City council votes 8-1 to extend temporary protections for Showbox

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 Monday to protect the Showbox with a 6-month extension of its temporary placement in Pike Market Historical District.

That extension would add another six months as city-hired consultants continue studying how to make the designation permanent.

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The owners of the property want to build a 44-story residential tower, which matches the zoning set by the City Council.

Property owners said redevelopment would generate at least $5 million for affordable housing.
The 1916 building was first used as a market.

Last week, the Landmarks Preservation Board unanimously agreed to move forward and get the theater designated as an official city landmark. That vote came Wednesday evening with a standing ovation.

Among the people who packed the meeting were performers and Showbox workers, including one who read a statement from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready.

Also last week, Historic Seattle, a group fighting to save the venue, argued for the extension before the Landmarks Preservation Board, saying all of Pike Place Market directly benefits from the Showbox.

The group was talking about the money spent by guests.

Eugenia Woo, of Historic Seattle, said: “Landmarking alone won't save the Showbox. We need to find a preservation-minded buyer.” A spokesperson for the property owner said he would consider any serious, fair-market value offers.

It's unclear what the price would be.

After the city temporarily extended the Pike Place Historic District to include the Showbox for the first time, the property owner sued, claiming $40 million in damages.

That case could go to trial later this year.

A stagehand, Ian Valdes, told KIRO 7: The showing we’ve had has just been, honestly, it blows my mind. I didn’t expect it to be the way that it has been. There’s so much love and so much appreciation for this space that I didn’t see coming."

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