What Happens Next In The Battle To Save The Showbox?

Seattle City Council voted 8-0 to temporarily expand historic site of Pike Place Market

August 14, 2018

by Lori Barber

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A group backed by musicians from Ben Gibbard to Jack White, Macklemore to Mike McCready were dealt a major victory yesterday when Seattle's City Council voted 8-0 to temporarily expand the historic site of the Pike Place Market to include the Showbox. GREAT JOB!

“You clearly have different budgets to work with” [email protected]

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We must be careful not to view this as the end of the battle. It is only temporary. Here's what will happen next and what we can do.

The ordinance passed by Seattle lasts for 10 months while the city considers options to save the Showbox. Those options include permanently keeping the historic status voted upon on Monday. The Seattle Times reports:

Monday’s vote does not guarantee a long and prosperous future for the 79-year-old venue, on whose First Avenue site Onni Group plans to erect a 442-unit apartment tower. However, the ordinance extends a timely protection before the Vancouver, B.C.-based developer hits a critical benchmark in the permitting process that would limit the council’s options.

The same reporting suggests that Onni Group will file for their own historical preservation status. This isn't their first Seattle rodeo. Their other buildings in Seattle have kept the facade of the original structure, then erected giant apartments or condos behind said facade.

I expect the various groups, councilmembers, and historic board to all steer towards historical preservation: "its inclusion in the market’s historical district offers stronger protections. The Pike Place Market Historical Commission has authority over how spaces within the district are used, not just any physical changes." If this indeed happens, how does Onni Group respond? They've purchased a building whose conditions will change right out from under them. What, if any, legal recourse do they have to fight this? I assume these are all questions their high priced legal team are currently addressing with 10 months to defeat our efforts at keeping the art and music culture in the city.

It's up to us to continue to pressure the mayor whilst providing positive reinforcement to the city council who listened to the outrage of the people they represent - don't worry, there are plenty of other things you can be mad at them about!

Culture > condos. #SaveShowbox

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When I came to Seattle for the job interview, I ended the day at the Showbox. @sspu rocked the place, I became friends with Rainier --, it was a night I’ll never forget. We don’t need another tall building in Seattle. What we do need is art, culture and live music. - Alyssa #SaveTheShowbox #SaveShowbox Photo by @mishmonstermish

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Stop destroying the culture that makes this place more than a bunch of buildings #SaveTheShowbox #SaveShowbox

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