With snow and ice coating Capitol Hill — and more on the way — it might be a nice idea to snuggle in with a good movie at home. If you’re a Broadway Blockbuster customer, you had better enjoy it while you can. According to store employees with permission to talk about the closure, the financially troubled chain is shutting down its Broadway location in mid-February.
The store at 1514 Broadway will operate as normal for a while longer until a liquidation begins on January 23rd, we’re told. We’ve asked for more information about the closure from Blockbusters corporate parent, Denver-based Dish Network, but they’re still checking into what they can tell us.
No details were provided on the number of employees who will be without jobs from the Broadway Blockbuster’s closure.
What comes next for the 7,400 square-foot retail store is unknown. Land owner Robert Rahe has applied for a permit to convert office space behind the Blockbuster and its Taco Del Mar neighbor into retail space. Rahe has some challenging tenants these days as the Mexican food chain entered bankruptcy in 2010. We’ve also found a permit for the retail building for a “Natural Smoke” business — presumably a smoke shop is lined up for at least part of the building. The most recent tobacco shop to open on Broadway was Seattle Cigar & Tobacco in part of the old Bailey Coy space.
The Blockbuster closure is part of a nationwide shuttering of the video rental locations as Dish cuts costs and cuts bait on a business model that no longer seems to scale for the big chains. Other Seattle-area closures include West Seattle. Video rental isn’t just a challenging business for the big guys with the growth of Netflix and Red Box. We reported on the shutdown of 15th Ave E’s Video Connection in 2010. But when the big guys go, they go fast and can leave a sizable gap. The Broadway retail space abandoned by Hollywood Video following its middle-of-the-night departure in November 2009 remains empty two years later.
Not everybody has given up on rental, however. Third Man Video moved to E Pine from Pioneer Square in January 2010. And indies 15th Ave Video and Broadway Video continue to serve their areas of the Hill.