It turns out that Anne Michelson’s 1905-era Pike/Pine apartment building isn’t worth the $4.65 million CHS reported she had listed the property for this summer. The Winston building — home to legendary lesbian bar The Wildrose and the Hot House sauna– has been sold to a Seattle real estate investment company for $4.3 million according to King County records for the mid-December transaction.
The proud new owner is Cadence Capital. The company already owns property on the Hill including the Whitworth Apartments and the Crest on Belmont.
The 3-story building at 11th and E Pike stands as one of the few old structures in the heart of the Pike/Pine entertainment district — and neighborhood, right neighbors? — that hasn’t been targeted for redevelopment. In addition to the bar and sauna spaces, the building contains 20 apartment units. We’ll reach out to Cadence to ask about their plans. Michelson has said in the past that she would only sell the property to a buyer who would preserve the structure.
UPDATE: The Winston is going to get a paint job — and, maybe, a new lounge on its backside. Cadence’s Chris Garvin tells CHS the near-term focus for the just acquired building is to give it a light clean-up including new paint. We suggested tenant Super Genius Tattoo advise on the project but Garvin would not commit. “This building was run pretty well,” Garvin said. “We liked it for its location and good long term value. We mainly want to make it a better building first.” Garvin said the building wasn’t purchased with an eye toward redevelopment. “We intend to operate it the way it’s been,” he said. In the near-term, other improvements will be a plumbing upgrade and better windows to help residents block out unwanted traffic noise or the sounds of the vibrant nightlife district below. There is also a large unused flat inside the building that Garvin said might make a nice lounge or speakeasy — the space is next door to the card room that was busted operating inside the Winston. But before any changes, Garvin said he’ll be talking with the retail tenants about the Winston and how best to serve the old building as it starts a new life on E Pike. And, no, at least for now, there aren’t plans for jacking up rents.
We have a message out to Michelson to see what else we can learn about her plans for her remaining holdings in the area now that she has successfully sold the Winston. This summer, she told us a sale of the building she acquired for just under $2 million in 1999 would enable her to launch restoration efforts at her other Capitol Hill holdings. “…I have several restoration projects I really want to do on the other buildings I own in the neighborhood,” Michelson wrote, “and banks these days are really impossibly tight. So I would love to have my own [capital] that selling the Winston would give me and freedom from the banks!”
UPDATE: Here’s a brief statement from Michelson on the sale:
Well, it really wasn’t what I wanted to do but the writing was on the wall, blame it on the banks and city politics. My dream was to preserve this neighborhood for the counter culture and I basically have given up. But now I am my own bank with the money from the Winston and will be able to put the money into preserving my existing old buildings and old houses on the hill.
Michelson Properties include the 1423 10th Ave building, the 1100 E Pike building and the 1115 E Pike building. Michelson also owns “a few” condos in the 1111 E Pike Tom Kundig building and three single family homes elsewhere in the area.
In October, CHS reported that Michelson’s company Crescent Down Works would be moving operations to Pioneer Square freeing up space for lease in the 1115 E Pike. That space remains available as does this Michaelson-owned rental opportunity.