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You can buy Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for $99,950


A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

Everything is for sale. Just ask Broadway’s Charlie’s. The restaurant’s owner Ken Bauer has listed the Capitol Hill classic for years.

On Thursday, Seattle’s only music writer David Segal posted about the peculiar real estate listings involving 14th and Madison rock club Chop Suey and got some intel from longtime neighborhood booker Jodi Ecklund.

“The most recent development is that the price was significantly dropped from the original asking price. The issue is the rent on the building is 13k; even with a thriving club like Chop Suey, that is not sustainable. I have heard there are some interested parties and I have been contacted by a few folks for more insight. My number one concern is that if Chop Suey is purchased, I hope it is by someone who values the local music scene.

If you’re wondering, Dave Meinert tells us he’s not interested in owning “a live music venue.” We’ll let you parse that statement.

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

To be clear, Chop Suey is for sale.

Not the 1325 E Madison building across the street from the former Piecora’s where a six-story development is planned.

CHS first noticed the strange listings earlier this month when a condo listing, of all things, popped up for the address via Zillow. That strange, probably automated listing now shows as “off market.”

Here’s the business description:

Chop Suey Business Opportunity for Sale. Very well-known nightclub, bar, lounge and event venue in vibrant Capitol Hill. This stage books tons of national and international talent and music groups. Beautiful, funky build-out. TURN-KEY OPERATION. Class H Liquor License in place. 2ft + 20pt employees. Come check out the scene as a customer! DO NOT DISTURB BUSINESS OR ALERT ANYONE ASSOCIATED OF THE SALE.

And here’s an also-automated sales video that is pretty awesome and will make you want to buy it:

In 2012, CHS wrote about Chop Suey’s 10 year anniversary on Capitol Hill:

In ten years, not much has changed on the inside of Chop Suey. A new sound system was installed in ‘09 after the club was purchased by the same ownership as K’s Dream in Japan and they are in the process of upgrading the green room, but other than that it has been pretty much the same since the days the place first became Chop Suey in 2002 and pushed punk The Breakroom aside. Lots of people have come and gone, but Chop Suey has shown itself over the years to be a destination for touring acts, and a place for local bands and DJs to cut their teeth.

A 2009 murder at the club pushed a shift in programming and the club is now known for hosting a wide diversity of acts, comedy, and performance formats. Earlier this year, management revealed a new Twin Dragon lounge to help drum up business at the venue.

A check of city records shows no planned development or tenant improvements for the building. According to King County Records, the building is owned by developer and real estate investor Scott Shapiro who helped to create Melrose Market and has most recently been working on microhousing-type developments including this project on 12th Ave.

Live music and performance-focused venues on Capitol Hill are on the wane. Most recently, The Comet’s overhaul on E Pike including the scrubbing away of its place as a performance venue. The new Comet continues to host live music but usually as an accompaniment to hanging out at the bar — not as ticketed shows. In the meantime, the Electric Tea Garden also shuttered last fall.

In addition to being across the street from the coming Piecora’s development, the 77-year-old Chop Suey building neighbors the old auto row-era garage purchased by Ferrari and Maserati of Seattle for $2.25 million in 2013. Adjacent on 14th Ave stands the home of bear bar Diesel.

While we don’t have access to the financial records of Chop Suey owner K’s Dream, there are a few signs of financial issues around the club. In 2009 in the wake of the K’s Dream purchase, former Chop Suey owner Chris Dasef successfully sued after middleman John Villesvik, who initially bought the club, flipped it to K’s Dream — apparently before Villesvik had paid for it. The October, 2009 judgement called for nearly $130,000 to be paid to Dasef.

That’s a touch higher than the $100 grand currently being asked for the club business.

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23 thoughts on “You can buy Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for $99,950

  1. Chop Suey — the only Seattle music venue to advertise “Free anal lube after 10pm.”

    “Seattle’s only music writer David Segal.” I’m sure that will come as a surprise to the rest of Seattle’s music writers. Who the f*** is David Segal?

    Seattle has a long-standing, sordid history of maligning its music clubs. The day the Fabulous Rainbow on 45th (now Fusion’s location) was usurped by a yuppie fern bar over a rent increase, Mayor Charlie Royer showed up to proclaim “Fabulous Rainbow Day.” Instead of hollow b.s., the dimwit should have been jaw-boning the building’s owner into a deal that would have saved what was, at the time, Seattle’s premier live music club.

    Remember the reviled and preposterous Teen Dance Ordinance? You’re probably too young even for that one.

    For all the media frenzy and accolades Seattle’s music has received in the last two decades (lovingly exploited by G. Nickels, Destroyer of Neighborhoods, who claimed to promote local music by using it for City Hall’s on-hold callers, while simultaneously cracking down on the clubs), this town has historically relentlessly pursued, intimidated, harassed and generally done everything it could to roadblock a healthy music scene.

    Big news Chop Suey is for sale. So is everything in Seattle these days. Live music only exists here at the pleasure of its beneficent overseers. Get used to it.

    Seattle music writer
    (likely since before David Segal, whoever he is, was born)

  2. Just a matter of time before the building owner caves in and sells it to some development company that panders to these Microsoft and Amazon a-holes who are wrecking both the housing market and the character of Capitol Hill. Hoping these two companies bubble finally bursts soon and these losers move back to Cali.

    • Microsoft and Amazon (both of whom started here, not in “Cali”) provide thousands of good jobs for our area and our economy. Most of their employees are not “a-holes,” and it is simplistic to say that they alone are “wrecking” our neighborhood. Try to see both sides of the coin before you go off on an angry rant.

      • The companies are local. Their employees are not and they Microsoft is even going as far as to state that they need to hire foreign workers not US citizens. They are wrecking my neighborhood. I have been forced out of three different apartments in the area. Each time within twelve months, the majority of the residents have been replaced by Microsoft and Amazon employees that were willing to pay hundreds more than most of us could afford. This has been happening across Seattle and especially in Capitol Hill. Normal middle class and blue collar workers are being forced out of the city and the area by these yuppies because they are driving the housing costs way up. If you don’t see that then you must be one of them.

      • I am not one of them. But I was fortunate enough to buy my modest little home years ago when things were more affordable.

        How do you know that the displaced residents have been replaced by MS and Amazon employees? That seems like an assumption. Have you interviewed the newer residents at your former apartments and asked them where they work? Do you think they are “a-holes” simply because they can afford a higher rent?

        Your ire should be directed at the greedy landlords who are raising rents, because if anyone is “wrecking” Capitol Hill it is them. I can understand your frustration, but I don’t think you should blame the MS/Amazon employees.

      • How do I know? Because I was one of the last tenants to move because my lease had the most amount of time left on it. Every single person that moved in on my floor, and several of the other floors worked for Amazon or Microsoft with one or two exceptions. I made nice and spoke with several of them. Not a single one of them was from Seattle nor could any one of them explain their jobs as network engineers, system engineers etc other than “It’s hard to explain.” They even openly joked about getting paid over $100k to sit around and play xBox all day because their “work” only took an hour or two a day because they are getting paid to maintain something that is already functional and more or less self maintaining. The landlords are the ones screwing everyone for sure by jacking up rents trying to cater to these tech companies. However these tech companies are single handily changes the economic makeup and architecture of Seattle by overpaying workers and importing more and more people into the city. The middle class is being forced out of the city and affordable housing and buildings are being torn down and replaced with the sterile “mixed use” over priced condo/apartments specifically aimed at bringing in tech employee dollars that normal Average Joe can’t afford. The hill is changing extremely rapidly and within the next 10 years if the tech bubble doesn’t burst (which I pray it does), the hill will be basically an urban Bellevue. Just look at how many apartment buildings, businesses and other commercial buildings that have had their long tenants forced out for the buildings to be “renovated” and or razed and replaced with over priced “mixed use” buildings.

      • You make a good point about the tech workers being overpaid, and the result that they can afford the higher rents. It is really ridiculous that some of them are paid so much for so little actual work. However, it would be interesting to know what the “average wage” is at, say, Amazon. My guess is that the majority of their employees are making significantly less than 100K/year.

        I still think that there are affordable apartments on Capitol Hill…..such as those managed by Capitol Hill Housing….but obviously they are harder to find these days. The new development over the light rail station will have a lot of affordable units, although that is several years away.

        You probably know that it’s very unlikely that the tech bubble will end anytime soon. Even if that happens, I doubt that apartment rents will go down….they never do.

  3. 13k rent is most definitely sustainable. It’s a fucking bargain for a place the size of Chop Suey in that neighborhood. I know several smaller places paying more. Chop Suey should be doing 150-200k a month revenue AT LEAST.

    • I guess I meant that it COULD be making that per month. It clearly isnt. Obvisouly if they are selling the biz for 99k they are fucked.

  4. would it be ridiculous to think of a transformed chop suey that opened at 6:00 am, operated like a café (good/cheap coffee, good light, comfortable seating, lots of power outlets, good/cheap food) throughout the day in the lounge area, before transforming into a live venue most nights a week? other nights it would be more low-key like a lounge/café with a dj or piano player. in short, short on style/concept/fussiness/bullshit and open for casual use much more often. i know nothing about this (or any other) business but i’d go to a place like that

    • Sounds like a good plan to me.

      open earlier like 6. If there’s a show, close early afternoon and re-open like an hour later but charge admission.

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  8. Chop Suey’s ownership and management is crooked. Have been for years. Saw this place going down starting a couple years ago. While it would be great for the space to turn into an operational cafe/bar/venue, that block is no longer going to allow the noise disturbance that venues provide. Condos full of people who constantly call in noise complaints. Time to move on.

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