The Rose has a new landlord: E Pike’s Winston Apartments finds a $4.3 million buyer — UPDATE

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.

12 thoughts on “The Rose has a new landlord: E Pike’s Winston Apartments finds a $4.3 million buyer — UPDATE

  1. Justin – do the math. Add up the rents that building collects minus the taxes and the maintenance it pays, and the $4.3 million purchase price only makes sense if rents are to dramatically increase or the building gets replaced with one with many new units. Street level retail rent across the street is $35 psf. How long will it be before The Rose and other tenants are asked to pay similar rents?

  2. totally crying over this. Gotta agree with Abouttogo, the Winston as it’s been is history. And most likely so is our only girl bar, sigh.

    Thanks Anne for all you’ve done for Pike St over several decades.

  3. Although it’s a bit more understated, Tommy Gun is also a lesbian bar (near Bleu Grotto / Stumbling Monk). It’s more low key but still awesome.

  4. Please encourage everyone you know to patronize this iconic Seattle tavern. Welcome the new owners of the Winston Bldg. and let them see for themselves that The Wildrose deserves a long lasting place on the Hill without unrealistic rent increases!

  5. I lived in the Whitworth when Cadence took ownership. Here’s what will happen: if you’re not on a lease, expect your rent to go up about 30%, more if you won’t sign a new lease. Empty units will be renovated with cheap fixtures and stainless appliances and cheap tile while “preserving” the character of the building. No real improvements will be made, but expect your water to be shut off on a regular basis while things are uPgraded. They will nickel and dime tenants as much as possible. I was on a lease, but new tenants were suddenly being billed for the gas to heat the radiators. The Whitworth was a nice, quiet old building that quickly became an enclave to young hip kids with money to burn. I saw a lot of people, some quite old and long-term residents, have to move out due to drastic rent increases. My advice to those living in the Winston: Start apartment hunting. Trust me, you’re gonna want to move anyway.

  6. I think they’d face a huge outcry if they tried to replace that building since it has significant historic value, and there’s only so much they can do to improve the interior. New windows are great for apartments, but what can they do for the retail spaces that would justify such a huge increase?

    Don’t you think we’d see the parking lot to the south developed first? It is twice the size, after all.

  7. Seems like a bargain at that price. Payment is probably under 30k/mo and they should easily make that with the current rent roll. I would be surprised if the project wasn’t already in the black w/o any adjustments.

    If the commercial tenants have a lease in place they have nothing to worry about, if they don’t, well, that’s just bad business.

    Landlords are in the business of making money off their land, they prefer longer leases so they don’t have to worry about vacancies and turn over. Typically they do not like risk, and a long stable tenant is much better than a shorter higher risk tenant.

    If you are unwilling to sign a long lease, then unfortunately, you run the risk of losing your business to someone that has money and wants your space. Pay me now, or pay me later, but you will pay.

  8. I’m surprised that old wood frame structure hasn’t burned down, what with all the hipsters smoking out front along Pike Street. Navigating this Hipster Gauntlet several times every day is probably cutting a few years off my lung’s life.

    And I hear the building to the south across the parking lot, Madison Park Greetings, is for sale and several offers have been entertained…

  9. Anne Michelson has neglected properties because she neglects them, not because banks won’t loan her money to maintain them. Her tenants have suffered no heat in the dead of winter, rotting windows, rats, backed up sewage, and clogged/leaky gutters for long periods of time (years) and these items only receive attention when tenants finally threaten to call the city. Why do they put up with it? – because her properties are in highly desirable neighborhoods.

    If property owners maintain dwellings regularly and timely instead of neglecting them then the cost of repair does not increase to needing huge loans.