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Capitol Hill Value Village to close after one last Halloween — UPDATE

(Image: REI)

(Image: REI)

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.

Screen-Shot-2014-02-23-at-8.37.50-PM-600x3431Both 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.


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56 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Value Village to close after one last Halloween — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

      • Yes, what a tragedy it was when REI moved out! How dare Value Village push out REI and ruin the neighborhood!

      • Dude, Check you facts before you open your mouth. REI had outgrown that building and had already purchased land which became their flagship store. It was a highly inefficient for REI as well as for Value Village.

      • That all depends on how much money you have and, subsequently, the degree to which gentrification affects you. Judging by how tone deaf and condescending your comment is, I’d imagine it’s no problem for you.

      • Removing every vestige of anything affordable or a long standing dynamic of a community for what? Bar, bar, bar, condos, condos, condos. That isn’t “progress.” That’s developers raping a community. The majority of people in Seattle are not highly paid tech workers. A small percentage can “enjoy” the same-as-any-generic-gentrified-area new world of Capitol Hill but most people will gain nothing from it.

      • I’m sure people appreciate the use of “rape” to describe a retail store moving.

        Capitol Hill isn’t just Pike/Pine. At least three other thrift stores opened in other parts of the area this year.

      • Where? You have Goodwill, Value Village, and Lifelong. You realize a store selling overpriced used crap for profit is not really a “thrift store” in the same sense as Value Village, right?

      • Contrary to popular belief, developers do not have control over where development happens. Developers build according to the incentives presented to them — just like you and I buy and sell things. If the owner of this building wants to sell to them, then developers will buy it and put up condos.

        If you owned a building now worth several times more than you paid for it, wouldn’t you want to sell it too?

        It’s easy to try to blame others for this sort of change. It’s harder to recognize everyone involved is just responding to incentives. I’m sorry those incentives don’t work in your favor.

      • Yeah. I’d say over 30% increase in rents and a loss of nearly 40% of the long standing (20 plus years) locally owned businesses in one neighborhood over the last decade is reaching nightmarish proportions.

  1. I hate what Seattle has become. I am priced out of the neighborhood…I could afford Value Village and cheap burrito places. I can’t afford $12 sandwiches and $2200 a month condos. And I bet that is what is going to end up where VV now stands.

    • Sadly, big money moving into “popular havens” creates a vacuum that sucks all the life and art out of a community that brought the masses there to begin with. Troubling devaluation of truly great places are taking place all around this country. San Fran, Seattle, Ashville NC,…

    • definition of evil: “profoundly immoral and malevolent.”

      definition of hyperbole: “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.”

    • A developer friend of mine indicated that a 36 story condo tower might go up in the area, due to potential lifting of some height restrictions for the hill. The light rail station will allow for taller denser blgds on cap hill.

  2. Darn, that place had the best stuff! Over the years we got great cookware, furniture, office stuff, electronics and probably most of my wardrobe from them. You could stumble over really quality merchandise for a fraction of what it was worth. End of an era for sure. I am so bummed.

  3. While I’ll miss the weird gasoline smell of Value Village a bit, it’s not like there aren’t still a fair number of alternatives in the immediate area. A brand new Goodwill. The enormous (and also new) Lifelong Thrift.

    Also, Value Village promoted itself as benefiting working class people with retraining, but apparently it’s not all that great at doing that; you’re better off shopping at Goodwill if you actually hope to help someone with your purchase..

    • Goodwill exploits workers with disabilities by paying them well under minimum wage – sometimes as little as 22 cents an hour. Many, many regional Goodwill CEOs earn $300,000 – $500,000. Goodwill’s president earns close to a million dollars a year. Goodwill isn’t great at helping people in need, either. You need to do some research.

      • I’m actually aware of Goodwill’s rep too, thanks. The disabilities issue is unfortunate, but the issue there is the feds that allows the disabled exemption.

      • I’m in the non-profit sector, and know a Board member of the local Goodwill. It’s a very well run org.

        Why does the myth continue that it’s ok to underpay the CEO’s if big non-profits? The salary figures you quote are exactly in line with the job, frankly.

      • “Why does the myth continue that it’s ok to underpay the CEO’s if big non-profits”

        Because instead of the “profits” going to the owner it goes to the CEO who makes the company, not non-profit, seem like a charity and not in fact what it is and that is a CEO subsidy based on intentional disception.

  4. This is so lame. I go to VV at least 3 times a week. It’s toy section has provided me as a vintage toy and Lego collector with so many treasures. The Goodwill barely has a toy end cap. Super sad.

  5. Seattle sold its soul to the devil and his foreign investors and tech children. They might as well rename Seattle Sanfrancouver by now.

    • The real “truth” is that without those tech children, you wouldn’t have this blog to bitch about these awful changes in the world. So, yeah, irony and all.

      • Whoa there kids – the blog was here before this latest wave of brogrammers.
        The blog will be here, I trust, for the next wave as well.
        How they will learn about funk and style without Capitol Hill’s version of Value Village is lost on me. Yes, there are other thrift stores…but something is missing in them.

  6. Terrible news. That’s where I shopped for everything on 50% off days…clothes, houseware items. Geez, now I’ll be picking thru the stuff people leave on the street. Very sad to see how it’s all fading. I’ve lived here a long time, and yes, there was always change, but it was slow and it didn’t make you feel like you were being shoved out.

  7. And forty years ago or whenever Value Village moved in, I’m sure the then-residents were bemoaning the loss of whatever landmark store was there before. Cities change, and trying to freeze them at the exact time and configuration that they meant something to you personally is just folly.

    • Not even 40 years, 1996 when REI moved out and opened their flagship store down in South Lake Union (before there was anything else at all in South Lake Union worth going to).

  8. Oh, NO!!! I will miss this place so very much. It was always a veritable treasure hunt to poke through their merchandise and it always had affordable clothing and shoes and books and . . . well, you get the idea. So disappointing. I hope they can find some place else to set up shop on the Hill.

    Thanks for letting us know about this latest “development” (no pun intended) on Capitol Hill, CHS.

  9. More of the Bellevuation of Capitol Hill. If it’s affordable or cheap it’s days are numbered as Cap Hill becomes a place catering to privileged Millinials.

  10. Oh ALL the pictures to put up for this article, WHY would you guys pick one of that monster Macklemore wearing fur!!!!!!!!

  11. Let’s just be clear here. The parent company of Value Village is a multinational corporation that owns the building. Value Village “rents” from itself. VV’s parent is just moving itself out of its own building in order to redevelop it.

    Likely, we will soon be seeing an attempt by the owners to convince the Historic Preservation Commission that restoration is “economically infeasible.”

    • I guess anyone can comment as if it were fact.
      HuskyLoser , Your facts are as good as your football team !!!! you are wrong.
      Value Village does NOT own the building and would love to stay.

      Their lease is up and sadly the property is worth more as a non-retail use.

      • Leaving aside the name calling – unless you are a sock puppet for the developers.

        1. The parent company of the Value Village chain is Savers, Inc., a multinational company headquartered in Bellevue. (The Savers chain has stores in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.)

        2. 40% of Savers is owned by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners (two private equity firms). Another 40% is owned by Thomas Ellison, Chairman of Savers, Inc. The balance is owned by company management. The company was purchased by the current ownership group for roughly $1.6 billion.

        3. The Ellison family owns the “Value Village” building in Capitol Hill.

        4. The developers seeking to re-develop the property are Legacy Commercial. Legacy Commercial are a private RE company owned by Tom Ellison, Chairman and 40% owner of Savers Inc. and family patriarch of the family owning the building.

        Its all the same people. Value Village rents from itself. So lets stop pretending this is some case of a third-party landlord “pushing out” Value Village.

      • Thank you Husky Down. This is the truth. Nobody else seems to have a clue. I would like to add that the landmark protection for this building and the building on the corner is in place. Legacy has tried unsuccessfully to move forward with the redevelopment. The landmark board has rejected it. Unless they litigate, these building are protected and will not be facadimized. The closing of value village is a very good sign that the building will be repurposed rather than redeveloped into a block-sized building with a false front. This is a huge win for the neighborhood. I can’t wait for that hideous Value Village awning to come down.

      • You are incorrect. The owner of Value Village owns that location and lot. Look things up prior to commenting. And they just told their employees, they will only keep the men the last two weeks of closing. Can you say “discrimination”

  12. Have you guys seen the house that the owner of Value Village is building on Mercer Island? They had to tear down four existing homes to build it. Don’t act like this is St. Vincent DePaul’s or the Salvation Army. If it’s about the community, support Life Long thrift. Also I was in VV five times a week…none of their employees ever said it was good company to work we should be happy that an exploitative, capitalist, that takes donations under the guise of charity and sell them back to us at a huge mark-up is closing…not me though, I found too much cool stuff there over the years…RIP Capital Hill Value Village..

  13. Nothing new in the trend to kick out anyone in the city who is not supported by a rich daddy. On a good note there are TONS of thrift stores when You venture down South to Your new home. Eventually the yuppies will miss having people around to tend their bars. LMFAO!! Ugh…. *apathy*

  14. Too bad ValVil isn’t a non-profit or a publicly traded for-profit. Then a case could be made that Ellison violated his fiduciary duty as an officer of the ValVil board. Renting month-to-month for years? How convenient for his development company.