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Which (relatively) giant retailer is coming to E Pike this summer?

IMG_5263Site Plan (3)

If you're looking for clues, this design rendering probably can't be trusted

If you’re looking for clues, this design rendering probably can’t be trusted

At 10,437 square feet, whatever new store is planned to open on E Pike in the new AVA Capitol Hill building this summer will instantly become one of the bigger retailers in the neighborhood.

But, so far, the building’s developers at AvalonBay Communities aren’t talking.

CHS asked the AVA folks about new permit paperwork that showed up earlier this month for a relatively huge new store fronting the 600 block of E Pike in the seven-story, 245-unit, mixed-use project under construction at the site of the former Phil Smart Mercedes dealership.

According to permits, the project’s plans for multiple retail units along the street have been pushed aside in favor of one combined “retail store” in the project. At just over 10,000 square feet, the store would be about half the size of Elliott Bay Book Company, for example, but twice the size of the still-empty OfficeMax that shuttered on Broadway earlier this year. The planned Broadway Whole Foods, on the other hand, will be four times larger than our new, unidentified Pike/Pine retailer.

For your speculating pleasure, 10,400 square feet is plenty of room for an Apple Store which reportedly were averaging around 8,400 square feet of store space a few years back. We have no idea how big a space Uniqlo needs, however.

The AVA Capitol Hill building is slated to open in August 2015.

The future of service in Pike/Pine -- here's what the AVA Capitol Hill will look like

The future of service in Pike/Pine — here’s what the AVA Capitol Hill will look like

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72 thoughts on “Which (relatively) giant retailer is coming to E Pike this summer?

    • Yes, the poor and rent-challenged need a place to buy their Macbooks! Such a perfect retailer to counter the rise of the tech bros and woo girls! Bravo!

      • /like

        @iluvcaphill An apple store is just another place I’d have to walk by before going somewhere interesting. Computer products are bought on the internet silly.

      • The “the poor and rent-challenged” potion of that may have been more relevant.

        People are complaining about high-end rents, but what exactly do they expect will happen when high-end retail arrives in the area? Nothing says “Fight Gentrification!” like purchasing an iWatch.

        (Also, isn’t there an Apple store like 15 minutes away in the U District?)

      • 15 minutes by car, maybe. But many if not most Hill residents don’t drive, and there’s no direct bus connection; you have to take the 43 or 49 up to UW and then transfer to one that goes to U Village. I’ve had to do it before and it’s extremely inconvenient; you’re looking at a minimum time commitment of two hours to go to the store, do your business, and come back.

      • “But many if not most Hill residents don’t drive”

        This gets thrown around a lot, but is there any actual data to back that up? Seems like there’s a lot of resident parking lots full of cars, and every street is full of parked cars. Those probably aren’t all visitors. And don’t forget that Capitol Hill also includes areas outside of Pike/Pine, like north Capitol Hill (all houses with garages and cars), the areas around 19th and 23rd (and all streets between), and it seems like people are always bitching about additional resident parking in all of these new buildings. Are they all empty?

        Regardless, for the few times (once a year? once every two years?) you need to go to the Apple store, it’s probably not a huge burden to bus or Uber or grab a Car2Go/ZipCar.

        Maybe Apple thinks another store within a few miles would make sense. Seems unlikely, though; it’s not a frequent visit neighborhood kind of retail place. Seems like one on the eastside, one in Seattle, and one in northern Seattle probably has it pretty well covered. But who knows?

      • Chandler, I might buy that “many” Capitol Hill residents don’t drive, but “most” is a gross exaggeration.

      • It’s getting to be a moot point anyway— if CH gets any too much MORE car-unfriendly than already , lots of us who do have cars will just give up and go elsewhere for lots of our business. That’s fine– if businesses can get by almost entirely on walk or bus customers. But expecting those who do have cars to bus/taxi/uber to Capitol Hill every time they need something is pretty unrealistic.

      • Jim98122x, you can go whenever you want for your errands, but you’d be surprised that you wouldn’t avoid the dense parts as much as you want. Do you want to go to a desolate strip mall somewhere or enjoy the vibrancy of Broadway? So, the better transit options you get, the less pain you will “perceive” in getting in and out of the denser parts of the city. Because it’s not actually in businesses’ interest to serve more people arriving by car in that area.

        In dense areas even in the United States most business patrons arrive on foot, by bike or on transit. If you could take a parking spot and convert it to a bike parking corral you just increased the number of customers who can reach you by a factor of 5. If you convert it to an outdoor dining area (now fully supported in Seattle under the parklet program) you just increased your revenue potential by 10%-20% depending on the size of your restaurant. The best investment one can make to improve business in the dense parts of the city is to increase density of business and accommodating cars is the exact opposite. This is not ideological, just how the numbers work out.

      • “In dense areas even in the United States most business patrons arrive on foot, by bike or on transit.”

        Is that based on actual data, or just anecdotal “well, me and my friends are this way!” (Another interesting “real” data. The site fivethirtyeight has run a couple of articles that show that our perception that millennials prefer dense urban areas and walking/biking/etc. over suburbs and cars is not borne out by the data across the entire country.)

        Back to the topic, past articles on this blog interviewed businesses that said the elimination of parking due to construction is hurting their foot traffic. While coffee shops and restaurants may be able to be locals only, is Mishu? Is Area 51?

      • It is based on data, not “my friends are like this”. The one report I remember well is about the Van Ness BRT project in San Francisco where as usual, a group of NIMBYs is protesting the removal of parking spaces for the added bus lanes. They claim, as usual, that it will “kill small businesses”. Here is the data that refutes their entire case:

      • “Here is the data that refutes their entire case:”

        That hardly refutes their case; it just points out they’re probably overstating the impact, but it nonetheless is very real measurable impact if you were to remove vehicles. According to the survey, car owners spent more per visit, but “likely” spent less over time.

        In either case, they still represent a meaningful amount of revenue for most businesses; if you run a store, are you comfortable with saying, “no car owners will be coming to my store anymore?”

        It also differs depending on the type of business. You don’t visit most retail stores multiple times a week; that’s typically reserved for bars/clubs/coffee shops, some types of food, and grocery. Those are the kinds of “locals only” places this report is likely showing as doing fine, though they’d be risking over 20% of their revenue with no vehicles.

        Less frequent or Infrequent retail (clothing, furniture, sex toy shops) could feel a greater impact as may be more reliant on those less frequent visitors. That report points out that cars have a higher “per trip” spend, and it’s only less over a week. So those businesses could theoretically see a drop of over 30% of their business without cars.

      • So, a couple things:

        1) In the case of that BRT project, the removal of parking is a cost, but there is also a benefit – significantly improved bus service (up to 20% faster, more reliable) that comes with increased transit ridership. I don’t know what the parking turnover rate is on Polk, but parking fundamentally does not scale up (you can increase prices and get people to free up spots, but only to an extent), while high capacity transit can scale by an order of magnitude (as they want to build this as a rail-ready corridor and can replace the buses with light rail trains).

        So as you compare a non-scalable resource, parking, to a scalable resource, high capacity transit, even if there is a short term loss from one it is more than made up by the long-term gains from the other.

        2) Removing street parking does not mean removing the ability to park a car altogether. Most likely there is still parking on every intersection on the perpendicular streets and also garages and surface lots. If a neighborhood prioritizes walking and everybody walks to/from a bus stop, home, bike rack, why can’t drivers walk from a garage?

        3) You may ask, what about deliveries? Alley entrances are the first line of defense. But in Vancouver, BC, where they made a stretch of Granville Street have extra wide sidewalks (in fact, it’s all sidewalk but 2 commercial vehicle lanes) they simply have the vehicles go up rolled curb onto the sidewalk and park there. Given that deliveries spend less than 1% of the minutes of a day at any given business, it makes no sense to cut the street unnecessarily and eliminate pedestrians space and have it sit unused 99% of the time.

    • I don’t drive and getting to University Village or any of the other Apple Store locations is very inconvenient. Also, malls are gross. I also don’t use any ride share services. It would be great to have a place on the hill to buy electronics again. And if what’s happening on Capitol Hill is gentrification, which it’s not, then I’m all for it. After 20 years on the hill I can’t think of one building that’s worse than what was there in the 90’s. There are almost no chain restaurants on the hill, there were tons back in the 90’s. There is plenty of affordable housing if you do your homework and look for it.

      • I think it would be great if it were an Apple Store. There is only one Apple Store in Seattle (U Village); it’s a bit shocking there isn’t one downtown/Capitol Hill yet. The old BMW brick facade would actually be a perfect contender for Apple. Just fill in the gaps with glass and metal. Could be a great addition to the neighborhood.

      • Really, it’s not like Apple buyers don’t already know what they want to buy (what they’ve been told to). They just want to go stroke the elfmade artifacts while a technomage exorcises their stricken talismans. I can’t think of anything more useless than an Apple store to a neighborhood that has any shred of a notion that it isn’t a temple to vapid consumerism.
        If it’s an Apple store, then yurt-village, here I come.

  1. Are we sure it’s going to be retail? Are the permits set in stone? It would be so amazing if it was an LGBT community center, because we don’t have one and we certainly need one. I know it’s a pipe dream, but what if this giant space was not for retail/alcohol/caffeine/general consumption and actually benefited people in the community in the form of community center/non-profit offices/co-op org.? Sigh…I know I’m dreaming…

    • We had an LGBT Community Center. It went out of business due to lack of community support. People are not willing to give up their lattes and MacBooks in order to donate to non-profits like that anymore. Sorry. Why would setting up another non-profit center like this be any more successful than it’s predecessor?

      • That’s what I was thinking….centers cost money to support ongoing, day in/day out. They don’t get free rent. Where’s the money come from? The LGBT Center on Pike Street closed up because of no funding and didn’t seem to serve any compelling purpose that couldn’t be done elsewhere. “We certainly need one”? For what? Seriously.

    • There had been an LGBT community center on pike between 11th & 12th but it folded. The business structure of such a center needs to be firmly established before any such undertaking again. Clearly LA and NY have them and they do great work. But there isn’t one in Seattle and the reasons behind that need to be addressed first.

  2. Two of the spaces are going to be a yoga-spin fusion studio and a fried chicken restaurant. The third is still available.

  3. >>The planned Broadway Whole Foods, on the other hand, will be four times larger than our new, unidentified Pike/Pine retailer.

    I hate to be anal about this, but 40 is NOT four times larger than 10. It is four times AS LARGE, or three times LARGER.

  4. Having a Uniqlo that close would be soooo sweet. The nearest one currently is in San Francisco, and I thought that was super rad (since the previously closest one was in New York). However, I would miss having a relatively unique wardrobe since everyone in the hood would have easy access to Uniqlo’s Japanese awesomeness.

    • Not sure how often you make it over to the Eastside (for me it’s like twice a year), but there’s a Uniqlo opening in Bellevue sometime soon (see earlier comments for more info).

    • Product sold in SF and NYC locations is quite basic compared to their stores in Tokyo and even Seoul. It’s not the same merch, unfortunately. If you’re wearing Uniqlo bought in the US its likely people won’t be able to tell the difference between H&M, Old Navy etc.

      Their stores in Asia have better, more unique offerings. I’m still excited for their upcoming opening here as they have good product and decent prices including the best underwear and sock collections.

  5. I know we were told that the design rendering is not to be trusted, but there is a Timberland (shoe company) sign on one of the buildings in the background. 1. They do not have a retail store within 200 miles of Seattle. 2. If you look at their Facebook page, their branding has taken a shift to appeal to young, carefree millennials with money to burn, golden retrievers, and super stylish friends who love road trips in vintage cars. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided that Capitol Hill was the perfect place to target young, carefree millennials with money to burn, golden retrievers, and super stylish friends who love road trips in vintage cars.

  6. It will be “The Capitol Hill Experience Project” where you say a date from the past you want to reexperience and then enter a mock Capitol Hill of that date. I’ll definitely pick the Seattle Eagle circa 1994. Then maybe a trip to Pistil Books to get some zines then dancing at the Easy. Followed by a peaceful walk home at 2 a.m. where nobody fucks with me for real.

  7. Seems like an odd location for an Apple store. Hope they have good security all the thieves and other criminals that hang out in the area will have a field day trying to lift pricey apple stuff to fund thier heroin habit.

  8. If they put in something the neighborhood really needs it would be a detox center for all of the people who come to the neighborhood to get wasted. Since it’s retail of some sort, it could be a place for you could pay for a bed for a few hours while you sober up before driving back home (and that would really help to keep the drunks off the roads). Of course to cater to a lot of the clientele they would have a latte station, places to charge electronics, and perhaps a Bloody Mary bar for the hair of the dog the next morning. I can’t wait to see what they sell in the associated boutique.

  9. Another step on the road to making the hill a techy enclave, a mini SF with rents to match. Not the reality for the majority of Seattle residents.

    • There is nothing mini about the tech take over here, especially when Alibaba makes its headquarters here. We will be on the same playing field in no time.

      • …when you don’t have one of them.

        Also “high paying” is relative if expenses are outrageous. Case in point: prices at QFC go up beyond reason because some people don’t comparison shop or care about money. And that affects the rest of us who do. Question: is Fremont a techy enclave? After all, they have Google and all that.

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