Dori: Seattle government stealing the Showbox sets a dangerous precedent

Aug 14, 2018, 7:03 PM | Updated: Aug 15, 2018, 5:36 am

historic buildings...

The Showbox. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Because of memories, the music community has risen up and said that the Showbox cannot be torn down. But what the Seattle City Council is doing now in response is incredibly scary.

I spent a lot of time Tuesday talking with commercial real estate people. According to a couple of real estate people I talked to, the Showbox is owned by a company called AEG and they were selling to a developer in Vancouver, B.C. called Onni that wants to build a 44-story, 400-unit condo building.

AEG probably sold this piece of property to the developer for somewhere between $30 million to $60 million. It’s a block from Pike Place Market, a prime spot in an expensive city. The Vancouver developer was probably hoping to make $250 million to $300 million off of this.

RELATED: Seattle musicians, not the city, should save the Showbox

If you had $600 million worth of condos, the property taxes alone would be at least $6 million per year. That means over the next 30 years, King County would collect a quarter billion dollars in property taxes. Then there would be the real estate excise tax as each unit is sold. The excise tax is 1.78 percent. If each unit flips three times over the next 30 years, that’s $50 million in lost excise tax dollars.

What they talked about at the City Council meeting is criminal. Right now, you can’t touch the buildings inside this Pike Place Market Historic District, but the Showbox sits a little outside of it. So the Seattle City Council has arbitrarily said, “OK, let’s go zik-zak-zik, and draw a new boundary so that suddenly the Showbox is in the historic district.’ It is the government taking someone’s private property.

Forget about AEG, the owner, and Onni, the developer. You cannot excuse what the city is doing to this any more than if the city came in and took your house. And don’t think for a second that this could not happen to you. They did it before when they went out to rural King County and stole everyone’s land with that bogus Critical Areas Ordinance.

I love the Showbox. But we can’t use music and emotion as an excuse to steal private property. We are moving toward not just socialism, but outright communism in Seattle. What they need to do is go to Pearl Jam and Guns N’ Roses and Katy Perry, and all these other artists who are clamoring for the Showbox to be saved, and collect enough to buy the property from the owner for its $50 million worth. Let the music community come up with $50 million.

But this notion of using emotion to get government to steal someone’s private property… Do you understand what this means for us? Private property rights are the most essential bedrock foundation of a free society. If you don’t think that the despicable people who have been elected to the Seattle City Council could come and steal your property next, you are sadly mistaken.

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