Powered by Capitol Hill Station enthusiasm, investor plans transformation of Broadway retail building

Rendering of the planned renovation

The plans reverberating from a big Broadway real estate deal last fall will mean new life for a building just a block from Capitol Hill Station. Those plans are powered by some of the same energy and enthusiasm Capitol Hill residents might feel when they get to walk or ride light rail off the Hill as the rest of the city grinds through traffic and a crawling I-5.

“It’s an incredible part of the city with the new light rail station opening,” Dhruv Agarwal tells CHS. “As the light rail network expands and traffic gets worse in Seattle, the Capitol Hill Station is going to be a hub for entertainment and neighborhood shopping.”

Those are heady thoughts for a building once home to a sex toy megastore and currently home to Capitol Hill’s only vegan punk bar. But change is underway.

Work has begun to transform the 200-block home of the Highline and empty street-level retail space Castle Megastore once held down into a renovated complex with a new entrance and an overhauled first-level restaurant or retail space. Upstairs, Agarwal said he is working to keep the Highline in the building. “They are a great tenant and we would like to continue to support what they do.”

The Highline’s ownership said they are positive about their new landlord.

True to his enthusiasm for the core of Broadway’s Capitol Hill Station-powered growth, Agarwal’s overhaul will also include converting the building’s parking garage into a bar and office space.

Altogether, the building’s new mix will have up to four suites and somewhere around 12,000 square feet of commercial space across the two story building.

In September, CHS reported on the acquisition of the building for $6.35 million by Agarwal’s “wine lifestyle brand” and marketing company True Brands. In 2013, True Brands bought the Fremont Foundry and transformed the building into office space for the company as well as events space. Meanwhile, Agarwal has also acquired event space The Ruins in Lower Queen Anne.

Currently, the plan on Broadway doesn’t include an event space component — the search is on, Agarwal says, for “cool” tenants.

For you “cool” potential tenants, here’s the Craigslist listing

But future plans might add a bit of Foundry and Ruins-type activity to the Broadway skyline. For neighborhood oldtimers, the rooftop space at one time occupied by the Club Lagoon Lamborghini is also part of Agarwal’s future plans. “We are looking at a rooftop event space, but we are going to hold on that for a couple years while we digest the Ruins,” Agarwal said.

While enthusiasm for transit and Broadway’s resurgence is good news for many, merchants in the area were nervous about rising rents even before the station opened in March 2016. For some, the paranoia has been justified — Broadway beer and bottle shop EuroPub will close this week after the owner says he balked at a proposed 31% jump in rent.

The future, meanwhile, looks bright for the 200 block of Broadway E.

“We think the foot traffic and energy of that area is going to make it one of the key destinations in Seattle,” Agarwal said.

 

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10 thoughts on “Powered by Capitol Hill Station enthusiasm, investor plans transformation of Broadway retail building

  1. This is very good news. Anytime a long-vacant space on Broadway gets a new life is good for the neighborhood…..as long as it isn’t another corporate medical clinic!

  2. Bob your comment makes me wonder what is going on with the old Broadway Grill space. That has been sitting there vacant forever. jseattle, do you have any updates on that?

    • It’s become a weekly question — really — but we’ve mostly hit walls when trying to report anything substantive. I’ll see what I can do to find out more.

  3. Re: the old Broadway Grill space.. I can’t fathom how a landlord can afford to have that much square footage stand empty. I’m guessing they’re hoping to sell the building – from the Grill space to Julia’s – to investors who will certainly tear down the whole block.

  4. The guy who owns Broadway Grill space owns many properties on Capitol Hill. Long time investor who probably uses it as a tax write off. One of his projects was “Hollywood Lofts” building and the other apartment building behind Dicks.

    He is asking 15k a month for rent and wont pay for any upgrades or repairs

    • Oh god. I didn’t realize it was the same guy. He also owns a building on Harvard & Harrison across the street from me that’s been vacant for years. Supposedly he wants to keep the exterior and create cool condos inside (similar to the Hollywood Lofts). Cool idea, but…it hasn’t happened. There’s a cracked foundation and I’m sure there are other issues, so my guess is it will sit there for another 5 years. It’s a bummer that its just sat there…. Frequently covered in graffiti and trash, and there’s been squatters living there on and off. I feel like this guy has a ton of properties all over and doesn’t have the capital (or whatever) to actually develop any of the buildings.