect: Mrs. Johnson’s 5th grade class

Viva apartments


Viva, can you feel the excitement…?

Can you feel the cutting edge of the big brown slice?

It cuts so deep the developers had to reapply for design permits.

We wonder how many pages it took to say less windows and more brown corrugated shed covering.

Or perhaps, the sad brown is just primer. What color do you think they’re really going to paint it?

For future reference to developers, and for the love of God, Cap Hill is not a place.

It’s Capitol Hill.




Open Letter to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Council. recently attended a public forum presented by the Mayor and his staff at Terra Plata restaurant on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. We left the forum newly aware that our mayor doesn’t understand or seem to care that Seattle is being bulldozed by greedy, single-minded developers bent on erasing neighborhood character and supplanting it with high rent, cheaply built apartments/condos coupled with strip mall aesthetics. We have written a response and included the contacts for the Mayor and the City Council. Please add your name and any other thoughts and forward the letter to them.


I feel I must take this opportunity to express my extreme disappointment with Mayor McGinn’s question and answer meeting at Terra Plata on Capitol Hill. As a long time resident of Seattle, I am concerned about low quality development. I am very pleased with the the light rail and other mass transit improvements coming to the Hill. However, the destruction of character buildings is a blight on our neighborhood. 

The issue is not density nor incentives for developers to build. Rather, the core issue is developing a long term vision backed by laws which preserve the attributes of Capitol Hill that make it an attractive neighborhood for businesses, residents, visitors and developers/investors.

Mayor McGinn’s attitude of we’ll wait and see, and there’s not much we can do is the weakest of leadership and extremely short sighted.  A vibrant neighborhood with unique, local small businesses and historic, character buildings is what creates the higher property values and encourages development. Development with an eye on preservation is the best path towards sustaining neighborhood value to businesses and builders, as well as residents and visitors.

I hope that the city will provide some pro-active leadership, if not from our apparently weak Mayor, then from the City Council.  

I and many of my neighbors care greatly about our Capitol Hill community. We will work hard to preserve it, and will definitely watch carefully whether or not our local politicians can rise to the challenge of real, innovative leadership.



(206) 684-4000
President Sally Clark:


Sally Bagshaw:


Tim Burgess:


Richard Conlin:


Jean Godden:


Bruce Harrell:

Nick Licata:


Mike O’Brien


Tim Burgess:

Citizen apartments

1222 East Madison, Seattle

Developer: Wallace Properties

Architect: Kevin Cleary at Baylis Architects


Uh oh, oooh noooo!  Are those cantaloupe accents on the windows?  Hey!  Maybe the sills are scratch and sniff, and the building will waft sweet melon on the breeze.  Otherwise, this is truly unsupportable . . . and we would have preferred strawberry.

In keeping with the neighborhood doesn’t mean matching the Public Storage on the next block. 

Sigh.  Here we go again.

May we suggest a “housing recovery” that doesn’t assault the senses.


The new urban blandscape sweeping through Seattle