[Commercial Marketplace]

Pavitt: `This is how Culture Starts'

Journal A/E editor

Sometimes a real urban village has its own standards for development. "Liveable" doesn't mean "spacious." And "safe" doesn't mean "quiet."

Bruce Pavitt moved into the Pike/Pine corridor long before it became a neighborhood and long before most people had heard the term "urban village." And he plans to stay. Pavitt, founder of the alternative music label Sub Pop and developer of Linda's Tavern at 7th and Pine, hopes to see more projects that fit into his lively neighborhood.

"Let's face it," Pavitt said, "it's going to be noisy."

But in his neighborhood, noisy is not the same as dangerous. "There's a big difference," said Pavitt.

Foot traffic makes it safer. "People should be able to fraternize on every street corner," he said.

Consider the alternatives. "There's nothing like walking past two blocks of solid concrete to make you really scared," said Pavitt.

This is the highest density rental in Seattle, according to Pavitt. Residents of the Pike/Pine neighborhood not only want to fraternize, they need a place to "stretch out."

"Ideas flow in the that kind of environment," he said. "That's how culture gets started."

Cafe Paradiso on Pike may have started the area's transformation to a bastion of counter-culture.

Pavitt, whose record label launched grunge rock music, grew up in the Seattle suburbs and never wants to return. He's lived in the Pike/Pine neighborhood for 15 years, and compares it to the East Village and West Village in Manhattan and parts of Amsterdam and Paris.

He's seen what happens to urban neighborhoods in which artists, writers and gays form communities. They attract upscale stores and professionals who commute to their downtown offices.

He hopes that he and like-minded property owners can hold this kind of gentrification at bay and shelter the continuing development of a true urban village among the bones of an old industrial and commercial neighborhood.

Cafe Paradiso, on Pike between 10th and 11th, may have started the recent and rapid transformation of the Pike/Pine corridor into a real neighborhood, according to Pavitt. Moe's nightclub, just across 10th, followed shortly after and now anchors the neighborhood.

Since then, small clubs have continued to flourish and more are on the way.

Linda's Tavern functions as a "living room for the community," Pavitt said, as does the Bauhaus coffeehouse and library on East Pine.

A recent addition is the suave and richly appointed Club Mohair on Pine, and the Elysian, a new brew pub, is coming to Pike and 14th. Then there's Pavitt's's most adventurous project -- a nightclub, restaurant and hotel planned for a four-story abandoned building at 11th and Pike.

Big investment is not always bad. Like many other Pike/Pine residents, Pavitt looks forward to the convenience of shopping at the new QFC grocery and retail complex at Broadway and Pike. But, like many of his neighbors, he hopes it's the last development of its kind to go up among them.

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Copyright © 1996 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.