While one classic Capitol Hill Italian restaurant prepares for an expansion, another with a long history in the neighborhood appears to be in good hands with new landlords after a $5 million land deal.
The 110-year-old auto row-era building home to Machiavelli and a collection of small businesses located on Pine at Melrose was recently purchased by San Francisco-based real estate company Prado Group for $5 million.
The 9,355-square-foot building houses five retail residents, including Ristorante Machiavelli, a Capitol Hill staple. Suzette Jarding has worked at Machiavelli for 24 years and took over as owner nine years ago. According to Jarding, no changes to the building or restaurant are expected.
“We plan to continue business as usual. We will be celebrating 34 years next month,” said Jarding, who mentioned how there are currently no official plans for the celebration.
Ristorante Machiavelli is an Italian restaurant has been situated in the historic Booker Building since 1988, and offers pizza, pasta, and a variety of veal and red vino.
“It is my understanding that they [Prado Group] plan to make improvements to the property but nothing that would impact our business at Machiavelli,” said Jarding.
The building is also home to the original Li’l Woody’s hamburger joint from Seattle nightlife entrepreneur turned restaurateur Marcus Lalario, Qin Xi’an Noodles, and the former Baltic Room now known as the Mint Lounge. Recent addition Pho 4 You is also one of the few Capitol Hill food and drink joints that has never graced the pages of CHS.
Real estate investors have coveted the area. In 2019, the adjacent Melrose Market was sold to a national shopping center developer for $15.5 million. Meanwhile, across the street, the mixed-use Pivot development is finally set to open for residents and new office and commercial tenants after pandemic-prolonged construction.
The announcement of the building sale was made this summer by CPX, a Pacific Northwest-based real estate brokerage, who represented the Prado Group during the sale.
“Adjacent to Melrose Market, the Booker Building is most notably home to Ristorante Machiavelli and just up Pine Street from the new Washington State Convention Center,” the company said in a press release. “We are excited to see what the new ownership will do to improve the property over the next few years.”
Andrew Miller of Real Retail also represented the Prado Group during the purchase, which marked Prado’s first Seattle acquisition.
“This is the 50-yard line for retail in Capitol Hill,” said Miller. “A great asset for Prado’s entry into the Seattle market.”
The building was sold by the Gay Dunham Family Limited Partnership III.
Dating to 1912 and originally built as the Central Auto Top Building, the concrete and brick-clad edifice is on the city’s list of unreinforced masonry structures in need of seismic upgrades. It also is located within the bound of the Pike Pine Conservation District qualifying it for potential height bonuses in exchange for development that preserves portions of the historic structure.
CHS reached out to the Prado Group and received no response.
Meanwhile, atop Capitol Hill along 12th Ave, change is afoot at another of the neighborhood’s popular Italian joints. CHS reported this week on plans for La Dispensa, a small but hearty addition to Osteria La Spiga that will bring pastas and takeout lasagne, meats and cheeses, plus deli treats like panini and piadina sandwiches to Chophouse Row.
Machiavelli is located at 1201 Pine. You can learn more at ristorantemachiavelli.com.