Capitol Hill 60 Minute Photo is going to be the latest casualty in the neighborhood’s upswing in development. La Bella Vita, a new mixed-use apartment building project has most retailers on the 14th Ave strip looking at changes when the construction begins.
60 Minute Photo, however, is not so lucky. The building housing 60 Minute Photo and Salon Dewi is slated to be demolished, and the money isn’t there to keep the beloved film developer around.
“There’s no way of relocating — it’s just financially unfeasible. The rent is so high everywhere on the Hill now,” said Raffaella Johnson, 60 Minute Photo’s manager for the past 28 years. “It’s absolutely devastating to me, it’s so sad. I have to share that we are going away every time people come in, and experience that sadness all over.”
60 Minute Photo will be leaving for good at the end of the year, which has been hard for Johnson to cope with.
“I keep telling myself that if I win the lottery before then, I would open another lab up here,” Johnson said. “It’s so hard, Capitol Hill is just going crazy with these new buildings—I’m so sick of watching the neighborhood lose its character. It’s not the same charming neighborhood I started working in 28 years ago. It’s lost it.”
Travis “The Waxing Diva” Powell of Salon Dewi is also moving on.
“I’ve been in this building 7 years, but with all this we figured it was time to leave,” Powell said.
Powell secured a lease for a new location on 11th and Pike and will be moving at the end of the summer.
“We actually still haven’t gotten an official notice from the developers. At this point, everything we know about the development is still hearsay. I have no idea when they are starting to build,” Powell said.
Other retailers also seem to be in the dark — with things seemingly up in the air, most are shuffling for solutions and are unclear as to what the future will hold. Meza will likely be closing in January, but aren’t sure if they will be relocating elsewhere. Zack Bolotin at Porchlight said things haven’t changed since his last update — Porchlight will be moving to a nearby location and moving back in the original location once construction is done. Spun and Blue Sky Cleaners are in a similar position, thinking about relocation but unsure as to where. Previous reports have made it clear, though, that the developer is looking to work to integrate interested retailers like Porchlight into the future development.
While retailers on 14th Ave are wondering what the future will hold, a new retailer is unexpectedly just opening up. According to sources, an organic, all natural spa named lull. will be moving in to the strip. A person familiar with the situation reports that the spa will only be in the location for a few months before moving to a new location on Broadway — however that report remains unconfirmed. We’ll have more on the business soon when we get a chance to talk to the owners.