Call for more housing to relieve the growing pains in Seattle has been relentless—but today's news that a Canadian real estate development company plans to demolish the Showbox to build apartment units has Seattleites mourning the loss of a historic music venue.
The Daily Journal of Commerce on Wednesday reported that Vancouver, B.C.-based Onni Group is planning a residential building at the property currently occupied by the Showbox, a 79-year-old landmark that has hosted the likes of Duke Ellington, the Ramones, and Pearl Jam.
The company wants to replace the site with a 44-story tower that will create 442 residential units at 1412 First Ave and commercial space, according to the report, as well as underground parking on five levels and a bike room. The Showbox didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The theater just celebrated its 79th anniversary on Tuesday and has stood the test of time as the city's rich music scene evolved— hosting legends in the age of jazz, grunge, rap, punk, and alternative rock. It stands in the heart of tourism downtown, across from the Pike Place Market Historical District.
The Showbox, with a history of being at the forefront of new waves of music, is a mid-sized music hall uniquely serving as a showcase for smaller local bands or a site for more intimate experiences; the venue in the 1940s also occasionally hired black players, like organist Melody Jones or Al Pierre's jazz band, well before musicians unions stopped being racially segregated, according to HistoryLink.
you are not touching the showbox market. I will chain myself to the stage.— Joshua Lewis (@realjoshlewis) July 25, 2018
I can't even fathom Seattle without the Showbox.— Corbin Reiff (@CorbinReiff) July 25, 2018
This is an absolute travesty and every effort needs to be expended to save this landmark. https://t.co/Fqgs6z1Sod
Stefan Milne contributed to reporting.
Updated 7:54am on July 26, 2018, to correct a typo.