This is the last time you’ll be able to rummage through 11th Ave’s Value Village for a Halloween costume — or a dookie brown leather jacket or some moccasins someone else has been walking in or a broken keyboard or a kneeboard.
The Capitol Hill thrift shop grandaddy is slated to close after the holiday, customers of the store are being told this weekend. A Value Village manager confirmed the closure plans with CHS.
The store’s last day of business is planned for November 7th.
UPDATE 10/25/2015: A spokesperson for the Value Village/Savers company has provided some additional information about the closure, telling CHS that the store has been renting the space on a “month-to-month basis” for years. So, why close now?
“Though unfortunate, certain business conditions have made it necessary to close our Value Village thrift store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood after a number of years of leasing the space on a month-to-month basis,” the spokesperson said.
We’ve asked for more information about the “business conditions.”
Value Village says all Capitol Hill employees have been notified “and are encouraged to apply for positions” at other Value Village locations.
“We are deeply grateful for the community that has embraced this store, and we sincerely hope that our long-time shoppers will visit our other Value Village locations in Seattle-area communities including Crown Hill in Ballard and Lake City,” the spokesperson writes.
Once home to REI, 11th Ave’s old Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building began the year being designated for Seattle landmarks protection but will finish it with the exit of its longtime tenant. In 1963, REI opened what was intended to be their headquarter store in the building. The old auto row structure was purchased from REI in 1996 by the Ellison family that founded the Value Village chain.
In January, the creosote-scented Value Village building was joined as a landmark by the neighboring White Motor Company building currently home to The Stranger and the Rhino Room.
Both structures were being lined up to be part of a 75-foot high office and mixed-use development prior to the designations. Developer Legacy Commercial, owned by Tom Ellison who also serves as the chairman of the board for Value Village/Savers, lobbied against the landmarks protections but has not clearly annunciated the plan was off the table. Value Village’s exit was seen as inevitable with or without the project as the costs and logistics of managing the store in the busy Pike/Pine environment were rising to unsustainable heights for the thrift chain. Meanwhile, management at The Stranger have also been eyeing alternatives in preparation of exiting 11th Ave.
UPDATE 10/26/2015: A representative for Legacy Commercial tells CHS that the office development project continues to move forward as the development’s architects and planners work with the landmarks board on design elements that meet protection standards for the Value Village building’s protected exterior and the Stranger building’s exterior and interior. The development is planned to meet Pike/Pine Conservation District requirements for preservation as part of the neighborhood’s incentive program that allow developers to build taller in exchange for keeping portions of older buildings.
The process is likely to continue into 2016. With Value Village’s exit from the building, it’s possible the giant, multi-floor retail space could remain empty for another year or more before any construction begins.
There is currently no new tenant lined up for the space and any use beyond retail would be prohibitively expensive to pursue for what, in the longterm, is a temporary stay.
“If there was some other retailer that could use it in the interim, we would consider it,” the representative tells CHS.