Opening bids to buy (and save) Seattle Showbox likely to fail, sources say

Nov 22, 2019, 10:09 AM
Fliers for the Save the Showbox campaign. (KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)
(KIRO Radio, Mike Lewis)

A joint, secret offer from two Seattle non-profits to purchase the Showbox Market is rumored to be well short of the asking price and is likely to be rejected outright, according to sources familiar with the bid to save the popular downtown music venue.

Seattle settles lawsuit with Showbox owner

The offer, announced by the Seattle Theater Group and Historic Seattle, came in at less than half of the original $40 million bid that fell through when the city temporarily rezoned the downtown music venue when it faced sale and demolition.

Naomi West, director of philanthropy and engagement for Historic Seattle, declined to confirm the amount. She said the group has not been told that the offer was rejected.

“We are making a good-faith offer,” she said. “As long as the door is open, we’re not going to be talking about it. We put forth an offer in October and as far as we know, it has not been declined.”

But sources said very likely will be, if it hasn’t been already. Roger Forbes, owner of the Showbox property, is believed to be unhappy about the amount of the secret bid and subsequent publicity campaign by the two groups seeking to buy and run the venue.

West countered that STG and Historic Seattle remained quiet initially about the bid, before deciding that the time was right to let people know that the groups were forging ahead with a plan.

The 80-year-old Showbox became the leading civic center of attention in July 2018 when a $40-million offer for the 1st Avenue parcel became public. The offer and plan from the Vancouver B.C.-based Onni Group was to build a $100 million, 44-story luxury apartment tower.

But Seattle’s music community and city council pushed back on the plan to shutter the downtown venue for good, first by giving the building landmark status, and then later by declaring that the building now was part of the protected, development-restricted Pike Market Historical District.

The newly restricted rezoning of the property prompted the Onni Group to cancel the multi-million-dollar offer.

Why Seattle Councilmember was lone vote against Showbox protections

Forbes sued the city for $40 million, declaring that the council’s decision amounted to an illegal “spot zoning,” meaning that that city arbitrarily plucked out a single parcel for sharply different regulations than the adjacent properties.

A judge agreed. In the subsequent settlement, the city agreed to pay Forbes nearly $1 million dollars, but in return, he was asked to consider a bid from a city-sanctioned non-profit that would seek to purchase the property and continue its run as a music venue.

STG — which runs the Paramount and Moore Theatre music venues among other — joined forces with Historic Seattle forces to save the Showbox. The two nonprofits made the offer in October.

But Forbes, early on, made it clear he’d like money the similar to the failed Onni bid. Other developers are rumored to be lining up to make bid on the property that sits across the street from Pike Place Market, and that has the potential for an unimpeded, panoramic view of Elliott Bay.

Candy Mike and Todd

guns, assault weapons, gun, 1639, 1639 gun initiative, gun tax...
Mike Lewis

Mike: We should not restrict guns but their owners are different story

If you are a commercial pilot or general contractor likely you understand the value of licensing; So why not license gun owners?
2 years ago
snow day...
MyNorthwest Staff

What’s better for kids: a school snow day or a two-hour delay?

The recent snow fall stirred up a debate: What's better for kids, a snow day or two-hour delay?
2 years ago
shoveling snow...
MyNorthwest Staff

Candy: Everyone should shovel snow as a chore

Shoveling snow is a unique experience here in the Pacific Northwest. Here are five reasons everyone should shovel snow as a chore.
2 years ago
Todd Herman

The theft of parental rights in Washington state is unconscionable and immoral

Quoting a law passed in Democrat-controlled Washington state originally designed to make sure girls could get secret abortions, insurance companies have been writing to parents informing them they no longer have any rights to be involved in crucial, life-altering decisions their kids want to make.
2 years ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Guilt tipping has got to stop

We are seeing tipping pop up in unusual places. I've seen new tip lines at a craft store, clothing store, and a 7-11 in the last few months.
2 years ago
Space Needle fireworks, New Year's Eve, seattle baby...
MyNorthwest Staff

Tell me I’m wrong: Everyone should have a New Year’s resolution

What is preventing us from reaching our fitness goals the rest of the year? KIRO Radio's Candy Harper weighs in.
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Opening bids to buy (and save) Seattle Showbox likely to fail, sources say