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BMW dealership leaving Pike – UPDATED

Signs are up confirming something we’ve been hearing for a few months now — the BMW dealership on Pike is moving out leaving empty, according to the comment from gas guzzler, 28,000 square-feet of space:

Just noticed that the BMW dealer on Pike is moving to somewhere on Airport Way in a few months. The ‘For Lease’ says they have 28,000 sq ft. Don’t know if that covers just the car showroom or if it includes the service center. Either way, that’s a LOT of space coming on the market and a bunch fewer folks going out for lunch, etc.

Calls to manager Steve Bates went to voicemail.

The location of the dealership has been used for the automobile business since the early 1900s. In the late 90s, the state found contamination due to high levels of lead and motor oil and put a clean-up process in place.

Two interesting conversations this afternoon on this.

First, talked to Joe Hickey from the Washington State Department of Ecology about the state’s contamination findings at the location and the subsequent restrictions on the property. Hickey said that the contaminated material was contained but not removed. The land is subject to ongoing reviews by the state to check for any change in condition. Hickey said that in his role as periodic review coordinator, he was actually involved in the most recent review of the BMW lot and that the property checked out fine. He confirmed that the property is subject to a covenant that requires his department to be notified in the event of any transfer or development plans so no work can begin on the land without a full review of the contamination issues.

Second, I had a short chat with manager Steve Bates about timing and the decision to move. Bates said he expects to be operating in their new location on Airport Way by the end of July. BMW is leaving Capitol Hill after 20 years, he said, because it needs a 5-story building and more than 2.5 acres to sell its cars. “This space is way too small,” Bates said.

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6 thoughts on “BMW dealership leaving Pike – UPDATED

  1. I know. They’re building a very ugly new building for the dealership down here on the south side of the International District. It’s also eating up a good third of the free parking around here.

    Stupid BMWs.

  2. I manage the apartment building across the dealerships parking lot. From what I heard from my property manager is that a condo will go up on the Boylston side. I just hope that it’s not one of those ugly ass buildings again. I wonder how long that building will be vacant, with the sad real estate market right now and all….

  3. Hmm, the city did not include this site in its historic properties survey. Anyway, it would be great if someone broke up the space for a number of smaller establishments and made the middle area a nice little shared patio.

  4. Oh, well probably because the only thing left of anything old is the facade. Still, a cool facade and a creative, open space with some nice potential.

  5. Josh and others. You shouldn’t rely on the DON’s database for determining the historical value of these buildings. Even the department admits it is not complete and it was based on a windshield survey. A number of the dates of construction are incorrect.

    Much more than the facade is original: the interiors reflect the typical auto-row vernacular style and materials.