Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on Columbia City Changes

Seattle DJC’s Joe Nabberfield has a new reflection on Columbia City’s ever-evolving nature. To read the whole piece, click here. Here’s a preview:

Crib Notes — Columbia City: Big change, more to come

We remember when Tutta Bella pizzeria opened in (gulp) Columbia City. A Starbucks too. Pioneering businesses, taking a risk.

That was about 15 years ago. Flash to now: the diverse neighborhood in southeast Seattle is fully and officially popping. Especially the retail around Rainier Avenue!

So this means it’s time for us to talk about the G-word: gentrification.

What’s next? Two words: Hillman City. That’s the still-depressed commercial strip immediately south of Columbia City’s commercial strip. Its younger and anemic sibling.

As Columbia City keeps gentrifying — and yes, there’s a lot more to come — so will Hillman City as it catches the spillover.

Gentrification, as we all know, is a loaded word. It takes on different meanings and evokes different emotions depending on which lens we use to view it.

Rents in The Angeline range from $1,600 to $3,400 per month.

If you own property in Columbia City, the upward movement likely brings joy, or at least relief. Homes that sold three years ago in Columbia City for $350,000 now fetch $450,000 to $500,000. If you’re low-income, even lower-middle-income, the same upward movement likely brings sadness, pain and anger at seeing your eventual displacement.

It’s bittersweet for many. Displacement eventually will happen. Slowly but surely. Southward, to Hillman City, Rainier Beach, Renton, then Kent. Cities don’t stand still. They change, and then change again…

One thought on “Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on Columbia City Changes

  1. Judith Lee says:

    Angie’s Bar was not “revamped and reopened” – it was razed to the ground and an entire new modern building was built that in no ways resembles the humble wooden structure that housed Angie’s. And Hillman City is not “depressed” – it has several small local businesses that have been there a long time (and some new ones as well), important and active non-profits, affordable apartments and very active churches. Just because an area does not have yoga studios, juice bars, hipster restaurants, high end grocery stores and apartments with high ceilings and granite counters does not mean that it is “blighted.”

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