‘The Pike Investment and Development Opportunity’ — Eagle and Victrola block of E Pike hits market for $9.9M

(Images: Paragon Real Estate)

In spring of 2012, CHS broke the news on a $9.2 million deal for Madison Development Group to acquire what we called at the time the Bauhaus block, the collection of property home to cafes, shops, and old school Capitol Hill apartments along E Pine at Melrose where the preservation incentive-boosted Excelsior Apartments stands today.

The news set off a new wave of “Capitol Hill is dead” that hasn’t really subsided. Another new ripple — this time on Pike — should add to the call.

A new listing from Paragon Real Estate investors shows that the 9,870 square feet of land currently home to Victrola’s E Pike cafe, corner bodega transformed into sushi restaurant Noren, and the dark recesses of nearly 40 years of Capitol Hill queer history and nightlife at the Seattle Eagle hit the market Friday for $9.9 million and is being touted as an “A+ trophy location” and “investment and development opportunity.”

“This offering presents the rare opportunity to develop one of the last remaining corner lots within 3 blocks of Downtown Seattle. Site is suitable for approximately 70-100 units plus commercial space,” the sales pitch reads.

(Image: Paragon Real Estate)

Unlike the Bauhaus block news, this time CHS is reporting on the earliest step in the process of massive change. A sale and development will take years. And, yes, of course, “everything is for sale.” But the listing moves the clock on this particular block of Capitol Hill culture and history ahead at least a few ticks.

The property has been owned since 2011 by a corporation registered to a Mukilteo real estate investor who purchased the 1909-built stretch of E Pike for $3.15 million.

Hun Lee has also invested in transforming the old Benson’s Grocery on the eastern end of the property into Noren, his Japanese restaurant that features everything from sushi to burgers.

Before Lee’s purchase of the property, Victrola Coffee moved onto the block 2005 as it overhauled an auto row-era garage into a roastery. In 2017, CHS reported on Victrola’s move of its major roasting operations off of E Pike though it planned to continue small-batch roasting at the location.

Lee is also the landlord for Capitol Hill gay bar classic the Eagle next door. Soon to mark 40 years on Capitol Hill, the Seattle Eagle opened in 1980, replacing a “a mid-century lounge” called Le Chateau. The landmark bar is now one of two culturally and historically important gay venues on the market potential development on Capitol Hill. Broadway’s Neighbours hit market for $6.9 million to start the year. Former LGBTQ hangout the Broadway Grill, meanwhile, could be back in motion after that property was purchased by a prolific Capitol Hill real estate investor and developer for $3.2 million this winter.

Meanwhile, it is the season for big development site deals. Last month, a collection of E Olive Way commercial buildings including the home of the Fred Wildlife Refuge event space was purchased by Vancouver, B.C.-based developer Low Tide Properties for $21 million.

Dan Ollis, head of Whidbey Coffee, the company that operates Victrola, told CHS there wasn’t much to say about the listing at this time and we have not heard back from ownership at the Eagle. We’re told the property hitting the market wasn’t too surprising but that the businesses were not informed of the start of the sales process.

The sales packet for the property includes details on the leases and how much rent each tenant pays, pictures from inside the buildings, though none inside the Eagle, and also “preliminary feasibility” studies for potential redevelopment — including one option that shows development potential if the old auto row-era structures are torn down and another for if the “character” structures are maintained under the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District‘s preservation incentive program which gives developers the ability to build taller in exchange for preserving the street facing facade and basic dimensions of the old buildings..

On E Pike, the incentives for developers considering the $9.9 million price tag have been made even more clear as developer Wolff Company just sold off the preservation incentive boosted, and built on the bones of the old BMW dealership Pike/Pine Motorworks development for $128.3 million, the most expensive Capitol Hill apartment development transaction CHS has ever reported.


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5 thoughts on “‘The Pike Investment and Development Opportunity’ — Eagle and Victrola block of E Pike hits market for $9.9M

  1. NOOOOOOO Not the Eagle!

    Back in the mid eighties when I was just a kid I would go to the eagle (yes I snuck in when under age!) and flirt and make out with guys …… drinks / drugs….dancing ..Underwear parties… where I ended up with no underwear on!….. No regrets! Fun times ! ;)~

  2. The Eagle is not gone yet. Haven’t been there in a long time. Was always a blast visiting our friend there and everyone was welcoming this het couple

  3. I lived mid block at the Garden Studios 1517 Bellevue for 20 yrs we had to move out 3.5 yrs ago so they could redevelop the property by tearing down the Garden Studios and building a taller apartment building. But it still sits empty with no work started yet, kind of odd. I check the city permit website and there are filings now and then but nothing really indicating what is going on at least not that I can tell. The current building sustained some damage like a crack in the foundation when they dug down and building the Excelsior since the previous building that was torn down to make way for the Excelsior was built right next to the back wall of garden studios building not even more than an inch between the two.

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