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Charmingly named 15th Ave Garage won’t return to Harvard and Pine after all


The Cue’s garage door could still be put to good use even without 15th Ave Garage. (Image: CHS)

The geolocation-twisted 15th Ave Garage won’t be returning to E Pine after all, and probably won’t be going back to its original location on 15th Ave either.

While the longtime Capitol Hill auto repair shop had plans to return to a renovated space inside the nearly complete Harvard and E Pine development known as The Cue, owners Alice and Jay Demise say the space turned out to be unsuitable for auto repair.

During construction, developers didn’t leave enough room for three car lifts or the ability for cars to adequately maneuver, according to the owner’s architect Anjali Grant.

“The architects who did the shell and core probably weren’t paid to look at tenant improvement,” Grant said.

Alice Demise isn’t bitter about the situation, though she said she is sad to leave Capitol Hill. “The whole building is a great, positive thing for the neighborhood. Everyone tried, the intentions were really good,” she said.

Yes, the 15th Ave Garage did start out on 15th Ave in the early 1950s. When the family-owned garage was forced to move in the 1980s, the owners wanted to make sure their customers could still find them. Demise admitted that opening a shop with the same name in Georgetown or south Seattle could even further confuse new customers, but there’s also something undeniably charming about carrying on the misnamed tradition.

Seattle developer Denny Onslow had planned to keep the garage along with the two other preexisting businesses, Bill’s Off Broadway and cycle shop Red Label Moto. Bill’s, a much-loved pizza and bar spot, will open back at the corner it called home for 39 years this summer — in plenty of time before the kick-off on the 2015 NFL season.

The Cue benefited from an older overlay incentive program which granted the project an extra floor of height in exchange for preserving the 93-year-old structure. The building was not deemed worthy of deeper landmarks protection in an earlier ruling.

One upside is the garage door built into the space in anticipation of the auto shop’s return could still be put to good use, with plenty of examples to draw from around Capitol Hill. Demise said she and her husband are happy to pass the space on to someone else as they consider new locations.

“We wanted to serve the neighborhood well,” Demise said. “We feel really good for being there for so long.”

Meanwhile, the block is humming along with work on nearby projects. Construction continues at the massive Pike Motorworks building in an ambitious preservation project and development that will take up most of the surrounding block with spaces for retail, restaurants and hundreds of apartments. Developer Wolff Co. is busy bringing nearly 300 apartments to market and filling 19,000+ square feet of retail in the development.

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6 thoughts on “Charmingly named 15th Ave Garage won’t return to Harvard and Pine after all

  1. Please stop calling facadism a preservation and development project. The only thing preserved at these sites was the developer’s windfall profits.

  2. Sad to hear. We had taken our car to Jay and Alice for years and were looking forward to their return. Always had quality and honest work from them. They will be missed

  3. Wow that’s disappointing. I was looking forward to taking my business back to 15th Ave.

    If you query “Harvard” in my searchable table of the 1895 Seattle street renaming, you’ll find that it used to be called “15th Street”! That was my little giggle every time I gave them my keys.

    There’s another nearby “former 15th” candidate for them to move to. Currently-named 13th Ave and 13th Ave South from Denny to Hanford was 15th and 15th Ave South prior to 1895.

    I haven’t put together the tables for West Seattle, Georgetown or Rainier Valley/S Beacon Hill post-annexation yet, I think there was at least a 15th in West Seattle.

  4. So, have Jay & Alice retired? We miss having an honest, reasonably priced garage to turn to when we need one. They were just really nice people contributing to the community. If you’re reading this Alice or Jay, do you have plans to re-open someday?