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There Goes The Neighborhood

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

I love Pike/Pine. It’s the heart of urban Seattle. It’s the only neighborhood that, at least in my opinion, is equally part of Downtown, First Hill, and Capitol Hill. As someone who lives on the western edge of the neighborhood, it is where I spend probably the majority of my life.

This is why today, I sit here, heartbroken.

According to the Capitol Hill Blog (http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2012/04/06/developer-acquires-bauhaus-building-with-plans-for-half-block-of-pike-pine-mixed-use), the Southeast corner of Melrose and Pine Street has just been sold.

According to CHS:

“A person with knowledge of the deal said the developer acquired the parcels at Pine and Melrose with an eye toward leveling all of the buildings and starting fresh but has had second thoughts after witnessing the backlash against the lack of preservation in this development at 10th and Union.

(snip)

CHS has learned that the sale and the project plan was announced to commercial tenants this morning and that stores in the area were told they could face closure by June 13th if the planned development goes forward. “The developers want to keep the facades, but the interiors will be gutted and an underground parking garage added, so basically, the block will be a hole in the ground for 18 months following the June closure,” one store owner told CHS.”

Folks, this is devastating news. Just devastating.

Now, if you are reading this from out of town, or even out of the neighborhood, you’ll probably wonder what the big deal is. After all, it’s just another corner. Just another building.

Except that it’s not.

Melrose, between Pike and Pine, is a signature block down here. It’s the primary west-of-Broadway gathering spot in the neighborhood. This corner is an instantly-recongizable, visual icon for all those who call the area home.

And it’s just been bought.

By none other than a GODDAMN Eastside development group.

You know the Eastsiders. The people who sit in traffic for three hours per day just to avoid living near us unwashed Seattleites. The people who don’t want light rail, because they fear it will make it easier for us to come and shit in their backyard, as they so religiously do in ours. The people who think free and ample parking is a birthright.

Yeah, those Eastsiders.

Not content to have already bought up half of our neighborhood, there they sit, on the other side of the moat, greedily rubbing their hands together and plotting what can only be seen as their “final solution” for Pike/Pine’s remaining character.

A solution which begs the question …

Eastsiders … what is wrong with you? What is wrong with you people? I mean this with every ounce of sincerity I have.

The State of Washington contains 71,300 square miles, of which roughly 3 are non-auto-centric. Three. THREE!!!!

Yet, apparently, this is three too many for Eastside suburbanites, people who are convinced that the elimination of these three miles is integral to California’s manifest destiny over Washington State.

Hey, Eastsiders … guys … we get it. You don’t like bicycles. You don’t like pedestrians. You don’t like searching for parking. We get it. Loud and clear. We really, really fucking do. That’s why we stay over here, and leave you alone to build your own Utopia from scratch, free and clear.

For whatever reason, this “live and let live” solution is not acceptable to the Eastsiders, though. These cultural xenophobes are not satisfied with the arrangement. They want more, more, more, and more. They’re frothing at the mouth.

They don’t like our way of life, but instead of adopting the obvious solution, the one that entails them staying the hell out of Seattle, they’ve decided instead to simply … buy the neighborhood.

And every spineless, corrupt, cowardly politician in this city is letting them. They are sitting there, watching, as another greedy Eastside developer does his level best to turn inner-Seattle into a mirror image of Bellevue.

Seattleites, this has got to be stopped. It has to be ended, but since every politician in this town is on the wealthy developer bribe list, it continues unabated. The politicians of this city are selling off the few remaining blocks of urban Seattle, piece by piece, to the highest bidder … most of whom reside either out-of-state, or on the Eastside.

Within the next couple of election cycles, I intend to run for mayor. My platform will be one of strong local-centricity, rent control, and ownership-restrictions on real estate. It will take a change of state law, but I would work tirelessly to make it happen.

Of course, I know that I have no chance of winning, and I know that I will be ridiculed by absolutely everyone, but the rest of you, those of you who are as upset about this as I … what have you done? I mean, besides complain in the CHS comment section?

Folks, it is time to take a stand. It’s time to do something. If we don’t, in ten short years, Capitol Hill, Lower Queen Anne, and every other neighborhood within 2 miles of Downtown is going to look like Bellevue, complete with mile-long lines of BMW-driving California-transplants queued up on Pike Street, running over the last remaining walkers while hanging a left into the parking garages of their brand new tampon tenements.

You can’t let this happen, folks. Please, don’t let this happen.

Call and write everyone who is in office right now, and let them know that if the Melrose block gets annexed by the Eastside, then they are out of a job. Don’t just say it, mean it.

As much as I will probably regret saying this when I calm down a little, if the local anarchists were to stand in the way of this project … well … let’s just say that my critique of their behavior might be less harsh than in times past.

I am just heartbroken. I give the hipsters a hard time, but the hazing is somewhat good-natured. Yes, they’re ex-suburban dillmonkeys, but bless their goofy hearts, they try to fit in. They walk, they bike, and they come here specifically because it’s different than where they came from.

Eastsiders, however, do the opposite.

They come here, and when they arrive, they demand that we conform to their expectations. They gun through crosswalks while shaking their fists at us for having the audacity to be on foot in our own neighborhood. Don’t we realize that Pike Street is for caaaaaars, and they are trying to get to the floating bridge before rush hour?

They knock our scooters over while parallel parking, they honk at us for being on bikes, they park in the bus lane because “they’re only going to be in the bank for a couple of minutes, sheesh what’s our problem?!”

Now, they’ve decided that the easiest way to enjoy their lifestyle over here, is to just buy the place out.

Do not let this happen.

At some point, everyone in this area, old-timer, new-comer, wealthy, poor, middle-class, hipster, anarchist … we’ve all got to stop our infighting, put aside our differences, and present a united front against the true threats to our way of life.

Eastside developers, and the hopelessly corrupt politicians that enable them.

Pike/Pine - The Bauhaus

Pike/Pine - The Bauhaus

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

Pike/Pine - Corner of Melrose and Pine Street

6 comments to There Goes The Neighborhood

  • McMullet

    (clap, clap, clap)
    Bravo sir. Bravo.
    You put into words what has been on my mind since reading this today on CHS.
    We’ll talk when it happens, but pencil me in for a vote and a contribution when you run in a few election cycles.

    Take a look at the last picture you posted, Pike/Pine – Corner of Melrose and Pine Street, now picture a 7 story building on the right with the Bauhaus facade slapped on a sterile stump called development. 2 levels of underground parking? Can’t wait to see that clusterfuck of traffic trying to get in and out there.

    Make no mistake, more money will be spent on pushing this turd through the design review sphincter than will be spent on making this a worthwhile addition to the hill. And as someone close to me put it today, “…it will be sad and ugly too as Hewitt does ugly stuff.”

    Double whammy.

  • Christie Leigh_Kendall Whitt

    Couldn’t agree with you more. You can’t buy cool and that’s all these assholes are trying to do. Please join my facebook page Capitol Hill Preservation Society or the Google Group PPUNC (PIKE/PINE Urban Neighborhood Council) if you’d like tofight this !

  • HisOwnHero

    Well said sir! I had the same horrified thoughts when I first read the news several days ago. Bauhaus and the surrounding buildings are what gives Seattle it’s quirky and unique character to begin with. I am sick of seeing these beloved buildings being replaced with so called “mixed use” cookie cutter buildings with overpriced retail shops on the bottom and way over priced condos on top. This amounts too social genocide as far as I am concerned. These buildings keep altering the face and character of the neighborhood and pricing out the locals to the point where after awhile, it will essentially be a clone of Bellevue full of Microsoft and Amazon geeks driving their BMW’s and Mercedes around town. This is a blow not just to Capitol Hill but to Seattle as a whole. Keep putting up the “mixed use buildings” and soon, everything Seattle is known for will be gone.

  • wafflesnfalafel

    I’m from the eastside and work downtown, (though I don’t drive an audi,) but really enjoy the area precisely because of buildings like this one. I had the same, “oh no…” lump in my gut when I saw the plans. Bet you five bucks the required ‘ground level retail’ in the new complex will sit empty. Or maybe there will be a nice Quiznos or a Cinnabon. We are too successful here – we end up having to lop off an arm to make room for the new.

  • bigyaz

    You can rant about the Eastside and blame its residents if it makes you feel better, but if it weren’t this developer it would be another, most likely from Seattle.

    The Eastside isn’t the enemy here. But it’s easier than, you know, actually taking action. (Maybe you can get people to sign an online petition or change their Twitter avatars!)

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