The geolocation-twisted 15th Ave Garage won’t be returning to E Pine after all, and probably won’t be going back to its original location on 15th Ave either.
While the longtime Capitol Hill auto repair shop had plans to return to a renovated space inside the nearly complete Harvard and E Pine development known as The Cue, owners Alice and Jay Demise say the space turned out to be unsuitable for auto repair.
During construction, developers didn’t leave enough room for three car lifts or the ability for cars to adequately maneuver, according to the owner’s architect Anjali Grant.
“The architects who did the shell and core probably weren’t paid to look at tenant improvement,” Grant said.
GUYS GUYS GUYS THE BILL'S SIGN IS UP pic.twitter.com/DreOqDVaED
— Seattlish (@seattlish) July 14, 2015
Alice Demise isn’t bitter about the situation, though she said she is sad to leave Capitol Hill. “The whole building is a great, positive thing for the neighborhood. Everyone tried, the intentions were really good,” she said.
Yes, the 15th Ave Garage did start out on 15th Ave in the early 1950s. When the family-owned garage was forced to move in the 1980s, the owners wanted to make sure their customers could still find them. Demise admitted that opening a shop with the same name in Georgetown or south Seattle could even further confuse new customers, but there’s also something undeniably charming about carrying on the misnamed tradition.
Seattle developer Denny Onslow had planned to keep the garage along with the two other preexisting businesses, Bill’s Off Broadway and cycle shop Red Label Moto. Bill’s, a much-loved pizza and bar spot, will open back at the corner it called home for 39 years this summer — in plenty of time before the kick-off on the 2015 NFL season.
The Cue benefited from an older overlay incentive program which granted the project an extra floor of height in exchange for preserving the 93-year-old structure. The building was not deemed worthy of deeper landmarks protection in an earlier ruling.
One upside is the garage door built into the space in anticipation of the auto shop’s return could still be put to good use, with plenty of examples to draw from around Capitol Hill. Demise said she and her husband are happy to pass the space on to someone else as they consider new locations.
“We wanted to serve the neighborhood well,” Demise said. “We feel really good for being there for so long.”
Meanwhile, the block is humming along with work on nearby projects. Construction continues at the massive Pike Motorworks building in an ambitious preservation project and development that will take up most of the surrounding block with spaces for retail, restaurants and hundreds of apartments. Developer Wolff Co. is busy bringing nearly 300 apartments to market and filling 19,000+ square feet of retail in the development.