At its annual fundraiser last week, Capitol Hill Housing announced some news about its Liberty Bank Building project at 24th and Union that hits right at the heart of the “inclusive” development.
Ready to be displaced by redevelopment of its longtime Midtown Center home, Earl’s Cuts and Styles will be moving into the Liberty Bank development, leaving its former home of 26 years on the corner of 23rd and Union.
Earl Lancaster, the Earl in Earl’s Cuts and Styles, is ultimately optimistic about the move. “I never thought I would have to move, but change is good,” he said. “The neighborhood is changing quicker than we would know, but I’m happy to be a part of it and continue to have a footprint in the central district, which is where I grew up at.”
Earl’s new location across E Union is the result of Capitol Hill Housing’s partnership with Africatown. The two nonprofits are aiming to fill retail space in the Liberty Bank Building affordable housing complex with African American owned businesses to acknowledge the history of the lot the building will stand on, once home to the first Black-owned bank in Seattle.
Meanwhile, Earl’s remains open in Midtown Center where early demolition permits have been filed but not yet approved to tear down the shopping center to make way for the Africatown Community Land Trust, Capitol Hill Housing, and Lake Union Partners-developed project to transform the block into a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, plus retail anchored by a large pharmacy.
Lancaster said he was approached by Africatown about two years ago and he wanted his business to be in the Liberty Bank Building retail space rather than facing displacement. He believes the same opportunity will surface for other African American owned businesses in the area.
That Brown Girl Cooks! is also slated to join Earl’s in the Liberty Bank Building and, hopefully, the two businesses along with some yet to be announced will create a successful retail mix. In the past, a credit union was in the mix — as was a new project from the legendary sister duo behind Capitol Hill’s dearly departed Kingfish Cafe.
“I’ll be just off the corner. I hope I can keep catering to the community and getting walk in clients, and I hope my long time clients will take some time and spend a couple extra minutes to find a place to park,” Lancaster said. Aside from parking, Lancaster is anticipating a smooth transition and is looking forward to a fresh start that pays homage to the community’s roots.
The Liberty Bank Building will include 115 affordable apartments and more than 3,000 square feet of street level retail. It is expected to open in mid-2019.
You can learn more at earlscutsandstyles.com.