Mexican consulate makes July plans for Capitol Hill move-in

The flag still flies over 3rd Ave but will soon be coming to E Roy (Image: Consulado de México en Seattle)

The Consulate of Mexico in Seattle has announced its plans to move onto Capitol Hill this summer. CHS broke the news in February that a new facility for the country’s diplomats was under construction in the E Roy building previously home to the Harvard Exit movie theater.

In its announcement Thursday, the consulate reports that its final day of activity at its longtime 3rd Ave home will be June 22nd. No official opening date for the new consulate location was announced but it is expected to open in July.

“The new office will allow an improvement in the quality of the services provided by the Consulate of Mexico,” the consulate announcement reads:

It will offer more comfortable spaces for the public at large; It will be located in a more secure area; It will allow the promotion of arts and culture; It will offer space for holding outreach meetings with the Mexican and Mexican heritage community; and it will remain in a central area of the city, with access to public transportation, close to parking, and the main highways that connect the city with the rest of the state of Washington.

The historic theater building was being prepared as office and restaurant space and developer Scott Shapiroof Eagle Rock Ventures . The plan had been for a restaurant to take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while Shapiro envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building was set to become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices. Shapiro acquired the property in 2014 for $2.35 million and closed the theater in 2015, eventually bringing an end to its 46-year run.

But the diplomatic opportunity won out over offices and restaurant space. According to permits filed for the new consulate, the diplomatic facility will take up two stories plus the theater’s mezzanine and basement, will include “open work spaces,” a “lounge area” reconfigured as a “work area,” areas with “glass partitions,” and a conference room, and will create a new main entryway and new internal stairway for the structure. The project also was planned to include a new “flag pole and signage” — something that will need special approval in the neighborhood’s Harvard-Belmont Historic District which also requires that the 1925-built masonry exterior remains intact. The architect on the project is Capitol Hill-based S+H Works.

It’s been a busy year for diplomatic moving trucks around Capitol Hill. In April, CHS was on hand as Russian diplomats cleared out of the country’s consular residence in Madison Park as a row over international tensions shook out in Seattle.

In selecting the Harvard Exit, Mexican officials said they were seeking “the most suitable premises that would best serve the growing Mexican and Mexican heritage community in the Pacific Northwest during the forthcoming years.”

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8 thoughts on “Mexican consulate makes July plans for Capitol Hill move-in

  1. Seems like a bad fit for the neighborhood. A restaurant would have much better for the area. I’m sure it will bring some people to the area but how many times have you had to go the Mexican Consulate?

    I miss the Harvard Exit RIP

    • That word “you” is doing a lot of work here. I think you misspelled “you, a white person”.

      Accurate in my case. Think, though: lots more employment than a restaurant (bringing money into the community from outside). Brings people too, of course. And we already have at least a reasonable number of restaurants…

      • RE: “You, a white person”. Exactly!
        Didn’t anyone notice the excited “!Announcement to the Mexican community in Washington, Alaska, and northwest Idaho!” ? It’s not all about you. The consulate serves the needs of the Mexican community too. It’s a conveniently located spot accessible by transit to a large Mexican community. It’s a great fit to the neighborhood. We have *plenty* of restaurants and bars.

  2. I’m very happy to see more mixed uses in the neighborhood, it helps keep the area active and vibrant at all times of the day and brings folks from outside of the immediate area in.

    While I miss the Harvard Exit, it is great to see the building continuing.

  3. Sad to lose a beautiful historic public space, but I’m guessing that fitting out the building as a restaurant was cost prohibitive, and much better to have it occupied by a tenant sooner rather than later.
    As far as it’s impact on the neighborhood – it’s likely minimal. The consulate mostly provides support for Mexican nationals who need visa/passport/green card assistance. It’s pretty low key.

  4. ¡Bienvenidos a los ciudadanos Méjicanos y a los empleos del consulado Méjicano! Estamos encantados de dar la bienvenida a ustedes.

    (Also, miss the old Harvard Exit, but it’ll never come back. And I’m glad this hasn’t turned into another bleeping restaurant or bar. We need more diversity in terms of the workplaces and businesses along the Broadway corridor and on Capitol Hill in general.

  5. I think it’s a fabulous and varied use for the old Harvard Exit. Much better than one more restaurant/bar. Some dignity for the block.

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