Capitol Hill’s first float spa coming to 12th and Madison

IMG_8731If a counterbalance exists to Capitol Hill’s abundance of bars and restaurants, sensory deprivation therapy might be it. The neighborhood’s first flotation therapy pods are landing at the intersection of 12th, E Union and Madison as Urban Float plans to open its fifth location in the Viva Capitol Hill building.

The long wedge-shaped retail space had previously been marketed as a showcase opportunity for a bar or restaurant with at least one big project backing out after making plans for the giant wedge-shaped space.

Urban Float founder Joe Beaudry said an open date has not been set although posters for the business recently went up on Viva’s windows. “After some review and customer feedback it was made apparent that Capitol Hill with its dense demographic was a perfect location for us to expand,” Beaudry said.

In flotation therapy, customers lie in dark, sound-proof pods filled with water and over 1,000 pounds of epsom salt heated to skin temperature in order to simulate feelings of weightlessness. Therapy sessions last one to two hours.

“Floating is beneficial for pain management, stress, physical recovery and also aids in the creative thought process or complex problem solving by removing all distractions,” Beaudry said.

Viva Capitol Hill. (Image: CHS)

Viva Capitol Hill. (Image: CHS)

Testimonial videos on Urban Float’s website also ascribe a surprisingly wide range of benefits to floating in a dark, silent tub full of salt. Finding a few hours of complete silence in the heart of Capitol Hill might be the greatest miracle of all.

Since opening its first location in Fremont in 2013 — the first float spa in the city — Urban Float has expanded to three other locations with plans to open more franchises. Capitol Hill will be company’s largest location.

In 2014, finishing construction of the six-story, 105-unit mixed-use Viva building was held up over a discrepancy between the building’s approved design and its final form. The city required developer Alliance Residential to address a “color siding issue.” The 65-foot-tall building is built on lots formerly home to a paint store, a small parking lot and the legendary Undre Arms Apartments. The building’s plan stretch back to before the economic downturn of the late 2000s. Its first public design review was held in 2007. CHS first reported on it in 2009. In the meantime, the project changed hands and took years to come to fruition.

Urban Float Capitol Hill joins French pastry shop Ines Patisserie which opened in the building in 2014Likelihoodmen’s footwear and sneaker boutique,” and UK-inspired boutique salon Essensuals London in the upscale retail mix at the corner.

For more information on Urban Float, visit

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

7 thoughts on “Capitol Hill’s first float spa coming to 12th and Madison

  1. So a ‘showcase opportunity’ with windows on all sides like that will be used for a sensory depravation spa? Clearly someone either mispriced or misjudged something about the space.

    • Yes,a company that operates multiple locations has no idea how to create ;locations for its franchise. Furthermore, no technologies exist to block windows, and soundproof isolation pods have no way to block out sounds.

      These isolation pods may be a bit silly and are more toys for rich folks, but they’re not silly because they’re unable to completely isolate people from their surroundings.

  2. Side Note: The image posted is the one artistic point of the building. It was taken from the ‘sweet spot’ across the street. Angled perfectly – the building appears to only be a facade.
    When I’m walking by Mighty O I attempt to position myself to catch this view. Gives the brain a good tickle.

  3. I float about once a week in Fremont and live on Cap. Hill. I deal with chronic pain which is why I do it, but it’s amazing what it does for the mind, body, and soul. I would say don’t knock it till you try it.