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Uncle Ike’s owner snatches up 15th Ave E property sought by tōk pot shop owner

Samuel Burke was well on his way to opening Capitol Hill’s first retail marijuana shop this spring, but a curveball from a surprising source is putting his plans on hold.

Late last month, Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg bought the 15th Ave E and E Republican building where Burke has been planning to open tōk. Eisenberg bought the Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic for $1.5 million under his company Capitol Hill Holdings, LLC.

The acquisition gives Eisenberg a potential contingency plan if Uncle Ike’s is forced to move, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of leasing the property to Burke. “I have a lawsuit trying to force me to move as well as a state senate bill forcing me to move,” Eisenberg told CHS.

Burke said his permitting process with the state is now on hold as he waits to see if Eisenberg will offer him a lease. “I really want to be on Capitol Hill,” Burke told CHS, adding that he didn’t want to say any more while he tries to work out a deal with Eisenberg.

Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

In December, the city gave Burke the green light to open a shop at 15th and Republican as it never filed any objections by the December deadline.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the building’s future, we know that future won’t include the building’s current tenant. Dr. Kris Boudreaux will be closing her longtime clinic on February 28th, a clinic employee told CHS. Boudreaux has no plans to re-open in a new location, the employee said. Boudreaux did not return CHS requests for comment.

In November, CHS obtained a copy of Burke’s initial application for a 15th Ave location, which also detailed the months Burke spent trying to find a permissible location for his business. On his application Burke estimated it would cost $187,000 to open a 15th Ave E store and indicated he would not use any outside investors.

Meanwhile, the convergence of religion and pot continues to play out around 23rd and Union.

The 23rd and Union church that had been seeking to shut down Uncle Ike’s dropped its lawsuit earlier this week. The Mount Calvary Christian Church sued Uncle Ike’s claiming Eisenberg violated the state buffer rule by opening within 1,000 feet of a teen center the church runs. Eisenberg has said the center was not in use.

In December a judge denied the church’s request for an injunction that would have temporarily closed down Uncle Ike’s until the lawsuit was finished. Mount Calvary officials are continuing to lobby in Olympia to add churches to the state buffer rule.

UPDATE: The state Senate bill that would prevent I-502 shops from opening within 1,000 feet of a church made it out of committee earlier this month. SB 5450 from Pierce County Sen. Steve O’Ban would also add chemical dependency programs and locations where “children regularly congregate” to the retail pot shop buffer rule. Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 9.09.50 AM

Down the block, plans are moving forward for a second retail marijuana shop in the Central District. Seattle attorney John Branch recently filed paperwork to start overhauling his E Union building into a retail space, possibly for his Mello Times pot shop. The space had been used by the Masjid Taqwa mosque. The phone number for the mosque that was active last year has since been disconnected.

If Uncle Ike’s is any indication, revenues from two more I-502 shops would create a veritable retail marijuana industry in the Central Area. Eisenberg’s shop was responsible for 4.15% of total marijuana sales in the state in December with just over $700,000 in pre-tax sales.

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55 thoughts on “Uncle Ike’s owner snatches up 15th Ave E property sought by tōk pot shop owner

  1. Very sad for the neighborhood. Animal Clinic or Drug Dealer? Which is better for this wonderful neighborhood? With the number of families and single households in this area that have animals, it is sad to loose a long standing member of the community to a drug dealer. Are there any limits to the destruction of the classic Seattle neighborhoods?

    • So you no doubt are equally lamenting the sale of liquor in the QFC and Walgreens across the street, and the Safeway down the block? Oh, but maybe you drink alcohol, so they’re OK. Spare us, please.

    • As a resident of the neighborhood, I would much prefer a pot shop over a business that enables you filthy animal slave owners who leave poop everywhere and let their cats out to slaughter innocent birds.

      • Thanks : )

        I was trying my best to smear pet owners the same way the prior commenter is trying to smear innocent retailers as ‘Drug Dealers’ (when in fact one of their primary purposes is to decrease the illegal drug trade).

        I actually like animals very much (well, except for cats, those disgusting indoor pooping, allergy triggering, bird killing, Toxoplasmosis carriers).

        Have a problem with legal drug trade? Why not protest your neighborhood liquor store or pharmacy? Or better yet, the tobacco shops? Cigarettes are way more destructive than Pot.

        Also, there are quite a few other places to take your pets on the Hill, while there are no places to legally buy marijuana.

      • You sure used a crappy way to do it. Why didn’t you put any racist stereotypes as well if you’re looking to offend the maximum number of people?

      • Oh no, I love people of all races, it’s those cruel pet owners I can’t stand. The other day I was at the park, and this woman threw a ball, and MADE their dog bring it back to them… and then just threw it AGAIN! What a monster. Just like that jerk at the recreational pot store who allows their customer to actually BUY something they want in a safe regulated environment – the nerve!

      • Jay, you’re correct that one of the main goals of legalization was to decrease the black market, but I don’t think that’s actually happening to any great degree….at least not yet.

    • The loss of a veterinarian is unfortunate. But although 15th is already lined with drug dealers, Steve. I’ll be happy to have a state-authorized cannabis retailer alongside our neighborhood’s many alcohol and caffeine outlets.

      • There is still a good vet option in the neighborhood! Urban Animal is open on Thomas & Broadway now. I used to go take my pets to the clinic that closed but Urban Animal is much more affordable and they have evening and week-end hours.

      • Urban Animal is the best! Have brought both of my cats there and they have provided great care at a very reasonable price.

    • It is truly unfortunate that your business which has brought more good then anything else to that intersection at 23rd and Union could be shut down because of the world’s longest running scam.

  2. Wow, that sounds like a total a*hole move, swooping in after someone else lays the groundwork and makes the initial investment. Unless he give Burke a very long term lease, I am never going back to Ike’s.

    • It does sound like a complete dick move. I hope at the very least Eisenberg provides Burke a hefty finder’s fee.

      CHAC is a longtime staple of 15th Ave, but quite frankly, I’d be surprised if their business didn’t take a huge slide after Jet City, Urban Animal etc opened.

    • “It does sound like a complete dick move.”

      Are you serious?

      So if you’re watching a football game and a defender steps in to intercept the ball, do you call that a dick move?

      It’s business. They are competitors. It’s not the first time a business has done that and it’s not the last. Happens all the time.

      • If, for some reason, a customer disagrees with the way Uncle Ike acted in this case, the customer is more than free to decide never to go back to Uncle Ike’s again. Customers regularly make the same decision for other businesses. The best way for customers to encourage businesses to uphold their values is to give businesses either a legal or financial incentive to behave the way customers want them to behave.

      • Football rules do not apply the real world – I can’t just tackle someone on the street because they are holding a ball.

        There is a huge difference between a game, and someone who spends a huge chunk of time and money developing a business plan only to have someone else swoop in and use that to their own advantage.

        That said, the facts are not entirely clear in this case, hopefully the business plan is tied to the original entrepreneur, and Ike is going to help this person avoid having a potential landlord who does not want them as a client, rather than it being a monopolistic move to undermine the competition (although that seems more likely). I hope Burke already has signed a long term lease.

      • “There is a huge difference between a game, and someone who spends a huge chunk of time and money developing a business plan only to have someone else swoop in and use that to their own advantage.”

        Kind of like the way Ike has spent several hundred thousands of $$ to custom-build their pot shop from the ground up? So now, he should stand idly by as the State tries to pass an after-the-fact law that could shut down his business, and lawsuits from people who would do the same? Tell me, Jay– if you had spent hundreds of thousands of your money sinking it into your business, and you saw a contingency plan that would save it in case someone tried to shut it down– would you save your business? Or would you roll over, and say, “oh well, he saw it first, I guess I’m out my half-a-million”? (or more). What would you do? I know what I’d do. The same thing.

    • Did you hear/read about the way the MedMix folks were treated after the building vandalism and finally the arson? I bet both of those buildings, old and new, are insured now. The old building was literally falling apart when the bakery was making a run at that location. With a track record this guy has as a landlord, I’d be very cautious about entering into a lease with him especially when he is a competitor. It’s interesting how the vandalism has stopped and that corner has finally been fixed up now that the owner has retail interests. Something for Mr. Burke to consider.

      • BK, In the adult world of commercial business the burden of acquiring and paying for insurance is on the business owner not the building owner. The owner of Med Mix stopped paying his insurance premiums. When you do that they won’t pay you when you make a claim. Ian put a ton of money into that building to get if ready to rent to Med Mix. I saw it. I walk by there daily. Also, it’s not the building owner’s job to maintain the building when there is a tenant occupying it. What? Do you think the business owner calls the landlord when he has a clogged drain? As for the graffiti. Did you notice all the security cameras around that building? So, next time you want to talk shit about someone you probably have never met and don’t know, at the very least, get your facts straight.

      • Stephan: My employer rents two floors of office space in Pioneer Square. When a drain in an office kitchen or restroom is clogged, we call a representative of the landlord to have it repaired. I rent an apartment on Capitol Hill. I don’t maintain the building; my landlord does. Without a doubt, maintenance of the buildings are my employer’s and my landlords’ jobs while we, the tenants, are in them.

      • There are different kinds of commercial real estate leases: gross, single net, double net, and triple net. And everything else in-between – it just depends on the specific situation. Some leases are more like a residential lease where the landlord sis responsible for maintenance, and some give every last bit of responsibility for the property to the tenant including real estate taxes and structural maintenance.

    • It’s far worse than that. Eisenberg and Burke were working together on the space and had a deal to split revenue. Eisenberg broke the deal and stabbed Burke in the back after Burke brought him the space and agreed to the deal. The guy is a douche-bag of the highest order.

  3. Jay, so I suppose you have no opinion about the property owner to sold out to Eisenberg? They didn’t HAVE to do that, they could have kept the property and leased to Burke instead. Because you know, YAY CAPITALISM!

    But in any case, this is a bad move by the Legislature, unless there’s some sort of retroactive “grandfather clause” that allows existing retail shops to remain where they are. Changing the goal-lines after businesses (and I presume this would affect many more than just Eisenberg specificially) have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in permitting & build-outs is pretty shitty.

  4. I’ve lived a few blocks from 23rd and Union for most of the last decade. In that time I’ve heard more volleys of gunfire, seen and heard speeding cars full of gang members, seen the trash littering parking lots, and watched people buying and selling almost every day. I’m a tough MF’r but I’ve been scared for my life at that corner several times, yet I still go out there and give my hard earned cash to the local businesses bringing the corner up in the world because I’m trying to support positive change. Thank you Neighbor Lady, thank you Uncle Ike’s for creating a safe and clean haven from the rampant crime that has been my backyard for too long. You folks have balls of steel. I cannot believe the negative forces that are trying to stop obvious progress in this area. Do you haters even live here? What is your problem? In the end the desire for chaos and failure results in an environment where investors are scared to invest, and shoppers won’t take the risk to show up and do business. I want Uncle Ikes to stay and prosper. I see Ikes as freedom. I would like to see the church stop its hating. I want commerce to win, and 23rd and Union to prosper. -signed middle class taxpayer with a stake in the neighborhood.

    • Let me add my 2c worth. I’ve lived 7 blocks away since 1998. That corner looks better now than it ever has since I’ve lived nearby. Better than when it was MedMix, better than the bakery, better than when it was a cheesesteak place, and better than when it sat empty for years after the cheesesteak place’s owner was shot and killed there. There’s still shit going down at that intersection, but Ike’s isn’t the cause of it. If anything, it’s better now than before, and I too think Ike’s is helping.

  5. The infamous 1000 foot rule.

    Amsterdam was doing just fine for decades before changes forced the closure of many coffeeshops (marijuana shops) because they were too close to schools.

    And somehow we inherited that rule.

    1000 feet sounds like a great distance until you put it in perspective. It’s roughly ONLY 3-4 blocks.

    So, is having a pot shop 3-4 blocks away from a school going to make that much difference than let’s say 2 blocks away? We don’t think so.

    Besides, children were walking on the sidewalk by Uncle Ike’s the other day. Does it look like the 1000 foot rule is working?

    Instead of “out of site, out of mind” approach (keeping pot shops 1000ft away from schools, arcades, etc. ) maybe there is a different way to approach this that would be better.

    For example, instead of trying to hide the fact that there are liquor stores with a 500ft rule, even though shamelessly advertise on television, especially during the super bowl when millions of kids are watching…

    Maybe implementing education, knowledge, and acceptance is better that trying to hide it…

    Any other suggestions?

    • If memory serves me correctly, there was some discussion about how far the 1000 foot circle went from this location and it was pointed out to me that there is NO school or daycare or teen center within that 1000 foot circle.

      It’s a great place for a retail MJ shop. Walkable, nice neighborhood, nice neighbors. Bummer the Vet is gone though…

  6. Uncle Ike’s really isn’t a trustworthy retailer.

    They sent a letter to the Seattle City Council and the Mayor and outlined why they feel that ONLY I502 business should be the place for patients to get their medicine. They feel it necessary to label anything with more than 15% THC as unnecessary and call BHO the “crack of weed” while still gladly selling it themselves.

    Here is the letter:

    When approached via Facebook about why they do this , the questions are deleted and the user is banned from their page.

    They are not open to discussion about their hypocritical stance on the matter.

    • Beth – What you posted looks like a working draft of a position letter some I502 industry people, including me, were working on. Obviously it isn’t a final copy of anything and many issues in the letter are not Ike’s position. Thanks.

  7. I’m not a lawyer, but I can sure see litigation over the phrase “. . . or other location where children regularly congregate”, which will end up requiring the State Supreme Court to define terms.

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    • It’s Jewish conspiracy to take over Capitol Hill and the central area along with all the media companies and the banks.

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