Nope, the latest tenant of local-focusedisn’t giant Pacific Northwest — and financially troubled — retailer Eddie Bauer. The giant EB marks a “pop-up” showcase space for *next* winter’s collection that has suddenly appeared on Melrose Ave.
Meanwhile, around the corner, a large banner for Newberg, Oregon’s George Fox University – just “3 1/2 hours away” — hangs from E Pike’s. Here is the story of two Capitol Hill commercial spaces within a few blocks of each other finding ways to squeeze a few more dollars out of their assets via marketing.
On Melrose, we haven’t had the information confirmed by Eddie Bauer or the market’s leasing agent but CHS has talked to people working at other shops in the market who provided details of the Eddie Bauer project in the former home of Sonic Boom Records. With the music retailer long gone, the market has leased the space for the short-term use. Expect to see a few glitzy events with DJs and style people checking out the Eddie Bauer fashions of the future. UPDATE: We heard back from Eddie Bauer and they said, yup, we’re using the space to showcase an upcoming line for a press event.
Meanwhile on E Pike, there is a seemingly less legit showcase going on. We’ve delved into the issues around on-promise and off-premise banner advertising in the city before — most recently when we made note of a giant back-pack ad on the side of the Odd Fellows building back in August. That promotion quickly disappeared after our post. We’ve received a few notes from readers about a similar ad that has appeared on Benson’s Grocery for “Christ-centered university” George Fox. Its juxtaposition with the Bearacuda night banner hanging off the neighboring Eagle has been too rich to ignore.
A check of DPD records shows Benson’s permit for a non-illuminated sign expired earlier this year. Even then, many at City Hall would argue that the sign falls into the off-premise advertising category — read more at Crosscut — despite the availability of a “application for undergraduate admission” packet available on the store’s back counter.
It’s not the first time Benson’s has been in the sign business for a product in the on/off premise grey area. In the past, they’ve displayed promotions including a large banner for AT&T Wireless.
In the end, you might argue that there isn’t much difference in the two real estate revenue optimizations and CHS definitely doesn’t want to further its role as the signage tattletale of Capitol Hill. Instead, let’s put this in the long list of things the City of Seattle needs to sort out as we grow into a bigger, busier neighborhood in a bigger, busier city. The key is to make sure there’s plenty of room for Bearacudas and less room for George Foxes.