Seattle nonprofit offers to buy Showbox in effort to save venue

May 23, 2019, 2:06 PM
Fliers for the Save the Showbox campaign. (KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)
(KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)

As the debate surrounding efforts to save the Showbox Market from demolition continues, a local nonprofit has offered to buy the iconic venue outright in hopes of preserving it for “decades to come.”

City, Showbox owner close to agreement on legal extension

Last week, representatives with Historic Seattle submitted a letter to the Showbox property’s owner, Roger Forbes, expressing interest in purchasing the venue.

“A building like that deserves to be saved,” Historic Seattle Executive Director Kji Kelly told MyNorthwest. “We feel like this in an opportunity to continue to invest in a property and save it for future generations.”

Exact dollar figures have yet to be brought up, but the organization did express interest in “sitting down and negotiating” with Forbes to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. The Showbox is set to be considered for landmark status on June 5 — part of Historic Seattle’s offer includes agreeing to “pause the nomination if that’s a concern for the owner.”

Forbes has yet to respond directly to the proposal, but a spokesperson for his company did tell The Stranger that he “has and will always consider any serious purchaser that offers fair market value for the property,” and that he “would be happy to consider their offer if it contained an acceptable price and verifiable funding source.”

The saga that has gotten us to this point has been contentious.

Shortly after Forbes announced his intention to demolish the Showbox to construct a 44-story apartment building, Seattle council members unanimously voted to expand the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the venue.

This led to a lawsuit from Forbes, who sued for $40 million in lost value due to the rezoning. As of late-April, Forbes and city officials were close to an agreement for a temporary legal stay, effectively giving the city another six months to save the Showbox.

Following the six-month extension given by the legal stay (added to the original 10-month preservation), both parties involved have been able to explore other options for the Showbox building, including finding a buyer who would preserve the space and maintain it as a music venue.

Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagan wants to save iconic Seattle venue

Historic Seattle hopes to be that buyer.

“We have a track record and a history of doing great projects that add value to this city,” Kelly described.

The nonprofit has managed to preserve and maintain several venues across Seattle, including First Hill’s recently-reopened Town Hall, and the $1.5 million purchase of Washington Hall.

Meanwhile, almost 120,000 people have signed a Charge.org petition to save the Showbox.

“I think this has struck a chord with the city, the people of Seattle,” said Kelly. “It’s important for a lot of different reasons for a lot of different people.”

Local News

Blood reserves are filtered and processed in the central laboratory of the DRK blood donation servi...
Nicole Jennings

PNW blood platelet shortage no longer ‘critical,’ but 2,000 donations still needed

The Pacific Northwest is in need of thousands of blood platelet donations. Blood platelets stop us from bleeding to death when we have a cut.
12 hours ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

ORCA overhauls system with added features and updated card readers

ORCA's highly-anticipated new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for cards launched today for hundred of thousands of transit customers.
1 day ago
ExperTec Automotive technician Adelmo Rodriguez etches a catalytic converter with the cars license ...
Micki Gamez

Catalytic converter theft runs rampant in Seattle, nation sees dramatic increase

Catalytic converters became a hot commodity during the pandemic due to the high-priced metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, within them.
1 day ago
Olga Syniakova via Verde Music Fund...
Heather Bosch

Songs of support: Artists in Seattle reach out to those who’ve fled war-ravaged Ukraine

Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra will hold a benefit concert tonight, Monday May 16th.
1 day ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/HannaKIROFM...
Hanna Scott

National movement prompts thousands of abortion rights activists to flood the streets of Seattle

A national week of action by abortion rights activists hoping to stop the overturning of Roe v Wade culminated with nationwide mass demonstrations Saturday.
1 day ago
Generic image of the vehicle in which Matteson was last seen. An image of the victim was not issued...
MyNorthwest Staff

AMBER Alert canceled for 8-year-old girl in child abduction on Aurora Ave.

Seattle Police department has issued an AMBER Alert for Kiya Matteson, last seen on Aurora Ave. N near the Bitter Lake neighborhood.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle nonprofit offers to buy Showbox in effort to save venue