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Capitol Hill Family Arcade — and a new home for Angel’s Shoe Repair — latest twists in quest to open first Capitol Hill pot shop

The next chapter in the Game of Thrones-like saga playing out around competing I-502 marijuana retailers on Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E involves a possible cutthroat business maneuver mixed with compassion for a longtime neighborhood shopkeeper.

Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg has confirmed to CHS that the video games he is moving into the former home of the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic at 15th and Republican are going to be put to good use — starting now.

The Capitol Hill Family Arcade will open Monday night, Eisenberg said, if all goes to plan as carpenters have split the former vet clinic in twain to make way for the arcade. Eisenberg said he is making room in the building for Angel’s Shoe Repair to make the move from across the street.

“When I went to the 15th Avenue merchant meeting,” Eisenberg tells CHS, “I said I wanted to be a good neighbor. I followed the trials and tribulations at Angel’s. I have the extra space.”

Cobbler Ray Angel should be open in his new space by the end of the week, Eisenberg said.

The moves come as Eisenberg is preparing the building to eventually be home to his second I-502 marijuana retailing operation. The Uncle Ike’s entrepreneur paid $1.5 million for the property earlier this year as another I-502 permit holder was gearing up to open in the former vet clinic. Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

The resulting cascade of activity now has Samuel Burke and his Tok shop working to open in the longtime home of Angel’s while Ray Angel was turning to the community to raise money to fund a possible move after losing his longtime month-to-month lease.

Angel will now have a new lease on business life with a space inside Eisenberg’s building that is designed to remain should the address eventually be permitted next year when new legislation goes into effect allowing the state to hand out more I-502 permits. But the appearance of an arcade could complicate the permitting process for Tok as it pushes to open this summer.

“It’s curious that a pot shop owner is trying to disallow other pot shops from opening in this  manner,” Tok representative Ben Livingston tells CHS. Livingston also expressed his doubts about whether it is legal for an arcade to operate in the building. We are reaching out to DPD to ask about permitted uses at the address.

Eisenberg says his motives are simple.

“I had some games sitting around and they were taking up space,” Eisenberg said. “It’s an easy way to activate the space.”

Meanwhile, the City Council passed a measure Monday that would close many, if not all, of the city’s medical marijuana shops that opened after I-502 was passed in 2013. Businesses able to show that they opened before January 2013 will be able to continue operations, pending their adherence to new enforcement rules.

UPDATE 7/14/2015 11:50 AM: If you had any doubts, the arcade *must* be real — it has a Facebook page:

UPDATE 7/15/2015 8:40 AM: A complaint has been filed with DPD for the building. Eisenberg says he has been ordered to stop work so construction of the Angel’s Shoe Repair component of the building must be put on hold pending permits. “It shouldn’t take too long, but it will mean Angel won’t be able to make a smooth transition across the street and he’ll probably be down for a little while,” Eisenberg said.

We’ve asked DPD for details of the complaint.

UPDATEx2: The complaint is pretty straightforward — but goes beyond the cobbler portion of the project: “Electrical and construction work without permits to create video arcade in former vet clinic space.”

“Whatever business that goes in there will need to get a change of use permit to operate as something other than a vet clinic,” a DPD spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Eisenberg says the arcade remains open.

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59 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Family Arcade — and a new home for Angel’s Shoe Repair — latest twists in quest to open first Capitol Hill pot shop

  1. The one thing not being mentioned is the sudden end to a 30 year business that was the Capitol Hill Animal Hospital. Shame on the owners of this building who evicted a 30-year tenant by way of the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. this whole deal from the beginning shows capitalism at its worst, not being good neighbors.

    • Shame on the owners of this building who evicted a 30-year tenant by way of the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.
      I’m not entirely certain what you mean here but I’m fairly certain nobody has covered these circumstances more than we have. What else do you want us to report about the clinic? We asked to talk with Dr. Boudreaux but never heard back.

      • The vet clinic may have been in need of some cleaning and a paint job, but Dr. Boudreaux and her staff took wonderful and compassionate care of my beloved little dog from the time he was a youngster until the last moments of his life. I heard other clients say the same things about the care their pets received as they stopped in during the last few weeks of February. What happened to her practice was the result of simple greed on the part of the landlord.

      • Dr. Boudreaux and her staff took excellent care of my dogs for 8 years: kind, compassionate and thorough. Though I’m happy with the new vet we are now going to, maligning the care given by Capitol Hill Animal Clinic as part of this series of events is both ill-informed and inappropriate.

    • You have exactly -zero- idea about what happened with the Animal Clinic. How do you know they weren’t offered a BIG buyout to move? You don’t. The vet has said nothing, YOU know nothing- everyone thinks they know what happened; so they just concoct a story to go along with their totally assumed “facts”. So many brilliant minds on here operating without the pesky inconvenience of facts. I’m surprised we don’t have more fabulously successful business tycoons around here, with so many experienced business strategists.

      • Jim78122x:

        After 30 years, Dr. Boudreaux was offered nothing and no option except to clear out in 30 days. Anyone who says she was offered a “buy out” or a lease extension is flat out lying. She didn’t have time to find another space or even to sell her equipment. Those are the inconvenient “facts” you speak of.

  2. Well, the Tok people should not be surprised when the entire neighborhood comes out against them.

    They’re just lucky that there’s no community review process. Ian has been nothing but a great neighbor and I think that he’ll be an asset to the community, while Tok only represents an outsider that evicted our longest-running tenant on 15th.

    I wonder how “Tok representative Ben Livingston” will try to spin that one?

    • Andrew, it’s good to know you support Ian’s effort to ban pot shops on that corner by installing a video arcade without proper permits. My “spin” on you is to tell everyone who supports legal marijuana to never set foot in your “Liberty” bar. Apparently the $15/hr people already think you’re pretty horrible.

      • Was wondering the same thing. Kids typically congregate at arcades. Perhaps the regulation prohibits pot shops in the vicinity of these types of businesses. If so, kind of transparent move on eisenberg’s part.

      • The article doesn’t explain this important point, but pot shops can’t open within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, and video arcades, among a few other things. From RCW 69.50.331(8):

        “The state liquor control board shall not issue a license for any premises within one thousand feet of the perimeter of the grounds of any elementary or secondary school, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, public transit center, or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older.”

        http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=69.50.331

      • Well, OK. But then why would Ian Eisenberg open an arcade business at that location, if he plans on also opening a pot shop there? Isn’t he shooting himself in the foot by doing so? This whole story is very, very mysterious and convoluted!

      • When Uncle Ike’s is ready to open a new pot shop — they will likely partner with one of the medical marijuana shops that haven’t been targeted for shut down by the city — the arcade will close and the pot shop will open in the arcade location.

      • Tok should pivot their business model and open a video game arcade instead. I think there might be a space available not too far from 23rd and Union.

      • Well Ben, if Tok is not already licensed you guys are a some serious clowns!
        Eisenberg wins this round!

    • Dear Mr. Livingston,

      You’re (again) not making yourself any friends up here on 15th. I mean, that’s where you want this business to exist, right? On 15th? Well, our community unequivocally supports Ray. 100%.

      But, if you’d like to discuss it more – did I get the story wrong? Did you or did you NOT evict Ray? After…how long has his business been on 15th? Over 100 years at pretty much the same location, right? And, you reportedly evicted him. What’s odd about such a thing is that you really can’t do much pot business in that small spot anyway. Sure, the space is over the 500sq’ number that you need legally in order to use your license, but some are left to wonder…if you just took that spot only to hang on to your license. I mean, no one can make any $ on just 500sq’, so…we’re left wondering if it’s possible that you evicted a much-beloved, active member of our community JUST to park your license. Wow. That’d be shame, if that’s the case.

      Past that, Ben the Really Terrible Spokesperson, you wrote, “Apparently the $15/hr people already think you’re pretty horrible.”

      Yes, Sir. Many do. My efforts, alongside dozens of Progressive small business owners’ efforts to raise the minimum wage to $12.50/hr. and then have an economic review before going to $15 is an action that really upset a lot of people. Call it – a Progressive Business Owners’ Cassandra Complex.

      Point is, Ian has been a good neighbor. He’s met everyone. He’s expended effort to become part of the community. He’s spent his $ in our businesses. If he’s manipulating us, he’s sure doing a good job, while all the while, y’r just evicting Ray.

      We’ll take Ian, anytime.

      • Andrew
        Just to set the record straight. Nothing against Ray Angel but although his family started that business 100 years ago, he took it over and moved it to the present location in 1980. The Capitol Hill Animal Clinic was started on the 15th and Republican location in 1971 and Dr. Boudreaux had been there since 1984. So Ian actually evicted the longer standing business. Eisenberg has also told the local businesses a bunch of lies regarding that eviction. So yes Andrew, he is manipulating you and is absolutely doing a great job of it!

      • sb – thanks for your reply but it is not entirely correct. I am one of several former clients and friends who have tried to help Dr. Boudreaux through this unfortunate time.
        Burke and Livingston started the shady pot licensing process but had nothing to do with “starting an eviction” .
        They may have handled it differently or in the same manner but they never got the chance. Eisenberg evicted the clinic with 30 days notice shortly after snatching the building out from under Burke’s nose in January.
        Since that time, presumably to garner public support, “Uncle Ike” has told several merchants (and stated in this blog to the neighborhood) that he offered Dr. Boudreaux a 6-12 month lease extension but she turned it down. That is a flat out, bald faced lie. She was offered NOTHING and would have certainly benefitted from even an extra month or two.
        So to Ian Eisenberg: Business is business but treating people badly and then trying to hide it by lying about the very people you have wronged, serves only to further demonstrate what an nasty person you are. Why not just be honest? Better to be a ruthless business person than a ruthless liar. The only people who support you are neighbors and merchants who are either gullible, trusting or serve to benefit from “being on your side.” You want people to think that you are a “good guy” but you are not. You’re just a rich guy. Many of us hope that bad karma will come back to you one day.
        And to Uncle Ike’s “supporters”: Ian Eisenberg is very cut throat yet enterprising business person. If he wins this game, his latest moves – the “family arcade,” his sudden, compassionate “befriending” of Ray Angel and lying about Dr. Boudreaux – are despicable yet undeniably brilliant. But make no mistake about it – Ian Eisenberg is an absolutely amoral master of manipulation with no conscience. He may be no worse but is certainly no better than Burke and Livingston. I’m sorry for earnest people like Andrew that have fallen for his game. The only undeniable truth is that NONE of these men are good people. Business is business but I’m sad for my neighborhood. I send best wishes to Dr. Boudreaux and the rest of the clinic staff. You helped to build this neighborhood and you will be missed!

  3. If this all comes to pass, this will have to be the only location in the world with a video arcade co-located with a pot shop. A very strange combination, to be sure. Is there really a market for a “family” video arcade? ….whatever that is.

  4. Happy Angel’s found a new home! I might even try out the arcade, and I’m glad the space won’t just sit anymore.

    Also, this pot shop intrigue is the best.

  5. This story is a trip! JSeattle should submit it to Rolling Stone.

    Love the new murals at Ian’s corner (23rd and Union). Glad I’m not his competition.

    • It’s interesting the language Eisenberg used to explain his move. “It’s an easy way to activate the space.” As in: “Activate the anti-pot shop force field Mr. Spock”. Looks like he also managed to get a PR win by helping out the cobbler, he’s on a roll.

    • This is a fascinatingly sneaky move–Eisenberg is apparently planning to pot-block Tok by putting in a Potemkin village of arcade games within 1000 feet of that proposed shop. I assume the intent is to stall them out until Tok gives up, whereupon the arcade will fold up and he’ll dump the games that are “sitting around and […] taking up space”.

  6. Hey Ben, sounds like some people on team tok shouldn’t have been such asses to angel. And for.God’s sake, Liberty is an awesome bar and no one cares what the 15 dollar crowd thinks.

    • Angel is probably the only one guaranteed to get screwed in all of this. Uncle Ike likely can’t afford to rent to Ray for $450/month after buying the building for $1.525 million. (I was the broker who closed that deal, for the record.) Ray Angel confirmed this deal with Uncle Ike was in the works last month — when he, his daughter, and his daughter’s downtown attorneys were supposedly negotiating in good faith with Sam Burke. Unfortunately I couldn’t convince CHS Blog or KOMO to ask Ray about it until now.

      Monday night I was interviewed by KOMO in front of the no-permits, no-certificate-of-occupancy anti-pot-shop video arcade, and Ray told KOMO he would be sued if he talked to them. Half an hour later, after talking with his team, he came back and confirmed that he had worked out a lease with Uncle Ike’s. Just in the nick of time, he said, as if he didn’t confirm his daughter had worked this deal last month.

      It gets crazier. As part of their plans with Uncle Ike, Ray and his daughter negotiated an extra twenty days past his eviction notice. This was the time they needed to install Uncle Ike’s Anti-Pot Shop Arcade. Uncle Ike has no intention of keeping the building an arcade.

      With your “no one cares what the 15 dollar crowd thinks” rhetoric, you sound quite like that anti-pot, anti-15 Liberty bar owner, who constantly claims to represent the opinions of every single person in the neighborhood. Consider the possibility that at least a few people hold a differing opinion.

      • “Angel is the only one guaranteed to get screwed in all of this” – really??!! Looks like Ray Angel is doing just fine to me. The Capitol Hill Animal Clinic got screwed. Must be weird for Ben Livingston to be out slimed repeatedly by Eisenberg. Ben I’m sorry but as far as douche-bags go, you’re out of your league trying to compete with Uncle Ike.

      • How did you come to be the closing broker to sell the property to Eisenberg when you were working for Burke? I know the answer but I just want to see you explain it to the neighborhood. What an arrogant clown you are.

    • Liberty really isn’t that good. Terrible servers and terrible beer (try cleaning your lines once and a while?). Though, admittedly, the mixed drinks and sushi are nice. :P

      • Liberty is a good bar with local spirits and a really amazing 1990s band flyer wall display.

        Anyone bad mouthing them gets the stink eye from me for sure.

      • Dear Paul K.

        I appreciate your opinion on our level of service and your concern for our beer lines.

        While no one can make everyone happy, I’ll tell you that we are nationally famous for our level of hospitality. I can genuinely say that if you have received bad service, I wish that you (or, anyone reading this) would reach out to me. For anyone that has at any time in fact reached out to me, they found that I would immediately respond and fix any problem.

        I’ve been in business almost 10 years there. Surely you’d admit that I’m doing something right.

        As for the beer line comment – we get our lines cleaned every week. Most bars do it every two weeks or every month, but we do it every week. And, to that point, we change out the beers on each line no less than four times a week.

        Really, what’s happening here is that this group that is so virulently attacking Ian Eisenberg is having to respond (terribly, at that, I think that we’d all have to admit) after committing such a foul act in evicting Ray – who had been operating in this area for over 100 years.

        Just so allegedly Mr. ‘Spokesperson’ Ron Livingston’s client, the pot shop can park their license.

        Really. It was terrible PR by people that didn’t care for people. Didn’t care that Ray had been such a valued and appreciated member of our community.

        And, for the record, I’m pro-pot. So, you’re wrong.

        Again.

      • They have a point about service. We stopped coming in after a run in with one of your day time servers who was rude to my partner.

        I miss it but as long as he works there I’m not giving you another penny.

      • For me it’s not so much rude service as attitude from the staff. I walk in and don’t feel welcome. Or rather, I used to. Maybe it has changed in the years since I stopped going…

        It’s worth saying that the average patron of 15th ave never steps foot in Liberty and will never step foot inside of the pot stores, even if they support legal pot. But we are affected if the diversity of services there declines.

  7. Tok might want to consider a new PR person, who doesn’t engage in pissy tantrums in comment threads, because with each one, Eisenberg comes out sounding better and better.

    • This is true. Eisenberg is being super shady and I’m no fan of his, but I’m more and more on his side with every response from Livingston.

      oh, and Liberty is awful and the owner was an asshat long before 15Now or the pot issue came up.

      In other words, the only reason to go to 15th Avenue anymore is Ada’s Technical Books.

  8. That is one sad-looking arcade.
    On a side note, this whole story is getting pretty entertaining. Wish I had some popcorn.

  9. Is this Ben Livingston guy really a representative for Tok? Wow, way to make yourself and Tok look like complete A-holes with your comments! It’s clear what Eisenberg is doing with this arcade, but somehow he is coming out of this looking awesome and you, Mr. Livingston, are looking like the exact kind of person/business I hope does not enter this neighborhood. Please, take your bitterness somewhere else, I will not be stepping foot in Tok.

  10. We should not be losing sight here that Ike’s pulled a skeezy move by opening the arcade to fuck with another business because of a wrinkle in the law that let him.

    I also have to ask, wtf is a “video arcade” any more? The only video games I see these days are in retro hip ironic places catering to full grown gamer adults, like the wonderful Gamma Ray Games and Lounge on Summit and Pine.

    There is no possible likelihood of a “video arcade” being used by under 21 people and hasn’t been for at least 15 years.

    The law is outdated and Ike’s is taking full advantage. That is slimy. I don’t care how much of a twat his competition is, clearly he managed to end-run his competition by exploiting the “won’t someone think of the children” nanny law in the first place.

    • If you’re smart enough to cut out the competition then go ahead and do it. Is it underhanded? Yes it is, but that is business.

      I’m impressed he’s willing to make such a blatant and public move to (as a previous commenter put it) pot-block the competition.

      My only concern, as highly unlikely as it may be, is some deep pocketed anti-pot organization or individual looks at this and runs with the idea by putting an “arcade” in every neighborhood.

  11. Does Tok already have a pot license? Have they applied for a business license at that address already? If so, doesn’t the prior application take precedence? Another point– was there/is there no zoning meeting for the arcade? Can the community ask the city to make the arcade be 21+? If so, sneaky trick foiled…?

      • BL
        If you and Burke have signed a lease and evicted another business without yet having the space licensed and permitted, you guys are truly clowns. For the life of me, I don’t know why Burke still works with you. Looks like Ike wins (this round anyhow)

  12. Not a great range of games. The shoot me up (ragen) is the best of it. Hoping they move in a defender machine, also nice they are the actual machines, not mame based. All free to play so far. Will be popular with kids !

    As for the business side of it, not sure 15th needs the full on uncle Ike’s treatment. Especially after he attracts all of the under 18s to his new venture. Big paradox..

  13. This whole thing is just so weird. As far as preserving the neighborhood goes I think that all of the charm of the 80’s and 90’s is long gone. Instead of the Canterbury you have the new hip Canterbury. No Bagel Deli or True Value. Just a lot of bars that are strikingly similar. Carolyn’s Bakery, Rainbow Grocery, Horizon Books… I could go on. In a lot of peoples estimation the neighborhood is ruined so this is just funny to watch go down.

    That said, Ian does run a pretty sweet operation at Uncle Ikes.

  14. Yes, 15th has changed, but I still think it’s a pretty sweet street…..a little bit of small-town USA in a big city. But businesses like game arcades and pot shops will certainly make for a different ambiance, and not for the better in my opinion.

  15. Attention unaware citizens who know nothing of Capitalism or History:
    **Are any of you aware that Ray Angels (Angels Shoe Repair) family once owned the building at the corner of 15th and Republican where Angels shoe repair was located??
    Ray’s father sold the building years ago – Why do you think? To make money of course – Like every other business investor or real estate investor.
    Take your unaware heads out of your way to tight asses and understand that real estate is business and people are in business to make money.
    Thanks in advance