Skip to main content

'Save the Showbox' effort successful, for now

caption: The Showbox is shown on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, on First Avenue in Seattle.
Enlarge Icon
The Showbox is shown on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, on First Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Tacocat: All these bands have called on Seattle officials to "Save the Showbox."

Monday, that's what the Seattle City Council did.

The council voted unanimously in support of an ordinance that adds the Showbox at the Market to the Pike Place Market Historic District, preventing it from development.

At the City Council meeting, people shared memories from being on stage or in the crowd at the 79-year-old music venue. KEXP DJ Derek Mazzone said music is at the heart of Seattle culture.

"So when I found out that the Showbox was under threat, it was like, 'Why don't you just take down the Space Needle?'" Mazzone said. "This is what the city is known for."

Local comedian Jay Middleton started the widespread petition “Save the Showbox," which collected tens of thousands of signatures.

"We're tired of just culture being ripped out of our city, we don't want music being ripped out of our city. I remember stepping on that stage at 17-years-old, thinking, 'this is it,'” Middleton said.

The new ordinance gives the Showbox historic protections for 10 months. The council plans to work on long-term preservation during that time.

The Canadian company Onni Group has filed plans to redevelop the building into a residential high-rise.

After the council passed the ordinance Onni Group released a statement saying:

“We are reviewing the new ordinance that was passed by the City Council this afternoon, and continue to have discussions with city staff. Onni remains open to continued dialogue with staff, City Council, and the community on any proposal for the site.”

Why you can trust KUOW