Owner of Showbox suing City of Seattle in response to efforts to save music venue

SEATTLE — UPDATE, Sept. 5: The owner of the Showbox filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle that asserts the City Council's vote "constitutes an illegal spot zone" and asks for $40 million in damages as well as reimbursement for attorney's fees.


The 79-year-old Showbox is part of a building slated to be torn down and replaced by a 44-story apartment tower, but many don't want that to happen.

“I grew up around here, it’s kind of nice,” said Margaret Elson, who had just bought tickets for a future show at the theater. "It's sad when you see a lot of areas no longer looking anything like they did 10 years ago."

By an 8-0 vote, the City Council passed an ordinance to temporarily extend the Pike Place Market Historic District to protect the Showbox from demolition.

The protection will last for at least 10 months. Mayor Jenny Durkan signed it this afternoon, a day before the deadline.

"I strongly share the desire and support the City's intent to explore opportunities to preserve the cultural heritage of the Showbox," Durkan wrote in a signing statement.

The mayor even tweeted a picture of the signed ordinance.

But the mayor has also wanted the council to wait until October before deciding on an ordinance, so her office could work with the developer.

"The accelerated action by Council cut short the due diligence and engagement of key neighbors, workers, businesses, preservationists, and others at Pike Place Market."

Onni Group, the developer, has yet to announce whether it will continue with the project.