Capitol Hill’s City Hall representative Kshama Sawant is facing pushback on her proposed emergency resolution to extend landmarks and historical protections to downtown music venue, the Showbox.
“Some ask: aren’t the artists and community members wanting to #SaveTheShowbox simply being nostalgic, sentimental, and anti-change?,” Sawant wrote Monday morning on social media. “The problem is very little of the change in Seattle has been on our terms as ordinary working people — it favors big corporations and the wealthy.”
Late last month, the Daily Journal of Commerce, appropriately enough, broke the news of plans for a 44-story residential tower on the 1st Ave site. Given the status of the planning, the venue likely wouldn’t be demolished for years but the outcry in the city — even with the affordability crisis still in full swing — was immediate and strong.
Monday, Sawant, citing the coming summer recess for the body and saying Seattle doesn’t need more “luxury housing,” set out to convince her fellow council members that they should back emergency action urging the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to extend protections to the Showbox and extending the historical protections of the Pike Place Market District across the street to include the music venue.
Sawant is seeking to have her proposals considered at Monday afternoon’s full council but her counterparts haven’t exactly joined the chorus with some pushing back on why the council should act without the issues first going to committee.
UPDATE: Committee it is. Monday, the council agreed to have Sawant’s proposal taken up in Sally Bagshaw’s Finance and Neighborhoods committee Wednesday afternoon.
The Showbox lies outside of Sawant’s district but the largest live music venue on Capitol Hill in her District 3 seems unlikely to need any similar protections anytime soon.
In spring 2017, CHS visited Neumos to check out its major overhaul as ownership increased its investment in the venue. The club underwent one significant upgrade in the late 90s and another in 2012 as the subterranean sibling club Barboza opened beneath. In 2014, the one-time Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room marked 20 years on Capitol Hill. In 2012, Jason Lajeunesse and partners Mike Meckling, and Steve Severin inked another 10-year-lease along with fellow club partner Jerry Everard. One key to the stability at Neumos is the club’s success. Another? It has an ace in the hole — co-owner Everard also owns the building he purchased in 1993 from the Salvation Army for $577,895.
The Showbox issue joins a summer of unusual targets of support for the Socialist Alternative party leader and veteran city council member Sawant. Last week, Sawant also began her push for a City Council resolution compelling Mayor Jenny Durkan to require living wages for emergency medical technicians as they work out a new contract with private service provider American Medical Response.
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