After 15 years on E Pike, Capitol Hill’s Samadhi Yoga planning 2014 closure changes

The studio's giant windows rise above the rush of 12th Ave (Image: CHS)

The studio’s giant windows rise above the rush of 12th Ave (Image: CHS)

-2UPDATE (2/20/14): It seems Samadhi Yoga was down, but not out. After we reported on the planned closure of the 15-year-old studio, owners tell CHS that new partners and possibly a new tea shop will keep the doors open for the foreseeable future. CHS will update once Samadhi owners finalize their plans. In the meantime, yoga on.

Here’s our original report:

On an eclectic E Pike block that has seen its fair share of change, Samadhi Yoga has been a mainstay. But after 15 years, the 12th and Pike yoga studio announced it will be shedding its unique brick-and-mortar incarnation. In a letter sent out in early November to members, Samadhi co-owner Steve Davis said the business had become unsustainable:

Demand for our offerings has decreased as the competition has increased along with lack of parking … We will be closing our doors in spring at the end of our lease because we are tired and undercompensated. We are happy to move into a new adventure. While we are sad to see the brick-and-mortar manifestation of Samadhi coming to an end, we are looking forward to being free from this burden to pursue other avenues of interest.

Davis, who runs Samadhi with his wife Kathleen Hunt, tells CHS the studio will be open until April 2014. According to Davis, the yoga studio had been on a year-to-year lease since it opened. Back then, yoga was just starting to make big waves and Samadhi was among the first facilities in the neighborhood.

“When we moved into the area 15 years ago, it was almost a ghetto. It was Cafe Paradiso, The Comet, and Ballet … and some strip joint,” he said. “(Now) it is so popular with restaurants and bars, which is good, but it’s a crowd that wants to drink and party.”

The spacious yoga studio at 1205 E Pike features towering 16-foot ceilings and classic finishes. In addition to the studio space, Samadhi also operates a yoga retail shop. Next door, retailer Wall of Sound recently moved in.

“It’s more space than a yoga business can afford to have anymore,” Davis said. “You really need to cut back and just have the space for the studios.”

Parking has also been an increasing problem for Samadhi’s 400 to 600 weekly class participants.

According to Davis, the building’s owner has put the property up for sale. The telephone number listed for the owner’s real estate business is currently disconnected. Davis said he and his wife would like to keep a studio on Capitol Hill, but they have no plans to do so right now. “It’s hard in someways, but there’s always something bittersweet about a business closing,” he said.

23 thoughts on “After 15 years on E Pike, Capitol Hill’s Samadhi Yoga planning 2014 closure changes

  1. I will be sorry to see them go. That is my favorite studio in the area.

    Last paragraph: “According to Davis, the building’s owner has put the property up for sale.”

    Sigh…

    • I think it’s a sign of the *changing* nature of yoga and other bodywork culture. There have always been tons of yoga studios in cap hill, but all the new ones (and the new non-yoga fitness places – barre3, crossfit, etc) are very clean and corporate. The look of the place is as important as the product they are providing, and it’s definitely a product. The market is responding to that.

      I think it sucks – I love going to Samadhi, the feel of that studio is excellent, and the teachers are great. But I wonder if a lot of their clientele has been priced out of the hill, and the newbies are looking for something shinier.

      I’m as bummed about this as I was about the Canterbury and the Comet. Possibly more.

      • Not all of Samadi’s business comes from customers walkable to the neighborhood. It may be transit-connected, but it’s naive to think customers from Central District, Madison Valley, Madrona, Leschi, etc. will take a bus to their yoga class and home. Especially since they’d typically be doing this evenings or weekends, when buses are fewer less frequent. It’s equally silly to think people will routinely pay $5-8 or more for parking 2 or 3 times a week. They’ll just go to places closer to their homes where they can walk or park.

    • For those Capitol Hill hipsters who claim the steady elimination of parking has no consequences for small businesses….well, maybe you’d better think again.

  2. that was one of my favorite intersections of the neighborhood. it’s really sad to see all of the businesses closing. you can’t sustain a livable neighborhood on only restaursants and bars.

  3. There were tons of cool, independent businesses in this neighborhood (Pine/Pike) 15 years ago – it wasn’t “a ghetto.”

    Pistil Books, Delicious Music, Venus, Dundee Books, Tattoo You, Multi-lingual Books, Vintage Voola, Penny & Perk, Antiquarium, Funk You, Toys in Babeland, Chicken Soup Brigade Thrift Store…. Just to name some of the non-bar/restaurant businesses.

    Still, I will miss Samadhi.

    • There were a lot of cool and funky daytime businesses in Pine/Pike back then. I loved Vintage Voola and also Hello Gorgeous (also vintage clothes), which had relocated from Pike Place Market.

      I don’t remember the “…some strip joint” mentioned by Davis. Where and what was that?

      • The only one I can remember was the male strip club, Mr. Paddywacks, which was pretty awesome. It was where that sports bar on Pike & Harvard is now (99 Slide, I think it’s called).

        Yeah, 15 years ago Pike/Pine had lots of great non-bar & restaurant businesses. I don’t remember it being a ghetto at all. I especially miss Pistil with its large zine section.

      • Yes, it’s true there were other cool businesses around, but most were west of 12th. East of 12th was a little ghetto with the exception of Elysian (had recently opened) and Picoras Pizza on Madison. On Pike, east of 12th was a place called Exotic Tan, which had a sign with a sexy female figure, which seemed like a low key strip joint of some kind.

    • I used to work for Multilingualbooks. Some of our office was the front part that Samadhi took over and Bluebird Ice Cream.
      Good days then. The folks at Samadhi were friendly. I wish them the best.

  4. What a shame. In the last eight years it’s become yoga studio mania up here. Inevitably most of them are going to go down. It’s sad that it’s one of the better independent studios. But it was bound to happen.

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    • In the article I told Brian I thought if was for sale, as one of our students, a local architect, had informed us that she saw it was for sale several years ago. We figured this was why the owner was never willing to give us a long term lease. However, according to the building owner, it is currently not for sale.

  7. Because the Hill is attractive, people are moving in. Because housing is scarce, prices are,going up, making old buildings a target for speculation, rents go up, tenants leave and the building gets redeveloped.

    to reduce expenses
    1) make capitol hill less attractive for people to move in. Not harder, that doesn’t reduce demand.
    2) increase offer faster than demand

    to increase revenues
    3) shop more often
    4) increase the number of customers, improve transportation, build some off street parking, build more houses near the businesses

    of course, as individuals there’s little we can do, as a collective we could do something but I’m afraid we wouldn’t reach an agreement before we become the next beltown

  8. Samadhi Yoga will not be closing. This article is really causing a lot of negative publicity for as we have recently agreed to keep the center going thru 2014 with new management that is planning on increasing the space and adding a tea shop. Since the article is no longer accurate and therefore irrelevant it should be removed.

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