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August 1, 2018
Historic Seattle said it will lead an effort to save the Showbox nightclub downtown from being demolished by Vancouver, B.C.-based Onni Group to make way for a 44-story residential tower.
The preservation group is also looking for an investor to buy the building that houses the club and offer a long-term lease to AEG to keep the club operating.
The two-story, 22,138-square-foot building at 1412 1st Ave. was constructed in 1916.
The DJC reported last week that Onni filed plans to build a 442-unit tower with commercial space, 88 underground parking stalls and a bike room on the site.
After the news broke, Showbox fans flooded news comment sections and social media decrying the planned demolition.
Onni issued a press release saying it will work with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to nominate the Showbox structure as a city landmark. “The company looks forward to working with all stakeholders including the City and Landmark Preservation Board to determine the Landmark status of the building.”
Seattle landmarks may be demolished only if the owner can demonstrate there is no reasonable economic use. They cannot be significantly altered without a permit from the landmarks board.
Historic Seattle said in a press release that developers often submit landmark nominations to try to control the process so the nomination fails. “By channeling energy into following the landmarks process correctly, the community can help counter that strategy,” it said.
Historic Seattle said it will advise people how to submit comments and help make a case for preserving the “community icon.”
The group recommends people contact City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzalez and tell them why they think the building is important.
Historic Seattle said it will work with AEG, Vanishing Seattle and Friends of Historic Belltown in the effort. Updates are at https://tinyurl.com/y87ff9o5/.
Even if the building is landmarked, Historic Seattle said AEG could lose its operating rights when its lease ends in a few years, and that is why the search is on for an investor to keep the Showbox.
An Onni representative could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.