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E Madison property home to Piecora’s sold to developer in $10.29 million deal

(Image: Piecora's via Facebook)

(Image: Piecora’s via Facebook)

Here’s the deal, Capitol Hill. You get the Comet Tavern back — but you’ll have to give a few things up.

The family of Danny Piecora has agreed to sell the E Madison property that has been home to Piecora’s for more than 30 years.

According to county records, the buyer in the $10.29 million deal is Equity Residential. The Puget Sound Business Journal calls the publicly traded company “the nation’s largest owners of apartments.” County records also show a terminated lease for the venerable pizza shop as part of the dealings though it currently remains open. The family paid $3,045,000 to purchase the property in 2002.

A person with knowledge of the changes said employees have been told the business will remain open into the summer. We have not heard back from Piecora’s about the deal.

In terms of dollars, it is one of the largest recent transactions in an increasingly coveted — and crowded — area for development.Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.28.19 PMThis nearby E Madison auto garage went for only $2.25 million last fall. Arizona-based developer Wolff Co. paid $6.7 million for the Sunset Electric property and permitted project at 11th and Pine in 2012. Previously, it paid $14.9 million for the property and project now known as Pike Motorworks. Meanwhile, the core of the block purchased for the Melrose and Pine project went for $9.2 million.

Only Tuesday, we reported on the multi-million dollar purchase of a former auto-row era building at Broadway and Union for a planned beer brewery at the site. Records show that sale weighing in at $6.15 million.

Like that Great Western Motors building purchase at Broadway and Union, the E Madison land sold by the Piecoras does not come complete with permitted development plans. What comes next for the property isn’t clear. We haven’t had a chance to ask representatives about their plans — we’d bet, like most of these situations, we won’t hear much until the press release is ready.

(Image: Piecora's)

(Image: Piecora’s)

If this is the beginning of the end for Piecora’s, it marks yet another exit from the Hill of a business that caters to simpler, more middle class tastes. The pizza joint still draws little league and soccer teams and gaggles of apologizing parents behind them. It has also been known as a meeting hall — with some pretty interesting meetings — and a performance space. And, eventually, somebody would take your order and bring you decent enough, NY-style pizza. Eater Seattle recently ran an extended interview with longtime manager Tim DiJulio:

We’re right on the edge and we haven’t really changed. It’s been good because we kind of got a kick in the pants with all these restaurants, you know we used to be the only guy in town and now it’s like 15 restaurants within a three-block radius… I always joke that the line of hip moved three or four blocks but it’s like, “we’re still here!”

UPDATE: DiJulio announced Tuesday night that the last day of business at Piecora’s is April 15th:

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 8.04.23 AM

Meanwhile, we also need to check in with two other businesses resident in the 1400 block of E Madison — Happy Endings vintage and mercantile and the transformed Dark Age Tattoo — about what comes next.

People close to the situation said they have been told the property is being planned for a development and that the project will include a hotel. If true, it would seem to be an unusual project for Equity — but would leverage an opportunity many developers in the region covet. Last year, CHS reported on the zoning challenges keeping hotel and office development out of Pike/Pine. Office projects including Liz Dunn’s Chophouse Row and a planned development of the property currently home to Value Village, The Rhino Room and The Stranger are now underway. But nobody, as of yet, has stepped forward with a plan for a new hotel in the neighborhood. Developers are also well aware that hotel opportunities play nicely with the integrated retail complexes that seem to be part of the latest wave of Capitol Hill development. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s streetcar extension should be operating by the end of this year a few blocks from the Piecora’s property. By 2016, it could deliver a guest at Capitol Hill Station for a ride to Sea-Tac on light rail.  

The E Madison property’s recent past has included a few explorations of possible development that would have kept the existing building intact. One plan called for the creation of a six-story apartment building replacing the parking lot behind the pizza joint. Another called for an odd four-story addition above it. Neither came to pass.


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57 thoughts on “E Madison property home to Piecora’s sold to developer in $10.29 million deal

  1. RIP piecora’s. I only hope the city wields their “this building better be high quality because it’s so close to a building with so much international acclaim” (Bullitt Center). I think Vox Apartments or one of the other nearby new buildings is one the city said they wished was not so cheap/boring looking with such proximity.

    • the 15th of what? Article says Piecora’s will be open until mid-summer.

      This is truly disastrous. I’m glad the Piecoras got major bank out of it, though, they deserve it.

      what a crappy way to start the day :/

  2. Another one bites the dust. The Piecoras are now ballin’ so that’s totally awesome and good for them. Rent ^. And the comet is not the comet anymore… no stage, dont care if they say shows will exist, won’t be the same.

  3. RE:” announcement at Piecora’s”

    Led me to this statement about McGinn’s plans:

    UPDATE Tuesday 3/24/09:
    McGinn has, indeed, announced his candidacy for mayor. He identified three focus areas for his campaign:

    Schools: If district doesn’t improve, city should take it over
    Internet & technology: create a ‘broadband utility’ to improve Seattle’s technology infrastructure
    Transportation: expand bus programs

    >> Sad to say that we’re still waiting on all three!!

    • Hey, Andrew; I’m impatient too and trying to decide how much time to give hizzoner to show some progress on these three top priorities of his . . . maybe 4 months isn’t enough time, but how long SHOULD it take?

  4. I worked at Piecora’s for 11 years. I can’t say enough good things about Richie and Danny. Seattle, for me, won’t be the same.

  5. Sad to see another long-timer go. But regarding the planned development including a hotel, that is actually good news. Very surprising how little there is in the way of hotel offerings for CapHill, considering the big draw for eating, drinking, entertainment, and proximity to downtown. If the usual “ground floor retail” is done right, no reason one of those spaces can’t be another pizza shop again. Even Piecora’s, if they still want to.

  6. I’m very happy for the family, good for them.

    Dark Age Tattoo *just* moved in, I hope they check in and say what their plans are.

  7. The neighbourhood takes another crushing blow. So sad to hear this news, we’ve been eating there since they opened. As a Seattleite born and bred, not to mention being of a certain age, this juggernaut of change is hard to stomach.

    Anne Jacobs

  8. I could be wrong, but Happy Endings seems like it closed a couple months ago. Last time I looked inside, it was empty.

  9. I work in the development business and I almost have to barf when I see a REIT like Equity Residential willing to pay a stupid price like $10.3 Million for this property. It only means the design will suffer because they will not be able to afford any kind of quality design or decent level of finish. Another piece of shit I’m afraid. You only need to look at Urbana in Ballard to see the kind of shit they produce. They paid nearly twice what the land is really worth at Piecora. I encourage the neighborhood to speak up at Design Review meetings and force them to produce a quality design that doesn’t ruin the neighborhood like they did in Ballard.

  10. I was so very sorry to hear that Piecora’s is closing. I am from New York , and come every year to visit my daughter. It would not be complete without a visit to the only place in Seattle that has pizza similar to NY pizza.

  11. Que the complaints about a loud rock club and several bars in the area.

    I’ve been at Chop Suey where the neighbors complained about the noise and they had to turn the music down. I will never be able to figure out why people move next to a bar or club and then complain about it.

    • Yeah, so many edges to this. I had to slice away mention of Chop Suey and the ongoing issue of mixing residential development with nightlife. Also cut out a sidebar about Bullitt Center up the street.

  12. The owner of Piecora’s is super conservative and they held fundraisers and kickoffs for Republican candidates and issues there. That’s $10.3 Million he can now sink into backing conservative causes in our state, now unrestricted by today’s Supreme Court ruling.

    • If that’s true, that really sucks. And would also make sense why they chose to sell to really shitty developers that paid way too much for the property.

  13. Sad to see it go. It was the only place my born-and-bred Hiller grandmother would still eat in the area “the only place with parking”

  14. Pingback: Coming Soon: Piecora Apartments

  15. For many, many years, Piecora’s made >120 pizzas for the Expanding Your Horizons conference that encourages middle school girls to pursue science and math, and sold them to us at a MAJOR discount. What a great contribution they made to the community, year after year! It was also a family favorite for us….great happy hour, great pizza, free parking. What a loss!

  16. We the hordes are coming. Goths, Trans, Queens, Freaks, Lesbians, Gays and the poor of all kinds punks, minorities all who once called this hill home. We shall overtake your sidewalks and scare your bistro customers. Cripple with fear your BMW driving clientele. We are not violent we have rights and you will see us in force take back this hill from you the corporate scum. You will have no recourse and we lower your property value you can count on it. Long Live The Freaks Long Live the Hill!!! FTW!

  17. Sven while you might sound a little over dramatic not a bad idea some real urban resistance. We don’t have to act like barbarians but we sure won’t apologize for our dark or freaky clothing. Capitol Hill used to be a very safe area fro free expression it needs to be that way again. Really sad to see Piecora’s go. It was another part of the history of this city and employed many local musicians just like the sadly long gone Rocket pizza. Property values is what this is all about. Make sure the neighborhood is anything goes including the typical thriving counter culture of 13 years and you will have builders crying in their SUV’s. Plus why let just Capitol Hill get an infusion why not let the punk roam drunk and free in South Lake Union.

    • As an elder goth about town, I saw this coming. I look at every building that isn’t nailed down now, and can sometimes predict what will happen to it based on the rest of the neighborhood. Sad to say, it’s gonna be Bellevue in five to six years. Minus the money. I move to L.A. On Monday, but will be back within four years. Wonder what Ballard will be like when I return? I predict Hong Kong, with its endless knocking down of old buildings, or sandwiching them between new ones. We’ll see, won’t we?!

  18. For the record. Piecora’s donates pizza to mentally ill consumers at Sound Mental Health and has done so for six years in a row now. Not just once a year quarterly. These guys are golden and I wish them the best in everything. If they open the Comet I will go there. The developer should put Piecora’s back in that corner when they are done. Just sayin.

  19. REALLY? DO YOU HAVE A BMW? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A CULTURAL REVOLT LOOKS LIKE! We want our home back and we will take it back. Say goodbye to your overpriced wine bar and stores that charge too much for things made in china. The rich will not stay when we clog streets with the past cultural icons of Capitol hill. The hill be back to freaky soon. A good kind of freaky where everyone is welcome and those who threaten counter culture with everything from eviction to beatings will leave and return to their crate and barrel furnished Eastside home. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence let’s do this.

  20. Piecora’s had a legendary staff and I am not surprised they did things like this. Sounds like Sven wants a hill for everyone not just the those who can afford the price real estate speculation has guaranteed would destroy the long time culture of such a great neighborhood.

    • On the contrary, Sven seems to want a Capitol Hill made up of a small minority of what exists now….the “freaks” (his word). How is this any different than a Capitol Hill with only well-off people? A mix of all types of people, and all economic levels is what we have now, and this is best for a healthy/interesting neighborhood.

      Anyway, Sven’s fantasy revolution is not going to happen, as any rational person would attest.

      • It will happen and you will be surrounded by the freaks and heroes of the history of Capitol Hill. You and your well to do call us freaks, make comments and try to remove us economically and culturally. Comments like Fag, Look it’s a goth!, I thought we got rid of them, WTF look at those fags or Dude where did all the Dykes come from. Actual comments I have heard while walking down broadway. You are going away. Your property value will plummet we are not going anywhere. You are a gentrifying a cultural mecca and your so called diverse neighborhood is such a bunch of bullshit. Enjoy when we decide to pick on you and surround you and your hip friends like your kind has done to us. This multi economic level thing you speak of is pure bullshit. With rents being raised over 200% what fucking planet are you on. A friend just got a 300% rent increase how is that creating a mix of economic levels you blind yuppie fuck? Go back to Bellevue and shove your Amazon or Microsoft badge straight up your ass. Your so out of touch with reality it’s painful.

      • Sven has got a point. Calhoun you seem to be living in a dream. Plus as far as a place a good mix you have it all wrong. Cultural displacement of minorities including well to do african american families who owned good portions of Capitol Hill years shows that Capitol Hill is increasingly becoming a white upper class area with little tolerance for low income minorities. As a result the cultural make up which included many live music venues and practice spaces for bands and artist spaces for artists all kinds is quickly disappearing. Calhoun you don’t get out much do you?

      • I agree. I’ve been here since 1969. As a minority man, I’ve watched a lot of businesses owned by blacks get closed down or bought by whites who got the nod from the city. Sometimes they were shit pits (Oscar’s), but often they were making okay money (Chester Dorsey’s). The cleaners my family patronized since the 50s (Spate’s Cleaners), was bought by the Chinese. Great. A lot less diversity now, even though many of the families still call the Hill home. Just can’t be represented on the other side of the counter, now.

      • Sven, you make a lot of assumptions. “Freak” is your word, not mine. I do not work for any of the companies you hate, nor have I ever lived in Bellevue (and have no desire to do that). I have lived on Capitol Hill for 35 years and am not going anywhere.

        Sorry to break it to you, but there are plenty of people who like the way our neighborhood is heading. But not many of them post here, because they see no point in trying to have a dialogue with someone as angry and irrational as you. Come to think of it, neither do I, so this will be my last comment on this thread.

  21. We have left suburbia to eat at Piecora’s at least once a month for 33 years. Danny, Richie, CeCe, and long time employees are like cousins to us.

    Our best to all of you! You deserve the best!

  22. Pingback: Goodbye Piecora’s | Yow Yow!

  23. Piecora’s pizza has donated to the domestic violence victims at the Broadview Emergency Women and children’s shelter for 10.5 years. These are women/children who have suffered abuse and had to flee to a safe house.
    My heart-felt thanks goes out to the owners who made this possible for so many, many years. It will be a challenge to find someone to take their place. The best to all the Piecora family. signed, Broadview advocate/employee

  24. Pingback: From The Stranger: Piecora’s Pizza to Close Forever on April 15 | PIECORA'S NY PIZZA

  25. Pingback: Seattle Times: Goodbye to a stalwart Seattle pizzeria | PIECORA'S NY PIZZA

  26. Pingback: Capitol Hill says goodbye to Piecora’s, hello to familiar national apartment developer | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

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