In face of $40M suit, Sawant plans ‘Save the Showbox’ concert at Seattle City Hall

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Capitol Hill’s District 3 rep Kshama Sawant is soldiering ahead with a “Save the Showbox” concert and rally at City Hall despited a $40 million lawsuit against the city over a surgical preservation ordinance that has temporarily staved off the sale and redevelopment of the 1st Ave venue.

Seattle husband and wife rock band Smokey Brights will headline the Wednesday, September 19th, 5:00 PM “Concert/Rally” preceding a public hearing in Seattle City Council chambers. UPDATE: The bill has grown with Sol, Sassy Black, and Dude York joining the show.

CHS reported earlier on the Sawant ordinance passed by the council and at the heart of the $40 million lawsuit from the Showbox property’s owner, a Las Vegas company owned by Seattle strip club magnate Roger Forbes. Among the arguments in the suit are allegations Sawant and other council members “engaged in ex parte communications with Save the Showbox supporters but failed to disclose those communications as required by law” and that the ordinance represents an illegal “spot zone.”  Continue reading

‘Saved’ from microhousing plan, Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments to be considered as Seattle landmark

A coalition led by Historic Seattle and residents of Capitol Hill’s Roy Vue Apartments has put the Bellevue Ave E building up for consideration for Seattle landmarks protections.

A plan for to convert the building to microhousing was stopped by a campaign led by building tenants, neighbors, and preservation advocates earlier this year.

A second report on the 94-year-old “eclectic Tudor Revival” structure was prepared at the request of property owner Alliance Multifamily Investments, according to the document (PDF) posted to the Department of Neighborhoods landmarks site. That report from July is now labeled as a “Historic Resource Report.”

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Sawant campaign to ‘Save the Showbox’ at heart of $40M lawsuit

The Kshama Sawant-championed Seattle City Council decision to “save the Showbox” by surgically sliding the 1st Ave venue under the historical protections of the Pike Place Market has the city staring down the barrel of a $40 million lawsuit and an embarrassing reversal of the ordinance.

While District 3 and Capitol Hill representative Sawant is mentioned by name only once in the 22-page suit, her political effort to stymie the planned sale and redevelopment of the property owned by strip club magnate Roger Forbes is front and center in the suit:

When politicians cater to populist calls – whether those calls are “lock her up,” “build the wall,” “ban Muslims,” or “Save the Showbox” – civil and other rights are placed at risk. Populism, and politicians’ desires to appease their loudest constituents and generate headlines must, however, yield to the rule of law. Luckily for those who prefer protection of civil, constitutional and property rights, the courts exist to preserve, protect and enforce the rule of law.

About the D3 council member herself, lawyers at the Seattle-based Byrnes, Keller, and Cromwell firm representing the property — set to be acquired by Canadian developer Onni Group to build a 44-story apartment building after demolition of the Showbox — say Sawant’s actions were an “Appearance of Fairness” violation: Continue reading

A lesson for Capitol Hill? What’s being saved when it comes to Seattle’s Showbox

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With reporting from Seattle City Council Insight

Mayor Jenny Durkan signed the “Save the Showbox” ordinance into law this week, adding the site of the music venue to the Pike Place Market Historical District for the next ten months. Though the venue is downtown and off the Hill, the efforts at City Hall will certainly ripple through the neighborhood given the importance of Pike/Pine’s remaining live music scene and the continuing pressures of redevelopment in Central Seattle. The episode might also present a framework for what needs to happen — or needs to not happen — the next time an important Capitol Hill cultural venue requires rescue.

So, what is actually being “saved” when it comes to the Showbox? Continue reading

What has bubbled to the top of ’30 ideas’ for saving — and developing — Seattle studios, galleries, and music venues

Not everything is about preservation. The new Hugo House is set to open soon on 11th Ave.

As Seattle once again wrestles with the fragility of its arts spaces in the face of continued growth, change, and development, the Seattle City Council this week heard an update on City Hall’s efforts to preserve and grow the number of studios, galleries, and performance venues on Capitol Hill and across the city.

Tuesday, the Seattle Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts Committee convened to discuss the cultural space access and stabilization project currently being undertaken by the Office of Arts and Culture (ARTS).

ARTS has been working for the past eight months to implement concepts proposed in The CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation and Preservation of Cultural Space (PDF), which was published by ARTS last year. ARTS is assessing the feasibility of the project and working on a racial equity toolkit to ensure the communities of color that will be impacted have their voices heard.

Council member Lisa Herbold, chair of the committee, expressed her support for the project and its research.

“Our ability to preserve cultural spaces is really important,” Herbold said. “It goes beyond one particular threatened cultural space and we really need to figure out what the tools are that we have available.” Continue reading

The Eldridge, preservation plus seven stories on Broadway — and in ‘the sweet spot’ of affordability

(Image: Mithun)

Local community members got the first look at plans for The Eldridge, a preservation-friendly seven-story affordable housing development on the property of the auto row-era Eldridge Tire building, located on the 1500 block of Broadway between Pike and Pine, earlier this month at a meeting of the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council.

Walter Zisette, the associate director of real estate development at Capitol Hill Housing, one of the developers of the project, said that the level of planned affordable housing is in “the sweet spot” compared to other developments in the neighborhood. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Last tip-off on Knights of Columbus gym’s home court

There are big changes coming for the 106-year-old Knights of Columbus hall at Harvard and Union. There are small changes, too.

One of those is the end of decades of pick-up basketball that have put the hall’s gymnasium to use on Monday nights. It’s a loose connection of friends and family that some players have been part of from 8th grade into their ’60s. Other players have stayed in the game long enough to set a hard — but loving — pick on their children. Continue reading

Buyer plans two new buildings to join ‘adaptive reuse’ overhaul of Knights of Columbus property

(Image: City of Seattle)

The future of Harvard Ave’s 106-year-old Knights of Columbus building is a massive adaptive reuse project sandwiched by two new apartment buildings, according to early planning by the property’s new owner, SRM Development.

The Spokane-based developer of multifamily and commercial properties struck a deal for the building and its two surface parking lots with Grand Knight Tom Joyce that will net the Knights of Columbus, Seattle Council 676 some $18.55 million, according to King County records. Continue reading

Club plans to put E Union Knights of Columbus property up for sale

Knights of Columbus, First Hill, Seattle

Depending on how you look at it, there is another historic Capitol Hill-area building lined up for sad destruction — or to be part of much needed redevelopment.

The Knights of Columbus, Seattle Council 676 will meet next week to hear Grand Knight Tom Joyce discuss one of the biggest decisions in the group’s 116 years as “a fraternal order of men dedicated in our Catholic faith” — the multi-million dollar decision to sell the Knights’ 106-year-old masonry building at the corner of Harvard and Union. Continue reading

The Royvue is not ‘saved’ but group says developer drops microhousing plans

A swell of Capitol Hill community support for the 94-year-old building, organized neighbors, and some local media coverage has apparently inspired the developers behind a plan to convert the Royvue apartment building into microhousing to back off.

The tenant-led Save the Royvue group announced the change in plans for the 34-unit apartment building in an email to supporters Monday night.

“What once seemed like an almost finalized deal between the parties involved is no more,” the group writes. “Most purchases like this are hatched under the radar and the public finds out when it’s too late. Instead, you knew a deal was brewing with a very small window of opportunity to react. They were caught completely off-guard by the community’s persistence and prompt organized response.”

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