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Preservation board nominates The Showbox for landmark status

Property owners say the Seattle City Council 'clearly violated' state law as an ordinance that would protect The Showbox is considered.

Seattle's Landmarks and Preservation Board approved the nomination of The Showbox for landmark status on Wednesday. 

The nomination came a day after a council committee recommended boundary extensions that temporarily protects the music venue from development. 

However, the nomination does not mean the property owner must maintain it as a music venue. The board will meet again to discuss whether to designate the building as a landmark. If it does, it could control how the building is redeveloped. 

Developers have plans to use the property for a high-rise apartment building with retail space. Last year, however, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance allowing a temporary expansion of Pike Place Market Historical District to include The Showbox, temporarily protecting it. 

The city is currently considering a permanent boundary expansion that would lead to further preservation of The Showbox, but the work may not be complete by the time the initial 10-month expansion expires on July 23. 

The property owners of 1426 First Avenue released a statement ahead of the board's hearing on The Showbox:

"We are committed to our role in the due diligence led by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Board, including sharing previous notice from the City of Seattle that 1426 First Avenue does not qualify as a historic landmark,” said 1426 First Avenue ownership spokesperson Aaron Pickus. “The owner is further committed to upholding all applicable laws and regulations relating to 1426 First Avenue – as the owner of this property for decades, we will continue to respect the role of fairly-applied historical preservation in our city. The ordinance adopted by the City Council in August 2018 is clearly in violation of State law, specifically in that it ‘spot zones’ 1426 First Avenue while ignoring the set law and process for zoning changes. Additionally, the City has had many opportunities over the past several decades to apply landmark protections to 1426 First Avenue, but following extensive expert analysis has consistently decided against doing so until the sudden political action by the City Council in August 2018. The owners share the values of community as voiced by Councilmember Herbold and local organizations like Historic Seattle. Regarding any potential sale of 1426 First Avenue, the owner has and will always consider any serious purchaser that offers fair market-value for the property."

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