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Panzanella space coming back to life as craft distillery — but what’s this about a hardware store?

In May, we told you about Sun Liquor’s project to become the first craft distillery on Capitol Hill. A month later, one of the city’s big media, glossy magazines reported on another player racing to be the first to be licensed and selling hooch on the Hill. They said Oola Distillery planned to be serving from a tasting room on Capitol Hill by the end of this month. They also said they’d tell readers the location of the new distillery’s shop as soon as they got “the go-ahead” from Oola. Why wait? CHS has learned from paperwork filed with the state that the old Panzanella Bakery building at 14th and Union will finally be put to use again as Oola’s new home. But wait, there’s more! We also found paperwork on file with the Department of Planning that would pave the way for some portion of the building to be transformed from its approved use as a bakery to… wait for it… a hardware store. So, what exactly is going on at 1314 East Union?

At La Panzanella
Originally uploaded by Tom Harpel

The Oola application for a distillery license is new business so that component for the East Union address appears to be a done deal. That seals up the tasting room part of things — and probably the distillery part of the business, too. We’ll check in with the man behind Oola, local art gallery owner Kirby Kallas-Lewis to find out more.

The hardware store part of the equation? That’s a puzzler. The paperwork covers two construction projects and a land use filing that would see the parcel’s official City of Seattle “use” be changed from “bakery” to “hardware store.” All of the filings are in preliminary stages which could indicate, obviously, that things are just getting started or, in some cased, could be debris left from a business deal that has fallen through. All of the names on the filings are for architectural firms so yield no clues as to what business is — or was — behind the filings.

Photo: King County records

The topic of “we need a hardware store” is a popular one on CHS even with Broadway Market QFC’s housewares department and 12th Ave’s Pacific Hardware currently serving the Hill. In a recent profile of Pacific, we also talked with a representative from True Value about the unlikelihood of his chain finding a home on Capitol Hill. That doesn’t mean the other large national chain, Ace Hardware, might not decide to plant its flag here. South Lake Union’s City Hardware  seems to be hanging in there serving the urban handy-people’s needs. At this point, all we know for sure is Oola’s home is on East Union. Whether there are plans afoot to share or create more space for a hardware store at the location is going to take some more digging. And, now is your turn to also leave a comment that CHS also needs… a bakery.

What shouldn’t be lost in this is the fact that a space left empty for four years will finally (hopefully!) be springing to life. You might read it as a sign that investors are excited about Capitol Hill’s business potential as empty spaces outside of some of the more central cores begin to fill in. Or, possibly, it was simply finally time to pair the right business — or businesses — with the space.

While we’re kicking rumors around, the piles of paperwork electronic records snuff another rumor that CC Attle’s was eyeing a project that would have combined the old Panzanella bakery with the now empty former home of Greg’s Profanity Hill/Martin’s off Madison. CC’s needs a new home, that’s for certain. Maybe they’ll want to bunk up with a craft distillery and a rumored hardware store.

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10 years ago

and quick! Something within a block or so of the Cuff and Mad pub would be best so the 3 can continue to exist together. I’m afraid if one of them goes away, the others will be soon to follow.

CC's Fan
CC's Fan
10 years ago

I second the motion to keep CC’s in close proximity to Madison Pub and the Cuff. Mad Pub is in process, if not already completed, of changing owners and the longtime manager Roland and his partner are buying the business from the current absentee owner. Business does seem to be off at these bars this past year, and you won’t find the lines or the crowds. The can’t ALL have moved to the Lobby bar…