Council Members Move to Add the Showbox to Pike Place Market Historic District

"This is an exciting moment for the effort to save the Showbox."

By Hayat Norimine August 9, 2018

Image: Landon Groves

In attempts to protect the venue from demolition, Seattle council members on Wednesday in committee approved a bill that would temporarily add the Showbox to the Pike Place Market Historical District. The legislation will now have to pass the full council. 

Preservation groups—Historic Seattle, Vanishing Seattle and Friends of Historic Belltown—on Wednesday afternoon also nominated the building for landmark status, which could likely help protect the exterior but not the use of the 79-year-old music hall. 

"This is an exciting moment for the effort to save the Showbox," said Eugenia Woo, director of preservation services at Historic Seattle.

Council member Kshama Sawant's ordinance originally proposed that the expansion includes 12 properties total along First Avenue, and that the bill sunset after two years. An amendment proposed by Lisa Herbold and Sally Bagshaw limits the expansion to just across the street for the Showbox, while another amendment by Teresa Mosqueda sunsets the bill after 10 months. 

Council members will also discuss a resolution outlining the intent of the bill—to preserve the use of the hall—on Monday, but council members may not pass the legislation until after the council's summer recess. The city has until October 18 before any development begins at the Showbox. 

Vancouver, B.C.-based real estate development company Onni Group filed plans with the city to build a high-rise apartment where the Showbox is currently located. Community members, city officials and artists (including Ben Gibbard) quickly moved to protect the building often seen as iconic to Seattle's music scene. 

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