B&W Antiques has occupied the same space on Capitol Hill for 28 years: the turn-of-the-century building on the corner of 12th and Pike.
As the property’s owner Investco Financial Corporation prepares to demolish the structure to make way for a new mixed-use development, tenants have been given their 90-day notice of displacement.
Soaring Capitol Hill rents and the potential return on investment from creating new apartment projects are forcing several businesses to find new homes or close their doors, including B&W Antiques.
“It’s a sad thing that this is happening to the Hill,” said B&W owner Bob Leeds.
Affected businesses at 12th and Pike include vintage boutique In Commune, restaurant Bombay Bistro, and the adjacent Trading Post — whose owner will reportedly be moving to Minnesota along with the business.
In Commune owner Sara Hofmann said she plans to move her clothing business online after being unable to find an affordable space to occupy.
“I’m not looking to go into major debt to move my very small business,” she said.
Hofmann said the development is part of what she sees as a troubling trend, as rapid development makes low-rent space harder to come by on Capitol Hill and around Seattle.
“It’s happening so rapidly it doesn’t feel very natural,” she said.
Though she said “not every change in the last 10 years is negative,” Hofmann said she worries that over the next few years, development will make running smaller shops like those on 12th and Pike difficult on Capitol Hill.
“Part of what allows (small operations) to happen is small spaces with low rent… well, not low, but not $35 per square foot,” she said.
Leeds said he shares Hofmann’s worry about the changing nature of Capitol Hill real estate.
“They’re crowding small businesses out of the city,” he said. “People will have to go off the Hill and out of the neighborhood to find small, independent shops.”
In Commune will be shutting down at the end of the month, while B&W antiques plans to stay open until the mid-September deadline.
In the meantime, the 12th and Pike project will unveil its final design proposal for public review in August.