After more than 20 years on E Pike, Edge of the Circle loses lease

“The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.”

When landlords can say goodbye to a 20+ year retail tenant without a new business lined up to take the space, the good times in Pike/Pine must be very good.

Edge of the Circle, Seattle’s source for paganism and the occult, has lost its lease on E Pike, owner Robert Anderson tells CHS.

“He told me, we’ve been thinking about different business strategies and we’ve decided we want to do something else with the lease. We want yo to move. We’re choosing not to renew the lease,” Anderson said about a painfully awkward conversation with a property manger representing the company that purchased The Ludlow, the 700-block E Pike building home to Edge and a variety of Capitol Hill-flavored businesses, last year. You can read more of the play-by-play of the way in which Anderson found out his bookstore and emporium was getting the boot here via the Slog which broke the news about the situation Thursday. Anderson tells CHS he only found about the change Wednesday — he now has until August to move out, and find a new home for the shop.

IMG_1852-600x400

Anderson tells CHS he has been in a month to month lease situation in the building after his longterm lease with the Ludlow’s previous owners ran out. When those longtime owners sold the property in September for $7.5 million, Anderson said the new owners told him to hang tight and that they planned to keep things as they were.

Wednesday’s news comes as a shock and has Anderson wondering what exactly was behind the ouster. “In 20 year, I’ve always paid my rent,” he said. “The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.”

IMG_1883-600x900 IMG_1875-600x400Anderson said the new owners raised rents “slightly” and are planning to rebrand the building The Hudson. Across the street, construction is moving into the final phases on the massive Pike Motorworks mixed-use development that is transforming the shell of a former BMW dealership and garages into a project with 260 market-rate apartment units, and nearly 20,000 square-feet commercial space for shops and restaurants. Nearby, the former Mercedes dealership is getting similar treatment and the corner where 95 Slide now stands has been sold and is also being lined up for development. The changes are flowing up and down Pike. CHS reported that Kit and Ace, an ambitious new “technical luxury” retailer from the Lululemon empire will open its Seattle store on the street this fall. And a giant, 10,000 square-foot mystery retailer is lined up to join the Mercedes development.

A representative for the new ownership of Edge of the Circle’s building described the company as “funded by private investors and locally managed” by Timberlane Partners, “a Seattle-based investment group.”

According to state records, the various corporations involved include New York-based Crosby Capital, “a diversified real estate investment firm” with investment criteria including “deal size” between $1 million and $100 million.

John Chaffetz of Timberlane tells CHS the plan is “to emphasize the character of the building with minor cosmetic changes, primarily to the exterior. He said the Edge space is coveted by businesses wanting to be part of the block. “We’ve received tremendous interest in the space and we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live,” he said.

Chaffetz said the opportunity from the demand lead to the decision to drop Edge of the Circle. “It’s the space in the building we’ve had the most interest in from folks, and so we made the tough decision to explore other possible tenants,” he said via email Friday morning.

CHS contacted many of the owners of the other businesses in the building which include The Honey Hole, Alive and Well, Sal’s Barber ShopBabeland, and Stitches sewing and craft supply. Most expressed surprise at the news Anderson had lost his lease and all said they would be sorry to see him go.

“They’ve been awesome,” Sean London said of his longtime neighbor at The Honey Hole. “Robert is about the nicest guy I’ve met on Capitol Hill”

“He’s done really well to hang with all the changes,” London said. “It seriously breaks my heart — it’s really happening to a good person.”

Edge of the Circle will live on, Anderson promises. It has moved before. CHS visited “Capitol Hill’s magickal Edge of the Circle” in 2013 and talked with the owner about the history of the shop including its start in “a hallway downtown” and “a shack on 14th and Union, which has since been torn down.” Anderson told CHS he started at Edge as a customer and then a volunteer before taking over the store.

The business moved to E Pike in early 1994, Anderson said and has been serving customers on Capitol Hill ever since. “It’s their magickal grocery shopping,” he told CHS in 2013, “and I’d better not run out of whatever they need for that magickal ritual, tonight. I’ve learned.”

Anderson said he would like to re-open in the area but he knows that finding a space on Capitol Hill with a lease he can afford would take, well, magick.

“I’d love to,” Anderson said. “If you know somebody with a space, send them down.”

UPDATE: You can also help by doing some shopping.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

36 thoughts on “After more than 20 years on E Pike, Edge of the Circle loses lease

  1. This statement is bullcrap:

    “We’ve received tremendous interest in the space and we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live,” he said.

    Does he live in the neighborhood? Just because there is interest in renting out a place, is that justification to move a business out? Edge of the Circle is the one shop of it’s kind on the hill. I’m sure this spot is now going to be a vap store or another bar. Is that exciting and new? I am very sad.

    Also, what the hell is “technical fashion”.

    • Ditto. I always appreciated walking past it, or maybe poking my head in once in a while. I know a few people who visited and gave the place high praise. There’s nothing like it in this area. Sigh.

  2. I’m really sorry to hear this. My sympathies to the owner for this extremely difficult and sh@tty situation. Maybe it’s time to cast a few new spells.

    It’s so hard to see the old Capitol Hill be destroyed bit-by-bit.

  3. Just another example of how the rich and greedy are taking over and ruining everything. I love the diversity of Seattle, especially Capital Hill. These rich developers are ruining all of that. Pretty soon you will have to be a multi-millionaire to even be in Seattle.

  4. I’ve only been in the Edge of the Circle once, many years ago, but I always appreciated it being there. It’s the kind of thing that attracts interesting people and makes a neighborhood worth visiting. I hope they find a space not too far away. Maybe one of the owners of another new shiny box understands they could benefit from having them in their building. The more mono-cultured Capitol Hill retail locations become, the less sustainable the district will be for businesses of all kinds.

    • I’m not sure about this “sustainable” thing that gets bandied about so much these days as it seems to me that nothing is sustainable indefinitely, and if there is a constant out there, it’s change.

      However when that change is to something corporate and standardized, everything just gets a bit dull and lacking character. I think Capitol hill became a symbol of a certain something and that’s what’s being cashed in on, meanwhile the golden goose of what it is that made it capitol hill – the people of all walks – are unable to afford life there any longer. The people are still around, Capitol hill is just no longer on Capitol hill.

  5. Anger doesn’t matter, the banality of evil rolls on. Developers and property managers just doing their jobs. And out goes a flagship of 20 years, a part of why this property was ever in demand in the first place.

    • Anger does matter. Often it is righteous and becomes the fuel behind social change. Evil will always exist but so will forces for good and we must continue to be the Good Witch whenever possible.

  6. “We’ve received tremendous interest in the space and we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live,” ”

    You mean like the business that you’re evicting?

    • Right, I mean there’s so many occult and magic shops around. Why not stick something edgy and different in, like a coffee shop where you can sit out and look at all the other coffee shops while reading your magic book… oh but wait.

  7. Just when I thought the hill couldn’t get less sincere and unique, LuluLemon under a completely marketed hipster name?!?!

    I Edge of the Circle was never my thing, personally, but I feel like the store was such a lovely neighbor and representative of the quirky, open nature of the hill.

    If this happens to our Twice Sold (like it did in the U District), I will lose my shit.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear the news. When I had office space back in the early 90’s, we got booted out of building for renovations and were invited back at triple the rent. While I haven’t been a customer of yours, I’ve walked by your shop every day for years. In fact, I will again today.

    I hope you’re able to find something nearby without too much difficulty.

  9. If the new owner of the building were Christian (or any other faith that rejects Paganism and the occult) and they have a problem with the nature of the business they lease to, is that a legally justifiable reason to not renew the lease?

    I hope that this store is able to find a new location, as it seems so well suited for our neighborhood. Having said that, I don’t recall ever stepping foot inside the store, but I might just be going for a walk this afternoon and seeing what the spirits conjur up for me!

    • I don’t believe it has anything to do with Christianity. I have a feeling the new owner’s religion is spelled M-O-N-E-Y.

  10. So the future of the hill will be decided by $ from other places and developers that don’t live on the hill and only want to cash in. The people whom have grown a business, and been a part of the Hill for decades get the boot. The people who live here (used to before rents skyrocketed) Do they have any input? Has Seattle spoken up at all? Is small business in Seattle and Capitol Hill valued at all? I used to love the hill, but to see all the character be sucked out by developers is really depressing. Seattle DPD has been criminally negligent in granting building permits/ demo permits (no doubt raking in the fees with a greedy chuckle) and have not coordinated with other departments or the neighborhood to explore the impact of the out of control growth they have permitted (And profited heavily from)

  11. Your right irate. What they are doing is legal and has been going on fast and slow for a 150 Years. There was a time when only the most wealthy built many
    huge homes on CH. Most are gone. Can’t turn back the clock. The CH I knew of 40 years ago is long gone. We had ours for a while, and then it’s over.

  12. I want to understand where businesses are going to go. I’m over Capitol Hill and want to understand where those of us with the old Capitol Hill spirit will relocate too. Besides out of state. Now let’s all take a moment to imagine Capitol Hill 3 years from now. Want to move out even more now?

    • They don’t relocate, they just spread out and vanish. The party your looking for has had last call and is over. Somewhere, some low rent place will get the bohemian culture, a newer younger one, and it will become popular and the changes and the rent will go up again. Still trying to turn back the clock?

    • If you really have the “Old Capitol Hill spirit”, you don’t have to ask that question. You either already know where it’s relocating, or you’re taking it there yourself. Urban Pioneering isn’t rocket science. It just takes creativity and individualism. Otherwise you’re just following the crowd. And that, fundamentally, is what everyone here is bitching about.

  13. No, I’m wondering where in Seattle what you’re describing is/will happen? Or if there’s any room left? And if not, then what city would be the best parallel for a neighborhood like that?

    • If anyone knew that the developers would already be there. No one even knows it happening until its over and someone slaps a tag on it. The Beats in N.Y. Hippies in S.F. The CH your nostalgic about was the changes I hated to see in the CH I’m nostalgic about. The Beat moves on, Man.

  14. So let me just check this — you’re kicking out a longtime local small business that absolutely reflects the spirit of Capitol Hill because “we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live.” Bull. Call it what it is, coward.

  15. sad. one of the few blocks in the country to have a tarot card reading, bbq, beer, haircut, buy knitting needles and a dildo all in one trip.

  16. We all know that compost makes fine soil out of lobster shells. Developers are an analog for the bacteria that do this. For sure they want the money. Bacteria have to be fed, but the process is necessary.

  17. I think it’s sort of ironic that so many people are bemoaning the loss of this retailer, yet none of you are actually saying “I shop there all the time”. (BTW, I have nothing against them. Just find it odd).

    • Do you visit the Downtown Seattle library all the time? If it closed would you bemoan the loss of it? Do you visit Pike Place Market all the time? If it closed would you bemoan the loss of it?

      And the converse. Do you visit QFC all the time? If it closed would you bemoan the loss of it?