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District 3’s Sawant wants to ‘save the Showbox’ — UPDATE

(Image: The Showbox)

Capitol Hill’s City Hall representative Kshama Sawant is facing pushback on her proposed emergency resolution to extend landmarks and historical protections to downtown music venue, the Showbox.

“Some ask: aren’t the artists and community members wanting to #SaveTheShowbox simply being nostalgic, sentimental, and anti-change?,” Sawant wrote Monday morning on social media. “The problem is very little of the change in Seattle has been on our terms as ordinary working people — it favors big corporations and the wealthy.”

Late last month, the Daily Journal of Commerce, appropriately enough, broke the news of plans for a 44-story residential tower on the 1st Ave site. Given the status of the planning, the venue likely wouldn’t be demolished for years but the outcry in the city — even with the affordability crisis still in full swing — was immediate and strong.

Monday, Sawant, citing the coming summer recess for the body and saying Seattle doesn’t need more “luxury housing,” set out to convince her fellow council members that they should back emergency action urging the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to extend protections to the Showbox and extending the historical protections of the Pike Place Market District across the street to include the music venue.

Sawant is seeking to have her proposals considered at Monday afternoon’s full council but her counterparts haven’t exactly joined the chorus with some pushing back on why the council should act without the issues first going to committee.

UPDATE: Committee it is. Monday, the council agreed to have Sawant’s proposal taken up in Sally Bagshaw’s Finance and Neighborhoods committee Wednesday afternoon.

The Showbox lies outside of Sawant’s district but the largest live music venue on Capitol Hill in her District 3 seems unlikely to need any similar protections anytime soon.

In spring 2017, CHS visited Neumos to check out its major overhaul as ownership increased its investment in the venue. The club underwent one significant upgrade in the late 90s and another in 2012 as the subterranean sibling club Barboza opened beneath. In 2014, the one-time Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room marked 20 years on Capitol Hill. In 2012, Jason Lajeunesse and partners Mike Meckling, and Steve Severin inked another 10-year-lease along with fellow club partner Jerry Everard. One key to the stability at Neumos is the club’s success. Another? It has an ace in the hole — co-owner Everard also owns the building he purchased in 1993 from the Salvation Army for $577,895.

The Showbox issue joins a summer of unusual targets of support for the Socialist Alternative party leader and veteran city council member Sawant. Last week, Sawant also began her push for a City Council resolution compelling Mayor Jenny Durkan to require living wages for emergency medical technicians as they work out a new contract with private service provider American Medical Response.

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19 thoughts on “District 3’s Sawant wants to ‘save the Showbox’ — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. I have been a huge critic of Kashama Sawant but she’s doing the right thing trying to save our city from developers who care nothing about the culture of this amazing unique city. Kashama Sawant you need an ally you can Count on Bloodaxe supporting you! I’m tired of fancy ass condo’s going up that the majority of us cannot and do not want to pay that much to live somewhere. It’s silly and I am shocked that the rest of city hall is mum saying nothing what are you all doing sitting there in a public office you were elected to. Kashama Sawant is so far the only one speaking up maybe we need to get her a bigger financer and get her to run for Mayor?

    • So you think saving the Showbox from condos (not condo’s) will create more housing? You think Councilperson Bigmouth is doing this for any reason other than self-aggrandizement? And you seriously think she’d stand a chance in a city-wide Mayoral race? You must be kidding. Capitol Hill-CD/District 3 the only district clueless enough to elect and then re-elect this gigantic pile of ego. If she ran city-wide she’d have her butt handed to her by the whole rest of the city. She knows better. On the bright side, if she had to give up her Council seat to run, I hope she does.

    • Yes, rapacious developers are part of the problem, but it is the City which is encouraging all the development with various unwise policies (upzoning, no parking option, etc). I am appalled that nice, cozy bungalows are being destroyed (and the neighborhood character with it) because the City is in bed with developers. Saving the Showbox is going to do nothing to stop this freight train.

      • Why blame developers? They wouldn’t build them if people didn’t sell proprieties to them and people didn’t buy/rent them. Developers are giving people what they want and in this case, it’s luxury downtown condo’s. Why don’t you also point fingers at the sellers and buyers/renters who you believe are ruining our city, Bob?

        If people have the money for luxury condo’s, let them buy them. I’d rather this pool be isolated into properties they want than forcing them into lower priced places where the rest of us can afford.

      • Timmy, there’s blame in many places for what is happening. Developers are offering large amounts of money (much more than assessed value) to entice homeowners into selling. While I wish they would decide otherwise, I don’t blame them for selling, because I assume in many cases they need the money for their retirement, or other needs.

        For the record, I am not against developments (even taller buildings…..your favorite!) in areas like downtown/Belltown, or in more commercial areas such as Broadway and First Hill. What I am against is the bulldozing of older bungalows (in good condition) on quieter residential streets, in favor of ugly townhouses crammed into a small lot….because I think this is destroying the character of our neighborhoods.

      • I agree with you Bob, I like keeping quite residential streets quiet. This proposed development adds 44 floors of housing where zero housing exists today. This is a win for the housing market!

  2. The reason that a LOT of people live in Seattle is the Arts Culture. It’s also a big reason that people move her out of college from Kentucky, Wisconsin, or Connecticut. They’re young, get tech jobs, have disposable income, and want to go out and spend it in clubs, rests, and bars. Some years back we did an Economic Impact study of the Nightlife and we contribute 1.3 billion dollars to the economy annually. That’s a pretty good number. I’m sure that number has increased by now. Most of us don’t want to lose our arts scene. We lose the Showbox and then what’s sacred? Anything can go. If you don’t fight for it, then don’t complain when you talk about how Seattle isn’t like what it used to be and it’s changed into a bland city that’s overrun with tech folks. My two cents for whomever cares.

  3. Why is she even involved? The Showbox is not even in the district she is suppose to represent

    How many of the issues that she ran on has she accomplished? How is that rent control coming along???
    She needs to stop yelling and start working

    Her next campaign slogan should be:

    Promises Made – Promises Not Kept