Pike/Pine’s entertainment district continues to seep south. With last week’s opening of the Chophouse Row development — where Kurt Farm Shop and Niche Outside are open and Chop Shop Cafe and Bar, Upper Bar Ferd’nand and Amandine Bakery/Empire Espresso are coming soon — and the Central Agency Building — with the new Lark (and friends) as well as Canadian sandwich import Meat and Bread — the blocks between Pike and Madison are moving into a whole new phase of gentrification where dilapidated apartment buildings, old garages used as art and music studios, and parking lots are giving way to ambitious mixed-use projects.
In the middle of all this comes Likelihood, a “men’s footwear and sneaker boutique” in the new Viva building at 11th and Union. Not that long ago, this was the home of the notorious Undre Arms apartments. Thursday night, the newly opened shop neighboring Inès Pâtisserie hosted a launch party for the Spring 2015 Maiden Noir Buddy Slipper Sneaker.
CHS wrote about the project to create Likelihood back when the partners behind the venture were still working out the branding and style for the new store last fall:
Aaron DelGuzzo and Daniel Carlson see a void in men’s shoe stores in the Capitol Hill retail scene, and they aim to fill it. “The fact that there is nothing means that we need it,” DelGuzzo said.
Likelihood’s shoes are fashion focused — not athletic or urban sneakers. Many retail for between $100 and $400 a pair. Some for much, much more though the plan is to carry a few more affordable options.
As small, independent retail ventures continue to face the general challenges of the not-so-new world of online shopping, Pike/Pine retail features a handful of fashion concerns succeeding in the neighborhood. Some like Veridis ride the edge between high-end splurge and high-end hey these pants are worth it, while others like Totokaelo cruise exclusively in the $200 for a t-shirt? end of the pool. Meanwhile, Alive and Well, 35th North, and the newly installed Bait keep the E Pike dudes fully outfitted. And, of course, vintage and thrift shop on Capitol Hill will never die.
Likelihood is an upscale, fashion-first option and the store’s look follows. The 1,100 square-foot boutique was designed by architectural firm Best Practice and built by prolific contractor Method. “We designed the space to be simple, sophisticated and welcoming so we included clean finishes, left lots of open space with the high ceilings and created pockets of Likelihood will be home to an art installation by Canadian artist Kelly Mark,” the partners said in an announcement about Likelihood.
Kelly’s installation is a large neon sign. “I Called Shotgun Infinity When I was Twelve,” it reads. “Buying and wearing great shoes should be fun. What we wear can make us feel more optimistic. We want to create a space that reflects those feelings,” Carlson said in the announcement.
Next, there are more changes — and new neighbors to come — on the backside of Pike/Pine with Renee Erickson’s coming-soon Sea Creatures complex of food and drink and independent beer producer Optimism Brewing getting ready to create its first batches on E Union.
Likelihood is open at 1101 E Union. For hours and more information, check in at shoplikelihood.com.