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A mixed-use Neumos? Venues post mock land use signs, ‘missing’ posters in bid to save live music in Seattle

That Notice of Proposed Land Use Action sign that has gone up outside Neumos is, fortunately for Capitol Hill music lovers, only a warning.

They’re going up across the city outside the Tractor Tavern, El Corazon, Central Saloon, Wild Buffalo, Jazz Bones and more of Seattle’s remaining live music venues.

But fortunately, nobody has decided to sell out and redevelop the corner of 10th and E Pike — yet.

“These signs are a call to action for the public, designed to raise awareness about the stark reality that permanent closure of these venues could occur if we do not, as a community, come together to keep music live,” write backers of a campaign to support Neumos and the rest of the live music scene in Seattle and across the state.

Keep Music Live launched this week to raise funds “to save hometown, community-based music venues.” You can learn more and donate at keepmusiclivewa.com.

Keep Music Live co-chairs include Grammy award-winning artist Sir Mix-A-Lot, community leader Jill Singh, and Scott Redman, CEO of Sellen Construction. Board Members for Keep Music Live include: President: Manny Cawaling, Executive Director at Inspire Washington; Vice-President: Holly Hinton, Director of Music and Artists Partnerships at Starbucks; Secretary: Karen Loria, Operations Manager at Vitalogy Foundation; Treasurer: Mary Cadera, former Chief of Staff at Vulcan Inc.; Cedric Walker and Eva Walker, founders/twin sibling musicians of The Black Tones; Craig Jewell, Owner of Wild Buffalo House of Music in Bellingham; and Ginger Ewing, co-founder of Spokane-based Terrain.

In Seattle, the message behind the mock land use signs is stark — if these businesses go under, organizers from the involved clubs say, they won’t be replaced with new venues — “they’ll replaced by developments most likely,” Leigh Sims, publicist and part of the ownership at Pike/Pines Life on Mars, tells CHS. “We’re also putting up missing posters for live music,” Sims writes.

CHS reported here on the challenges the Hill’s live music venues have faced during COVID-19 restrictions and their uncertain path to recovery.

With nearly 30 years since its start as Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café in an old Salvation Army at the corner of 10th and Pike, Neumos faces an uncertain future. But its fortunes appear a little better than most. The building it calls home is co-owned by Neumos partner and longtime neighborhood investor Jerry Everard.

The Neumos stage has been quiet for months but this weekend will bring a momentary burst of activity. Friday, Neumos will host a livestream performance from Capitol Hill’s own Macklemore as a part of the nationwide #SOSFest. “Independent venues like ours are fighting for survival, and you can help #SaveOurStages by subscribing and streaming on @YouTubeMusic this weekend,” Neumos says about the show.


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10 thoughts on “A mixed-use Neumos? Venues post mock land use signs, ‘missing’ posters in bid to save live music in Seattle” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Seems super easy for Seattle to designate a cultural district where these fun places to go would be protected. (Vancouver has done it on many streets in BC). So that housing could be built for people who know and want to be near late night places but the noise ordinances are reduced to protect the vibrancy that most people who live on Capitol Hill want and is the reason they live here.
    The bars were there when you moved in, so how is it any louder now than back then?

    • I had the same reaction. Elevated outdoor patio, interesting articulation, tasteful wood trim, upper floors nicely set back — what’s not to like? There’s no shortage of hideous new construction they could have highlighted instead. But I agree with the sentiment.

  2. We have a housing shortage and record unemployment, and we’re worried about saving music venues that no one can go to (without potentially dying)? Priorities, people. This is about saving business and making money, plain and simple. Lying is not the answer, and it is never the answer.

      • Actually the city has thousands of recently built high end apartments sitting vacant – more than the # of homeless – because the property owners would rather let them sit vacant than lower the rent, because that would allow ‘riffraff’ into their buildings and undermine their ‘rich people live here’ marketing strategy. This is a downside of Seattle’s choices on zoning changes: the drumbeat of ‘build more housing supply to lower rents for everyone’ doesn’t work when 20% or more of units sit vacant. The city needs to seriously tax units vacant for more the 6 months to force those into the housing market. Vancouver BC did a version of this to stop offshore $ from buying up tons of high density residential buildings and then letting them sit vacant as an investment instead of serving as housing for people – and driving up rental and housing costs (and the vacant building values) through scarcity of available housing units.

      • @Randy That’s a misguided strategy, because landlords who insist on getting top-of-the-market rents can’t be assured on getting good tenants — what they often get instead are bad tenants with money. There’s a big difference between the two. Good tenants are considerate of their neighbors, pay on time, and take care of the unit. As a result, they have options that enable them to pick and choose where to live, and will likely pass on a unit that they feel is overpriced. Bad tenants throw loud parties, leave messes in common areas and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Lacking good landlord references they don’t have as many choices when they move, so they end up in those overpriced units that otherwise would stand vacant in times of slack demand (like now). So high rents are no defense against “riffraff.” Most landlords probably understand this dynamic at least to some extent, but certainly there are those who see only dollar signs.

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