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October 4, 2013
Nothing about the outside of the Cotton Caboodle Outlet on Lower Queen Anne evokes a hip or trendy destination. Not a thing.
But head inside, as Seattle developer Scott Shapiro did, and you see potential.
What Shapiro envisions in this 6,800-square-foot 1949 industrial space is a version of Capitol Hill's hugely popular Melrose Market, which he co-developed with Liz Dunn of Dunn & Hobbes.
The market is a hive of small tenant spaces with a restaurant, bars and small shops in two former garages.
Shapiro and the Cotton Caboodle building owners, Charlotte and Michael Green, want to have as many as nine tenant spaces in their structure, which is at 203 W. Thomas St .
The space has concrete floors, a 22-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling, water views, a small deck — and is near hundreds of new apartments and companies, such as F5 Networks and Holland America Line.
All that will help attract an anchor restaurant and make the building a destination.
Along with that anchor, the partners plan to lease space to a coffee shop as well as other restaurants and shops to create a critical mass that will keep people coming back.
“There's a lot of similarities with Melrose,” said Shapiro of Eagle Rock Ventures. “(Cotton Caboodle is) an unusual building, a really unique building that has some great bones — and it's real apparent when you go inside the building.”
The architect on the project is S+H Works and the builder is Dovetail General Contractors. Other team members are Nick Bossoff Engineering, civil; Frank Company Structural Engineering; and The Riley Group, environmental services.
Michael and Charlotte Green, who founded Cotton Caboodle, contacted Shapiro last spring. They recently moved the clothing store to smaller space nearby, Shapiro said, and had been approached by developers who wanted to tear down the building and construct apartments.
The Greens are fans of Melrose Market, and saw the same potential in their building — and didn't want to just sell and be done.
The building is on the edge of Belltown. It's across from AvalonBay Communities' 203-unit apartment complex, and near hundreds of other apartments under construction, Shapiro said. Besides F5 and Holland, he said it's also near Omeros Corp., Big Fish Games, Classmates and other companies as well as the West Thomas Street pedestrian and bike overpass that connects Queen Anne with the waterfront.
Shapiro said the area needs more retail.
“There are a lot of people there, but not a lot of choices for them to eat and drink,” he said.
There has been a lot of interest from potential tenants, Shapiro said, but the partners aren't signing anyone until they land an anchor restaurant because they don't want duplication.
They envision the shops and restaurants will be tucked between the industrial building's large structural columns that are spaced about 25 feet apart.
“The idea is to keep an open space where everyone is connected,” Shapiro said. “It creates the community and is fun to go to.”
Permits and financing with Puget Sound Bank are in place and construction could start once an anchor is tied up, Shapiro said.
Opening is slated for late spring or early summer next year.
Lynn Porter can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.