Las Vegas developer planning purchase, overhaul of Odd Fellows building

It appears that someone may be taking up the owners of Capitol Hill’s Odd Fellows building on their $30 million offer. CHS has learned that a Las Vegas-based developer is listed as the “contract purchaser” in paperwork for a much-needed major overhaul of the 1908-built commercial building at 10th and Pine.

Jon Midby, vice president for property acquisition for the Midby Companies, a developer of commercial properties and housing including Seattle’s Escala condominium tower, is the listed owner for the project still in its earliest stages to convert the use of some of the space inside Odd Fellows, add a new elevator, as well as improving accessibility, and “life safety improvements.”

Midby and the development company that has been developing multifamily and commercial properties in Seattle since 2004 did not respond to CHS calls and messages about the project and purchase. The agent representing the property tells CHS it remains on the market.

The early planning around the project doesn’t mean the deal is anywhere final. Potential developers frequently include the period required to finalize permitting as part of the deal process to determine costs before slapping down millions for a property. Included in the paperwork for the planned overhaul of the Odd Fellows are questions about possible seismic work that could be necessary on the 109-year-old building. CHS reported last April on how an expanded list of seismically risky buildings and the cost of overhauls could spur a new development wave on Capitol Hill.

CHS reported in November on the $30 million “buy, sell, or trade” offering of the property by developer Ted Schroth who acquired the building for $8.5 million in 2007. CHS wrote here about the transformation of Odd Fellows from a neglected but well-used home for arts groups and performance spaces into its current mix of a historic building filled with retail, food and drink, and offices. The Century Ballroom, the only arts organization to remain in the 100-year-old space after an exodus of tenants, is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout February with a series of special events and dances.

Velocity Dance, Freehold Theatre, Reel Grrls, Annex Theatre, and the Seattle Mime Theatre were among the varied organizations that once called the Odd Fellows home. Today, the building is home to the Pike/Pine morning, noon, and night cafeteria to Capitol Hill Oddfellows, retailers Fleet FeetNube, and Brenthaven, Century and its sibling bar and restaurant The Tin Table, and a Cal Anderson-adjacent Molly Moon’s.

One retailer is on the move. The Brenthaven “flagship” store will close later this month, company officials say, so the provider of “innovative, high-quality cases” for electronics and computers can intensify “cost efficiency efforts” and “focus on its growing K-12 Education channel”–

“The decision to close the Flagship store is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our other channels,” said Scott Armstrong, CEO of Brenthaven. “We opened the flagship store to increase our brand awareness and after three years, we’ve accomplished our objective and are ready to move forward. We want to thank our Seattle customers for the support over the years and we wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

Meanwhile, a new space will soon sprout new retail life. There’s a new shop opening up next to Molly Moon’s featuring a new local retailer, CHS is told.

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10 thoughts on “Las Vegas developer planning purchase, overhaul of Odd Fellows building

  1. I just hope the new owner doesn’t try to raise the rent and kick out century ballroom… that would be a disaster for the Seattle dance community.

    So many arts and community spaces have closed or been forced to move because of development.

    The phrase “convert some existing assembly spaces” especially sounds scary. That and it being a Las Vegas developer. Maybe they will replace Century with some shitty night club.

    • The Century Ballroom has to be one of the oldest used-for-original-purpose spaces in the city. Could we start a historical preservation movement for it on those grounds? Like, *right now* to make clear to potential buyers what they’re buying?

  2. Yeesh….Jon Midby is not a great guy. Just ask some of the people in sales who worked for him on the Escala building. Worst possible buyer for this beautiful building. Oh well.

    • I too am worried that the possible purchaser is Midby. I don’t have any experience or knowledge of how he conducts himself in business dealings, but just one glance at Escala is enough to make me concerned for the lovely and historic Odd Fellows building. The fact that Escala was developed by someone from Las Vegas explains the cheap glitz look that it has.

    • It was a local interior designer they hired that did the strange mix of styles and “cheap glitz” as I recall. I don’t think the two sons, John and Eric, were involved in the Escala development anyway.

  3. $30,000,000 purchase price pencils assuming monthly cash flow of roughly $125,000 which means rents are probably going UP.

    $30M*0.05= $1.5M /12 months= $125K/month