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Velocity Dance Center seeks new home as COVID-19 crisis brings 24-year run on Capitol Hill to an end

(Image: Velocity)

A symbol of the neighborhood’s efforts to bring its arts organizations and venues forward amid gentrification and soaring rents, Velocity Dance Center has announced it is leaving its Capitol Hill home due to “financial hardship brought on by the pandemic and government-mandated closures” during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“As Velocity takes this step to stabilize amidst uncertainty, we recognize and make room for the grief and joy that mark growth and change,” the center’s announcement reads. “We are reminded that it is all of you who make Velocity a place of creativity, connection, and care. We are so grateful for all the memories we’ve made together in the space. We understand your grief. We feel it too. But we are also excited to be more flexible. To have the ability to look forward to future programming, collaborations, and a new future home.”

Velocity has been facing the challenge of a possible end to its 12th Ave center in recent years as the nonprofit faced the pressures of the increasingly expensive neighborhood.


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In 2019, CHS reported on Velocity’s emergency fundraising as it worked to sort out its next moves. “We are watching organizations left, right, and center on the Hill close down and move out because nobody can afford their space anymore, so it is real,” Velocity’s development director told CHS at the time. “It is part of a larger crisis.”

In its announcement, the dance and performance nonprofit said it had been negotiating the terms of its lease with the building’s ownership, before opting to break its lease with four years remaining and forging a settlement agreement. The move makes  “a more sustainable Velocity possible immediately,” as the nonprofit faces a projected $330,000 loss in income, 47% below its planned totals. Velocity says it is also “partially furloughing” all staff.

Velocity said its rent in the 1621 12th Ave building totaled $11,000 a month.

Velocity Dance Center opened in 1996 in Capitol Hill’s Odd Fellows building as a space for dance training and rehearsal. It has grown into Seattle’s only dedicated contemporary dance venue. Besides premiering and featuring contemporary dance on its stage, Velocity also functions as an “incubator” by providing rehearsal rental space as well as artist-led classes, workshops, year-round artist residency programs.

Velocity has faced financial challenges and instability before. In 2010, the center hit some rocky ground when the Odd Fellows Hall at 10th and Pine, its home since 1996, was bought by a real estate investor who tripled the rent. Thanks to a capital campaign, Velocity was able to renovate and move into its current digs on 12th Ave.

The building belongs to longtime owner Elizabeth Linke, one of the few Capitol Hill landlords who didn’t take the path of redeveloping or transitioning their auto row-era Pike/Pine properties to food and drink venues. The basement area of the building was once home to the Capitol Hill Arts Center venue. Today, it is the Tails of the City dog daycare.

Freed of its Capitol Hill rent burden, Velocity can now focus on online training and performances and its future — including, eventually, a new home.

“The board and leadership made this decision to prioritize sustaining the people and programs that are central to Velocity’s mission,” the announcement reads. “We will continue artistic and educational programming online and in partnership with other spaces and organizations in 2021, while we lay the foundation for the future of Velocity.”

You can learn more at velocitydancecenter.org.

Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated chs@capitolhillseattle.com -- LAST UPDATED: 12/29/20

Food and drink

  • The Wandering Goose, reported 12/29/2020
  • Barca, announced 11/11/2020
  • Suika, lease issues, announced 9/27/2020
  • Juicebox Cafe, announced 9/28/20
  • Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill, announced 9/25/20
  • Amandine, closing 9/30/20 announced 9/25/20
  • Bar Sue, announced 9/25/20
  • Marination Station, announced 9/14/20
  • Ha Na, announced 8/27/20
  • Intrigue Coffeehouse, announced 8/21/20
  • Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
  • Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
  • The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
  • Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
  • Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
  • Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
  • Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
  • My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered

Retail and more

  • Everyday Music, 10th Ave, June 2021
  • QFC, 15th Ave E, 4/24/21
  • Sameday Testing, 15th Ave E, February
  • GameStop, Broadway, 2020
  • Velocity Dance Center, 12th Ave, will continue as organization but leaving Capitol Hill space, announced 12/4/20.
  • Stock and Pantry, E Pine, announced 10/14/20
  • Take 2, 15th Ave E, announced 9/30/20
  • No Parking, E Pike, announced 9/5/20
  • Ritual House, 19th Ave E, reported 7/15/20
  • Totokaelo, 10th Ave, reported 7/13/20
  • Mode of Fitness, E Pine
  • Urban Outfitters, Broadway, youth fashion chain's exit began last summer as Broadway Market began search for new tenant
  • Le Frock, E Pike, consignment shop announced permanent closure in April

HELP KEEP CHS 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' FOR EVERYONE -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


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Mel
Mel
2 months ago

This is so sad.. I used to dance there. Beautiful studios and really nice staff. Capital hill has been dead since chop and every business I love has left or been vandalized. I want my city back.