The Capitol Hill Block Party is coming to 15th Ave E.
Capitol Hill Housing announced Wednesday that it is working out a lease with business partners David Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse for taking over the longtime home of The Canterbury at 15th Ave E and E Mercer in the nonprofit housing developer’s Fredonia building.
CHS reported on the end of the run for the 37-year-old dive bar earlier this year as longtime Canterbury owners Stefanie and David Roberge announced they could not afford to make a bid to remain in the space after their current 10-year lease draws to a close at the end of 2013. Faced with community concern about losing the relatively affordable watering hole, the nonprofit housing developer issued “a limited Request for Proposals” to restaurateurs who expressed interest with the goal of maintaining the space as a food and drink establishment — “a comfortable, accessible, third place” suitable for “a variety of income levels.”
Meinert and Lajeunesse are longtime players in the Capitol Hill entertainment economy. While Lajeunesse has taken over the reins of the annual Capitol Hill Block Party, he and Meinert have continued to collaborate on food and drink establishments including the May opening of 24-hour diner Lost Lake.
The foray onto 15th Ave E will be a first for the duo. The eastward direction is also a bit of a trend for some of the Hill’s most notable entrepreneurs including Linda Derschang who will open Tallulah’s on 19th Ave E this fall.
Meinert and Lajeunesse were selected in part because of their community vision for the space, a statement from Capitol Hill Housing said. The statement said the duo — who also are part of ownership behind Big Mario’s New York Style Pizza, Neumos, Onto Entertainment “and other local businesses” — would like to explore keeping the Canterbury name and having an expanded family seating area.
CHH said it hopes to reach a lease agreement for the new project this summer and begin renovations in early 2014 after the Canterbury in its classic iteration says goodbye.