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Seattle working on resolution for The Showbox with venue, developer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the city is working Onni Group and The Showbox on a resolution that the meets the community's needs.

Representatives from the city of Seattle are meeting with a developer that plans to demolish a historic music venue in downtown Seattle, according to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Durkan wrote in an email Tuesday that the Office of Arts and Culture and the Office of Film and Music are working with Vancouver B.C.-based Onni Group and The Showbox towards a solution that “preserves the priorities of the community.”

“There are some places that make Seattle, ‘Seattle,’” Durkan wrote in the email. “The Showbox at the Market is one of those places.”

The Showbox has been a Seattle mainstay for 79 years, hosting a variety of big names in music from Duke Ellington to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

"It is a vital and significant part of the Seattle music scene, which I’ve loved for decades," Durkan wrote.

Onni Group has proposed turning The Showbox into a 440-foot mixed-use tower with 442 residential units and retail space. The plan sparked public outcry, and a petition to save the iconic music venue has gathered over 90,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

Durkan cited the preservation of other Seattle landmarks, such as Pike Place Market, The Paramount Theatre, and The Sanctuary event space, saying they could be a model for The Showbox. If the building were designated as a historical landmark, it would need to go through the process outlined by the Landmarks Preservation Board.

Meanwhile, Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant also joined the fight to save The Showbox this week, submitting an ordinance that would expand the boundaries of the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the music venue. The ordinance, which would prevent any changes to the building without going through the historical commission, will be heard in the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

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