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June 22, 2023

Graham Baba files new plan for Lusty Lady property

Real Estate Editor

Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
The 133-year-old building, pictured in 2021, appears bound for demolition.

Back in March, a week after the DJC first reported the $3 million sale at 1315 First Ave., the previously anonymous buyer of the former Lusty Lady building was named.

That would be local tech entrepreneur Andrew Conru, who was first interviewed by the Seattle Times and then Puget Sound Business Journal.

At the same time, he set up a website, lustylady.com, to conduct a poll about possible future uses for the derelict and long-vacant building, which stands directly opposite Seattle Art Museum.

The consensus, or Conru's own preference, is some combination of restaurant, bar and arts use. This week, Graham Baba Architects filed an early plan to demolish the old building. The old facade on First might or might not be restored and retained. (It's not landmarked.)

The proposed new building would be home to unspecified arts establishments, plus food and beverage operators. It would rise seven stories from Post Avenue, versus the present six. Graham Baba estimates a project size of around 25,000 square feet.

On First, a penthouse level would apparently be added to the current three-story height. That's because the heavily modified old Seven Seas building — which also suffered the indignity of being cut in half in 1966 — has no air rights. Those were sold in 2005 to the developers of the neighboring Harbor Steps and Four Seasons. The original building opened circa 1890 as the Hotel Vendome. It's been vacant since 2010, when the peep show closed.

A one-story addition, or roof deck, had also once been contemplated by a prospective ground lessee some seven years back. That hotel scheme involved preserving the building, but proved too costly to pursue.

Graham Baba is no stranger to restaurants, bars and adaptive reuse. Its long list of such clients and projects includes Daniel's Broiler, Metier Brewing Co., the Kolstrand Building and Chophouse Row.

The new plan carries a nominal value of $18 million, and hasn't yet entered design review.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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