Bruce Lee’s last remaining Seattle studio seeks landmark status

SEATTLE — A community of Bruce Lee historians and superfans, martial artists, and real estate developers has marked a small apartment complex and clothing consignment store on University Way as a crucial landmark to preserve Lee’s legacy, and are attempting to designate the site as historic with the City of Seattle.

Bruce Lee’s Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute was formerly located at 4750 University Way in Seattle. The dojo was one of the first that Lee operated in Seattle before he rose to Hollywood fame, second only to an informal gym that the martial artist star operated out of the basement of a restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown.

It is believed to be Lee’s first formal institute and one of the last remaining structures where Bruce Lee taught martial arts and also lived, according to Charlette LeFevre, historian and curator with the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore.

That museum plans to nominate the building for historical preservation, with the hopes of restoring the martial arts studio and holding classes there. LeFevre notes that, eventually, the idea is to use the apartment complex which crowns the building as resident apartments for local and international students seeking out martial arts instruction from Bruce Lee’s former students.

While the museum hopes to submit its initial applications for landmark status this week with the city, LeFevre adds that the museum has already been in touch with local real estate developers who recognize the potential boost of tourist-driven foot traffic that might benefit the University District were the neighborhood home to a working dojo, committed to upholding the legacy of Bruce Lee.

The preservation push came about after the LeFevre and company read about the demolition of Bruce Lee’s former home in Hong Kong in 2019.

That moment provided the impetus they needed to avoid a similar situation in Seattle.

Bruce Lee’s resting place in the Lakeview Cemetary is widely trafficked, and LeFevre notes that the museum would likely draw some of that traffic — tourists’ attention closer to the University District/ Capitol Hill area.

The Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore, a 501(c)3 non-profit and home of the Seattle Bruce Lee Fan Club is beginning...

Posted by Seattle Bruce Lee Fan Club on Saturday, June 4, 2022

This story was originally published at MyNorthwest.com.