Hallowed Belltown basement, where Soundgarden, Pearl Jam practiced, threatened

A historic Belltown property that helped bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden launch their careers is now threatened. KING 5's Ted Land reports.

A historic Belltown property that helped bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden launch their careers is now threatened.

Devotees of the Seattle music scene are trying to save Black Dog Forge and a special practice room in the basement before the property goes to a buyer.

“This is where the magic happens,” said Mary Gioia as she opened the door to the musty basement under 2606 Second Avenue

She and her partner, Louie Raffloer, run a blacksmith forge upstairs and are caretakers of the dim practice space.

“Back when I first started Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were the thing. It was like 1990, 1991, and I was upstairs blacksmithing and like, ‘Oh my god, there's Eddie Vedder. Oh my god, there's Chris Cornell,’” she said.

Various bands rented the room over the years and still do to this day. It seemed like the space would always reverberate with an echo of Seattle's past, but the destination, which attracts visitors from around the world, could be silenced.

Gioia and Raffloer say the owner of the building just informed them that the property will go on the market later this week.

“It means so much to so many people,” Gioia said.

“We all just found out about this Thursday (or) Friday. I was devastated. I just instantly was like, ‘There's got to be a way to save this,’” said Charity Drewery, who leads Stalking Seattle: A Rock and Roll Tour through the basement and other music landmarks.

Drewery is trying to raise money to buy the building. A lot of people are donating, but in a part of town where half million dollar condos are now the norm, it'll be very difficult to outbid developers.

“There’s so much money in this city, there’s got to be somebody that would be willing to buy this place and continue to lease it to them,” Drewery said.

The building might only have a few months left, and the pilgrims who travel there worry Seattle might soon lose a part of its soul.

“It’s sad," Drewery said. "What's happening to Belltown is just sad."

© 2017 KING-TV


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