After nearly 30 years of business, Earl’s Cuts and Styles won’t be cutting hair in the Midtown Center at 23rd and Union after this weekend. But its new home across the way in the Liberty Bank Building isn’t ready for the legendary barbershop just yet.
After Saturday’s final day of business in its original home, Earl’s is moving across the street to a temporary shop in The Central building. Earl Lancaster said he hopes the stay will be short and that he should be in his new shop in the Liberty Bank Building by the end of March.
With 27 years of day in, day out cuts and styles at 23rd and Union, all of the movement will feel like a bit of a frenzy for one of the few remaining Black-owned businesses in the area. Earl’s has managed, with help from Africatown and the opportunities created by Capitol Hill Housing’s inclusive development plan for the project, to beat the powers of displacement even if it means bouncing around the neighborhood’s new collection of mixed-use buildings.
Lake Union Partners is preparing Midtown for a major new development that will create a set of seven-story apartment buildings with 429 apartment units, including around 125 affordable housing units allocated for households earning between $40,000 and $65,000 per year or 60% to 85% of area-median income (AMI) built as part of both the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program and the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program (MFTE). Regional pharmacy chain Bartell Drugs is planned to occupy the large retail space on the corner of 23rd and Union with a mix of smaller, more neighborhood focused retail and restaurant spaces surrounding the inner square.
With demolition looming, not all of the changes at Midtown Center have been smooth. CHS reported here on the businesses that must move or close and the loss of the neighborhood post office.
Earl’s, however, is destined for the corner of 24th and Union where the Liberty Bank Building will open later this year as a six-story, 115-unit affordable housing development on the land once home to the region’s first Black-owned bank. That Brown Girl Cooks will also be part of the mix as the development has emphasized recruitment of Black-owned businesses. Construction of the building has also been a boost for minority contractors with more than 32% of the work — nearly $5 million worth — going toMinority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise-certified providers on the project including artists hired to work on the building. 17.9% are African American contractors providing $2.8 million to Black-owned businesses, according to Capitol Hill Housing.
In the meantime, Earl’s will be part of The Central, another Lake Union Partners development in the rapidly changing neighborhood. It will be a new, temporary address for the classic barbershop and will also mean new neighbors. Central District coffee and hair style concern Squirrel Chops is next door.
Earl’s Cuts and Styles will be open for its final day of business at 1162 23rd Ave on Saturday, February 2nd. You can find Earl in The Central at 2203 E Union until March when the shop is slated to move into its permanent home in the Liberty Bank Building. Learn more at facebook.com/EarlsCutsnStyles/.
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