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Bauhaus has deal to stay at Melrose and Pine

In a move that will delight lovers of a good Capitol Hill cup of coffee and more thoroughly complicate the situation around a planned development set to transform a block of E Pine into a new mixed-use development, the owner of Bauhaus tells CHS he has a deal worked out to return the nearly two decade-old cafe to the preserved portion of the Melrose Building when the new project is complete.

“It looks like Bauhaus will be back,” Joel Radin tells CHS. “The building is going to look the same when it’s all said in done.”

Radin said it’s too early to say what the plan for Bauhaus will be once construction begins on the project in the coming year or so but he confirms that the Melrose Building’s new owners have made a place for Bauhaus in their plans for the new mixed-use development.

In early April, CHS reported on the acquisition of a half-block of parcels between Bellevue and Melrose along E Pine by the Madison Development Group. Merchants and residential tenants in the buildings were told they had until summer 2013 to find new places to live and do business. The news sent a shockwave through many in the Hill — that original CHS post generated more than 200 comments and coverage in citywide media. In the intervening weeks, many have asked what can be done to better shape development of the Hill’s remaining old buildings even as city officials have said they are waiting to learn more about Madison’s plans for the property.

Radin declined to comment on whether similar deals had been struck by any other businesses involved with the development and said he could not discuss any changes in rent the new building will bring.

The Bauhaus co-founder did say he was happy with the community support people have shown for the cafe. “It’s really cool. It’s great to see,” Radin said of the massive show of support people have shown for Bauhaus.

How that support translates to what comes next with the development process remains to be seen. Bauhaus is saved. The Melrose Building and the Pinevue Apartments? That remains to be seen. Now, one representative of what was being lost with the development has a changed position in the argument.

“It’s my baby since 1993,” Radin said. “But it’s going to come back.”

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22 thoughts on “Bauhaus has deal to stay at Melrose and Pine

  1. That,s fantastic news its great when people can come together and both party’s can walk away and seem to be in a better position for this major redevelopment that seems to be going forward in a good way in Seattle .

  2. I think it’s WAY too early to start cheering this as any sort of good redevelopment. The company’s track record is exactly opposite of what Capitol Hill is, there are plenty of other great vendors that are losing their space, it’s still adding to the crappy big box feel of the neighborhood, and WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE PLANS YET.

    If you can’t tell, I can’t emphasize the last sentence enough. If we’re looking at another Joule, I’ll still do what I can to fight to building every step of the way.

  3. We still believe the golden age has passed as something will be different from when we moved here (unless it’s another car dealership leaving).

  4. Why should we trust the developer? A real estate developer’s portfolio IS their track record – its what they should be judged on. And if developers don’t want to be judged by their crappy portfolios, then they should stop developing crap. In the case of Madison Development Group, their entire portfolio is filled with god-awful suburban plonk. And yet we are told “Trust us.”

    Reagan didn’t trust the Soviets. Why should we trust some Eastside developer whose entire track record is filled with cheap, tacky apartments built on top of big box, retail chains?

  5. Proud of the community, and proud of the developers for taking a step in the right direction. I think the more extreme we are in our comments/letters to the developer the more turned off they might become to discussing this and working with us. Let’s take this as a not-so-small victory and keep up the community involvement in the design process.

  6. @ohyes:

    I’m not looking for credibility. I’m expressing my frustration at the redevelopment that has been, literally, tearing the neighborhood apart. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the project will add to the big box feel when you are replacing what is currently there with a 6 story mixed-use development. That’s just the reality of taking small 2-3 story buildings and building them to the maximum of what is allowed.

    That said, I don’t think all redevelopment is bad. Cities will undoubtedly grow, but I want to see something that will actually work into the neighborhood, not simply overpower it with blandness. The influx of developments geared toward large chains has killed a lot (not all) of what made Capitol Hill a great place to live. That’s why I mentioned seeing the plans. I don’t want to get excited about Bauhaus if it means that the neighbors will be Starbucks, Chipotle, and Subway.

  7. So, Bauhaus will have right of return, but what of it? Being able to be in the same spot does not guarantee that the character and quality of Bauhaus will be back. It does not guarantee that it will play the same role as it did or that it will be as important to the neighborhood as it is right now after two to three years of absence.

    And of course the developer would love to have an anchor tenant in their new development to sell their units. They are not doing the community any favors by ripping Bauhaus out of the community for a length of time and then graciously trying to restore what they removed. It’s like a logging operation arguing that their project to clear cut a mountain side is good for the birds of the area because they will be replanting trees after they remove them all.

  8. @ohyes: You don’t have much credibilty when you say you haven’t seen plans but you are already bitching about it having a big box feel.

    We know who the developer is. Madison Development Group. We know the other projects that they’ve done. Go to their website and tell me which project you would want on that block:

    Their MO for mixed use is to find a big box tenant, like 24hr Fitness or Safeway, and then build generica on top of it. Look at 23rd and Madison or their development at Thomas & Queen Anne. Those are lackluster projects and they are the people behind it. The only mixed use project that is better than the others is the recent one that they did in West Seattle, which was appropriate to replace an older grocery store and a parking lot, but wouldn’t be appropriate for this site which is already so well activated. This developer is not a rockstar of adaptive reuse, which is what we really need for this property.

    Based on their past performance, I think any member of the community has cause to be deeply concerned about what they are planning. If they draw inspiration from their past projects, the odds are it will not do the community or location justice.

  9. It’s not just the building that we have to worry about, but also the employees. Bauhaus has a team of really great baristas who are going to have to find some other way to make a living for the duration of construction, and there’s a good chance they’ll be forced to move on entirely. I really hope they all have good support networks they can rely on.

  10. @ohyes – You do realize you just said the developer you are bitching about has done site appropriate work in the past?

    I also said that it was the exception to the rule and that the bar for improving that property was extremely low. It’s not hard to take a large parking lot and a grocery store from the 1980s (or 1990s) and turn it into something better. Of all their completed projects, that is 1 OK project in about two dozen.

    Those are not very good odds.

    Now, do they have proven success in integrating historic buildings into something interesting that would enhance the community? No, they do not. There is nothing in their portfolio to suggest that they have any ability to take these old, charismatic buildings and transform them into something better while retaining even a little bit of their original character. What they specialize in is razing marginal properties and building something passable (which is something like 23 out of 24 of their projects). Why should we expect them to go against all of their previous experience and do something different? The odds of them building something truly nice already aren’t good when you give them a virtual blank slate to work with, so why would the odds be any better when you give them a complex, established block that is already a vital component of the neighborhood?

    Again, look at their track record. Do you see anything that they’ve done that you would want to incorporate in the Pike/Pine corridor? If yes, which project. If no (and I think most people fall in this category), then you should be as concerned about this as I am.

  11. we have heard rumors that the developers MAY be willing to make a deal for existing businesses to come back. however, as a retail shop on the block, we would have to liquidate our entire inventory and survive for 18 months or however long with no money coming in.. easier to find a new space.

  12. Hmmm. This seems to be a potential step in the right direction. HOWEVER, if they can save Bauhaus, they can save most of or all of this block. We should demand that they do. Build around what’s there. Is it ideal? Well that’s debatable but they DO own the land now.
    As for their track record “ohyes”, it’s a shaky one at best. I agree with other posters here: this seems more complex than what Madison Dev Group seems to be capable of doing well. We’ll see. Remember though that this is but one of many battles that need to be fought on the hill to save our landmarks. There’s Weatherford Antiques (another Landmark review meeting on June 6, be there if you can!), there’s the house at 18th and Denny. And there are many we didn’t fight hard enough for that are now gone.

    Feel free to drop me a line via or tweet me on @xtiangunther and we can chat about how to keep the pressure on and how to effect the change we want (and don’t) for our neighborhood.

    Oh and PLEASE try to make the May 9 Planning, Land Use and Sustainability meeting to give them a piece of your mind. Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 9 a.m.
    WHERE:Council Chambers
    Seattle City Hall, Floor 2
    600 Fourth Avenue
    Seattle, WA 98104

  13. Hmmm. This seems to be a potential step in the right direction. HOWEVER, if they can save Bauhaus, they can save most of or all of this block. We should demand that they do. Build around what’s there. Is it ideal? Well that’s debatable but they DO own the land now.

    Feel free to drop me a line via or tweet me on @xtiangunther and we can chat about how to keep the pressure on and how to effect the change we want (and don’t) for our neighborhood.

    Oh and PLEASE try to make the May 9 Planning, Land Use and Sustainability meeting to give them a piece of your mind. Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 9 a.m.
    WHERE:Council Chambers
    Seattle City Hall, Floor 2
    600 Fourth Avenue
    Seattle, WA 98104
    Comment by X.G.
    less than a minute ago

  14. Bauhaus is saved! That must be why they weren’t at the meeting where everyone else learned of the sale of the building. Nice to know that everyone was treated equal and some weren’t given advanced warning an sweatheart deals. The affordable apartments are going away, they aren’t coming back and there is very few affordable apartments on the hill. The new houseing that will be replacing it in 1-1/2-2 years isn’t going to be affordable. They will not be places that a barista, cashier or restaurant worker can afford, will they all have to commute to the hill to fill the jobs that the new occupants won’t take, can’t afford to take with such high rents? What about the other 8 vital businesses, have they been offered the deal that Bauhaus got? Even if they were offered, the higher rents will not be affordable to most of them. Some people have jobs for the money and some have jobs to feed passions in their lives. Jobs for passion rarely pay dividends in cash, just fulfillment. And if they could come back to this block what are they supposed to do for the 18-24 months of construction? Just sit back and live off their millions? No, that’s the developer that can do that! So yippe, Bauhaus is safe! Too bad about the other 8 businesses that may not survive and to heck with all the people getting forced from their homes. Progress! All’s good so long as aging hipsters can still get their coffee! Seems like the public has their priorities scewed.

  15. In my opinion, it’s premature to celebrate. There are too many unanswered questions about this project and the developers’ commitments to the existing businesses. I seriously hope Bauhaus and its employees can remain onsite; however, I share some of the same concerns as noted by “Employee” above. I hope that this news does not lead to people resting on their laurels. There is much that remains to be seen about this project.

  16. You nailed it Sad Day. Now, it’s time to demand that our mushy Mayor and blah Council address affordability in this city. Otherwise, Seattle becomes another Wall-Street driven greed fest like NYC and London. Sigh.