Minimalist but friendly, Blu Dot is bringing one its few worldwide showrooms to an auto row building on Capitol Hill that has been home to furniture before.
CHS has learned that the Minneapolis-headquartered furniture, design, and lifestyle brand will open a Seattle showroom on the corner of Pine and Crawford Place in the Colman Automotive building that is currently a whir of construction activity for a seismic overhaul and tenant upgrades. The work will create the new Blu Dot store and a new restaurant project lined up to neighbor it as well as a rooftop bar. The building was the longtime home of original and vintage furniture concern Area 51.
There are currently only
five Blu Dot showrooms around the world. The most recent addition opened in Chicago this winter. UPDATE: “Blu Dot currently has six stores in the U.S. and nine stores globally,” a company rep tells CHS.
Company officials have not yet confirmed their plans with CHS but permits with the City of Seattle indicate that the deal is done with building owner Hunters Capital and early paperwork is in for the retail tenant improvements to the 1910-built building. Los Angeles-based Standard Architecture and Design is listed as the architect for the project.
A Hunters Capital representative declined to comment on the Blu Dot plans.
Blu Dot is known for its architectural and sculptural approach to “contemporary modern” consumer furniture design and has done battle in the marketplace and in the courts with the likes of Design Within Reach and more.
Area 51 exited the Colman last year as the building prepared to move into a “re-tenanting” phase with three to five new tenants and 10,000 square feet of office space. A project titled “Rory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar” is part of the plans and will add a restaurant with roof deck component to the mix.
The seismic overhaul and full rehab of the Colman Automotive building on E Pine at Bellevue that it acquired for $3.85 million in 2012 is the latest major investment in its portfolio of auto row-era properties for Capitol Hill-based Hunters Capital. Completed in 1910, Hunters says the 20,000-square-foot masonry building was originally designed as a garage housing a variety of auto-related businesses that also included Cox Motor Car Co., Reo Truck, Co., Robert Taylor auto repair and the United Motors Co. Inc. The building is listed on a roster of Pike/Pine properties that cannot be demolished under the neighborhood’s preservation incentive program.
Before Area 51, the building was once home to something called Video Supermarket — hence the huge, no longer lit neon VIDEO sign that until recently hung from the building’s Pine front. The Bellevue side was also home at one time to Moroccan restaurant Mamounia.
Hunters Capital has planned for the building to reopen with its new businesses by summer.