We might soon live in a world without a Broadway sex shop. CHS has learned that the Phoenix, Arizona-based company behind Castle Megastore is making plans to open in the heart of Pike/Pine in the space of a former tattoo parlor neighboring lesbian bar The Wildrose.
Company officials have not yet confirmed the plan or if they intend to close the existing Capitol Hill store where Castle president Mark Franks had told CHS in 2013 he wanted to move the shop due to public safety issues on Broadway and the poor maintenance of Castle’s building. By January 2014, the shop was still operating on Broadway and staff said the plan was to stay.
Now, according to construction permits recently filed with the city, Castle is lining up the former E Pike home of Super Genius tattoo for a full buildout to “reconfigure [the] lower floor” of the building “for ‘Castle Megastore’ retail shop.” Last November, Super Genius pulled up stakes after 10 years on E Pike and moved around the corner to a new home on 10th Ave.
The below-street grade level shop will be approximately 2,000 square feet and is being planned with a base construction budget of $50,000 for the buildout.
The changes to the 1905-built apartment building at the corner of 11th and E Pike continues a slow evolution started with its $4.3 million purchase by Cadence Capital from local landowner Anne Michelson in 2012. At the time, the company said it intended to continue to operate the building as Michelson had and inked longtime tenant Wildrose to a lease extension to keep the lesbian bar in place through 2015. Meanwhile, the development of 11th Ave is a showcase — and sometimes comically tangled — example of Pike/Pine’s frantic pace of development with six new buildings being planned or constructed within three blocks.
The Phoenix-headquartered Castle operates stores in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest regions from Albuquerque to Fairbanks. The first store opened in 1987.
Castle will arrive on E Pike amid a thriving and sometimes tumultuous Pike/Pine nightlife economy. Gay night spot The Lobby Bar, now on the search for a new Capitol Hill home, appears to be a recent victim of the shift to more mainstream offerings in the neighborhood. We suspect the Woo! Girl might prefer Castle over nearby longtime Pike/Pine purveyor of kink, The Crypt. But we like the odds in any battle with E Pike’s Babeland which celebrated its 20th anniversary on the Hill in 2013.
Beyond changing nightlife in the area, the new store is also set to join changing daytime uses on E Pike. In November, the new Out of the Closet thrift store and the new home AHF Pharmacy joined Lifelong in a new retail, health, and office facility across the street from where Castle is making plans to move in.