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Pony’s patio getting slimmed down makeover to make room for E Madison RapidRide bus project

Relax. When this is all over, Pony and its E Madison patio — slimmed down just a little — will still be there.

Owner Mark Stoner confirms that the work underway on the famous street sign wall of Pony’s patio is part of changes being made to make way for E Madison’s coming “bus rapid transit” line.

“We will reopen,” Stoner says, “but with a slightly shrunken patio.”

CHS reported here in 2018 on negotiations between Stoner and the city to acquire the 247-square-foot portion of the Pony property along E Madison for the $134 million+ project to provide speedy, regular Metro bus service in the busy corridor. Stoner said he had hoped to work out a trade with the city taking what it needed on the Madison side of the bar and Pony getting new ground on E Union but land swaps with the city are against the law.

Instead, the two sides came to an agreement this fall, according to King County records, as Pony remained closed during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Stoner said the $250,000 deal included the estimated cost of remodeling the popular patio.

By 2024 and after $134 million of construction plus whatever it cost to buy a chunk of Pony, the RapidRide G bus line is planned to serve the corridor’s 2.3-mile, 10-station route and connect the waterfront through First Hill and Capitol Hill to Madison Valley.

The final designs for the Broadway to 13th Ave portion of the route

Along with the Pony deal — the only outstanding private land deal the city needed to pound out — the final design for the project has also been nailed down. The city says construction could begin as early as this summer.

As for Pony getting back into business, Stoner said the venue is licensed as a nightclub so that also might not happen until summer or whenever the state’s “Phase 4” of reopening finally arrives.


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1 year ago

It is unfortunate the land swap is not viable. Hopefully the city will at least offer a permit to expand outdoor seating into the unused public right-of-way along Union.