Next for Melrose and Pine: Rapha Clubhouse Seattle

(Image: Rapha)

A Rapha Clubhouse (Image: Rapha)

UPDATE 11/4/2016: Sign is up. And they're hiring. (Image: Harrison Price with permission to CHS)

UPDATE 11/4/2016: Sign is up. And they’re hiring. (Image: Harrison Price with permission to CHS)

Some four and a half years after CHS first reported that a developer had purchased the Bauhaus block with plans for a massive mixed-use apartment building, the project is nearing the end of construction and compiling its first roster of tenants to make this overhauled stretch of E Pine home. Included in the mix: a high-end cycling brand, a local skin care retailer, and a juicery.

Bauhaus, its owner now bankrupt and its cafes shuttered, of course will not return to Melrose and Pine. In its place, a global cycling brand is planning a “clubhouse.” London born Rapha is making plans to hold down the Melrose and Pine corner location the old cafe used to call home with one of its Rapha Clubhouses, part retail, part event space, and, possibly in the Seattle incarnation, part cafe.

An architect working on the project in the 200+ unit Excelsior mixed-use development with 16,000 square feet of retail space told CHS earlier this summer the shop will be “a bicycle clothing store, and might have a cafe element,” but said he could not reveal the identity of the tenant. New filings reveal Rapha and its Portland-based North American subsidiary is behind the investment.

Here’s how Rapha New York shapes up:

The all-new Clubhouse is located at 159 Prince Street and holds the entire range of Rapha products, alongside serving the finest food and coffee from the Club Cafe. Big screens show live and recorded racing, and regular events and rides make Rapha’s latest home in New York City the perfect place for the sport and culture of road riding.

Known for relatively upscale prices and boosted by ex-Nike know-how, the 12-year-old company has established a global “niche” brand with a boost from our bike-y friends in Portland:

“They appeal to a certain type of person,” said Marc Sani, publisher of the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, noting the high prices and the “cult-like” devotion of its customer base. “Rapha is not going to appeal to everybody,” Sani said, especially “if you’ve got a roll around your belly.”

Seattle now joins New York, Chicago, and San Francisco as metropolises home to Rapha Clubhouses.

In an example of the circles of history and a lesson in modern era apartment building branding, the first tenant documented of the auto row-era building at Melrose and Pine now integrated into the eight-story development was the Excelsior Motorcycle and Bicycle Company. It was worthy of branding the new building — but not worthy of landmark protection. News that the block was being acquired and lined up for development first broke in spring of 2012. The project utilizes Pike/Pine’s preservation incentives and stands eight stories above E Pine in exchange for preserving the street’s auto row-era storefronts and basic internal dimensions. It broke ground in October 2014. Melrose Market tenants complained that construction projects including the Excelsior were contributing to parking problems plaguing their small businesses.

At one point, Bauhaus was lined up for a possible return to its longtime corner. But owner Joel Radin eventually decided the new space would be too expensive and focused on the cafe’s expansion and new Capitol Hill location on E Pine. The Bauhaus chain crumbled this year, however, as Radin declared bankruptcy.

Bauhaus wasn’t the only small business displaced by the development. Retailers including Le FrockEdie’sScout ApparelVutiqueWall of Sound and Spine & Crown Books all eventually made way for the construction. Some moved. Some shuttered. The Excelsior, meanwhile, also is making space for multiple new businesses. In addition to the Rapha Clubhouse, Aesop skincare and a Seattle outlet of California’s The Pressed Juicery chain is slated for the building. UPDATE: Oops. We goofed calling Aesop “local” — “Aesop was established in Melbourne in 1987 with a quest to create a range of superlative products for the skin, hair and body…”

A handful of residents from the Pinevue Apartments were also moved prior to the construction work. When they are open to new residents, the Excelsior’s units will be available starting at around $1,600 for a studio, and $1,900 for a one bedroom apartment.

The Rapha project, meanwhile, joins hearty bike shop scene around Capitol Hill. In November, Metier opened its massive, 12,500 square-foot gym, cafe, cycling shop, and company headquarters on E Union. A month later, a crew that gathered around Seattle’s bike polo scene opened Peloton bicycle cafe and repair shop on E Jefferson just off 12th Ave, and in June custom bike and repair shop Good Weather opened up shop on the second floor of 1520 11th Ave, above Purr.

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6 thoughts on “Next for Melrose and Pine: Rapha Clubhouse Seattle

    • There is zero character or culture on the Hill compared to the 90s, and no one making less than $150,000/year can afford to live there or play there. That is not a good thing.

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