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.
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.