Showbox owner is suing the City of Seattle

Sep 5, 2018, 2:36 PM | Updated: 10:22 pm


Fliers for the Save the Showbox campaign. (KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)

(KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)

Faced with a historical district rezone that strips their property millions of dollars in value, the family that owns the Showbox theater is suing the City of Seattle for locking the land away from development by adding the venue into the Pike Place Market.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in King County Superior Court, demands that the city council either rescind the Aug. 13 council decision to rezone the parcel or, if the city declines, to pay $40 million in property value in exchange for the “taking” of the property. The council unanimously voted to protect the land following public backlash about a developer’s plan to tear down the popular music venue to make way for a 40-story apartment complex.

The rezone vote decision prompted the prospective developer, the Onni Group to withdraw from contract to purchase the land. And Onni’s withdrawal from the deal prompted the lawsuit.

Brad Keller, attorney for the Roger Forbes family which owns the property, said what the city did was illegal both from constitutional and property law standpoint.  He said courts in Washington have not looked too kindly on so-called “spot zoning.”

“The city cannot discriminate against an individual property (by taking) that property — as it did here — and pluck it out of the middle of a block and say ‘only that property are we going to down zone it and say that you cannot build a high-rise there whereas everyone on that block can,’ ” he said in an interview.  “Whatever the Seattle city council’s intent was,  the reality is that the ordinance that it enacted is an illegal spot zone.”

The Seattle city attorney’s office couldn’t be reached for comment.

Read the full lawsuit here.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle detectives looking for vehicle involved in deadly hit-and-run

Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened in the Denny Triangle neighborhood Friday.

8 hours ago

Image:A portrait of Officer Vancouver Police Department officer Donald Sahota is displayed as he is...

Steve Coogan

Man convicted of murder in death of Vancouver police officer shot by deputy

A Yakima man was found guilty of murder for his role in the death of a Vancouver police officer who was shot by a sheriff's deputy in error.

10 hours ago

Image:A Sultan man has filed a lawsuit after two Snohomish County deputies shot him multiple times ...

Louie Tran, KIRO 7 News

Sultan man sues two Snohomish County deputies after they shot him, dog multiple times

Sultan man sues two Snohomish County deputies after they shot him, dog multiple times

10 hours ago

Image: Hundreds gather at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum to ring in the Lunar New Year in 2023....

Steve Coogan

Wing Luke Museum closes after employees walk out in protest of ‘Hate’ exhibit

About two dozen employees of Seattle's Wing Luke Museum staged a walkout Wednesday to protest an exhibit that was set to begin.

10 hours ago

Image: In this photo provided by Iditarod rookie musher Bridgett Watkins, a bull moose stands betwe...

Steve Coogan

A moose killed a man in Alaska. Could it happen in Washington?

A 70-year-old man who was attempting to take photos of two newborn moose calves was killed by their mother, authorities said.

12 hours ago

Image: Trooper Barry Marcus has been with the Washington State Patrol since 1992....

Steve Coogan

WSP trooper ‘saved untold lives, perhaps yours’ as he made 4,000th DUI arrest

Trooper Barry Marcus, a Spokane-based Washington State Patrol veteran, made the notable DUI arrest April 30, the agency reported Friday.

15 hours ago

Showbox owner is suing the City of Seattle