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campaign to save Seattle’s Showbox gets temporary victory from City Council


Those trying to save Seattle’s iconic Showbox Theatre from being demolished and turned into condos received a bit of good news on Monday as the City Council passed an ordinance to expand the Pike’s Market Historic District to include the venue. It’s only temporary — a 10 month interim — while the city tries to figure out how to save the venue. From The Seattle Times:

“Nearly 50 years ago, it was a community uproar and community organizing that saved the Pike Place Market,” Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant said ahead of the 8-0 vote (Rob Johnson was absent). Sawant had pushed for legislation that would have expanded the historic district a half block to the east and the south, including other properties besides the Showbox site, for two years. A council committee last week pared down that proposal to cover just the Showbox.

“The Showbox is our struggle of our times, so it’s really exciting that we will be able to take this first step,” she said.

Monday’s vote does not guarantee a long and prosperous future for the 79-year-old venue, on whose First Avenue site Onni Group plans to erect a 442-unit apartment tower. However, the ordinance extends a timely protection before the Vancouver, B.C.-based developer hits a critical benchmark in the permitting process that would limit the council’s options.

The campaign to save the Showbox includes support from hundreds of musicians, including Pearl Jam, the living members of Nirvana including Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, members of Soundgarden, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Katy Perry, Brandi Carlile, Bob Mould, The Black Keys, Conor Oberst, A$AP Ferg, Fleet Foxes, Fred Armisen, Guided by Voices, The War on Drugs, The Shins, The xx, Odesza, The Decemberists, Death Cab For Cutie, Mudhoney, Wolf Parade, The Afghan Whigs, Jimmy Eat World, Thrice, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

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