The joke is that you’re not sure it’s a joke. Tuesday morning, new signs appeared inside the former auto showroom and garage at Broadway and Union touting a new era in Capitol Hill cafe culture — Costco Coffee.
It’s not for real. Right?
On a Capitol Hill where 20,000 square-foot retail projects are a trend, and Starbucks is one air quality permit away from developing a double-roaster coffee facility — and restaurant complex — at Melrose and Pike, you could wonder. The $19.99 per gallon price might be one hint.
The building where the signs appear was most recently home to Complete Automotive. In summer of 2013, CHS reported on plans for Arizona-based Wolff Co. — already active with the Pike Motorworks project on E Pike at Harvard and Sunset Electric at 11th and Pine — was under contract and making plans to purchase the property from the Polyclinic after the medical services company decided to move forward with its development plans elsewhere on First Hill.
Wolff developers went so far as to take the property — also known as the Great Western Motors building — through the landmarks process where it was ultimately rejected by the board. But by the new year, Wolff representatives told CHS the deal was off. We’ve been watching the property since.
The prank joins the great Pine/Pike switcheroo of 2011 in the annals of Capitol Hill April Fools’ shenanigans worthy of the day.
It also may join Ada’s Technical Books and its fuzzy “Hello World” 15th Ave E yarn bombing as a fun way to announce a new project on Capitol Hill.
Whatever entity is behind the signs knows the neighborhood pretty well and went to the extra effort to also file a permit with a 4/1/2014 date to “construct structural improvements and repairs to existing commercial building, per plans.” The address listed is a Southern California commercial office park suite. The architecture firm is Olson Kundig. But we think an earlier filing with the same contact information and same architect might shed more light.
Tennant [sic] Improvement (Substantial Alteration) to single story building to change from retail use to eating & drinking establishment (tap room) and light manufacturing (brewery).
Beer? Here’s hoping Optimism Brewing has finally found its Capitol Hill home. Cheers!
UPDATE: And, yes, it’s beer.
UPDATE x2: The joke is double-funny. Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, The couple behind Optimism Brewing previously lost out to coffee giant Starbucks in their bid to build a brewery at Melrose and Pike.