Shop owners in Seattle’s Melrose Market say construction is killing business

Mar 17, 2016, 11:06 AM | Updated: 11:07 am
Melrose Market, before the construction started. (Photo by Joe Walf/CC images)...
Melrose Market, before the construction started. (Photo by Joe Walf/CC images)
(Photo by Joe Walf/CC images)

Parking in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is very challenging. Challenging enough that I try my best to avoid the fun neighborhood with all the good restaurants as much as possible. And apparently I’m not the only one.

At Melrose Market, a complex of upscale, artisan shops and restaurants, business is seriously slumping. Shop owners think the massive amount of construction on their block, going strong since 2013, is to blame.

“The fact that the developers have been taking up, probably, half of our very precious parking spaces has really considerably brought business down for everybody in the market,” says Sheri LaVigne, owner of the Calf and Kid cheese shop in Melrose Market.

Related: A former cop is teaching people how to shoot guns

LaVigne says sales have dropped so significantly since construction started, she’s getting ready to close up shop at Melrose Market.

Russ Flint owns the butcher shop Rain Shadow Meats. He noticed construction workers setting up “No Parking” signs on the block, but none of them had a city permit attached. He reported the developers to SDOT.

“Our Street Use Inspectors were able to document that construction workers were illegally reserving parking spaces for themselves at this construction site,” SDOT’s communication director Rick Sheridan said. “We issued a citation today to that construction project.”

But the damage from constant construction has been done. Flint says customers have stopped coming to shop because the street is always blocked off.

“I think the city needs to be more thoughtful in the way that they hand out permits,” Flint said. “Today is a perfect example &#8212 it’s Friday, one of our busiest days. The road is shut down one way, there’s no parking all day long. On February 20, which was a Saturday &#8212 our busiest day &#8212 both sides of the street were shut down. No parking.

“One of the first shutdowns they approached us on was November 15, 2013. It was a one-week warning that they were going to shut down the street the week of Thanksgiving,” he continued. “That’s our second busiest week of the year. There’s no consideration for the people that are trying to survive on these blocks. Monday, Tuesday are slow days. That’s when you should be shutting it down.”

Both Flint and LaVigne say their holiday sales were dismal.

LaVigne thinks it’s the developers being thoughtless, not necessarily the city.

“The developers, ever since they started, they said, ‘We’re really going to work with you.’ Since day one they haven’t,” LaVigne said. “When Starbucks was doing their big thing over here, they were unbelievable to work with. The head of that project was in communication with us on a very regular basis. If they ever had big trucks out there, she would make sure they were done by nine or 10 a.m. Or she’d be like, ‘Hey, can we do it on a Monday, that’s not going to effect you guys quite as much.'”

LaVigne says she’s not against growth in the neighborhood, but it has to work for businesses, not against them.

“The whole idea of bringing more people to the area is a positive thing to think about,” LaVigne said. “But what we have to go through to get there? It doesn’t feel worth it.”

The construction on their block is expected to last through 2017, possibly longer.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

mike's chili parlor...
Rachel Belle

City of Seattle honors 100 years of Mike’s Chili Parlor in Ballard

One hundred years ago, a Greek immigrant opened a chili cart in Ballard, and 100 years later the business is still thriving on the family's secret recipe. 
22 hours ago
no phone...
Rachel Belle

Comedians and musicians are adopting ‘no phone’ policies at their shows

Artists like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Madonna are using a service called Yondr, that requires audiences lock up their phone in a pouch for the duration of a show. 
8 days ago
library...
Rachel Belle

Does checking out library books hurt authors and indie bookstores?

Do authors and bookstores miss out on sales when we check out books for free at the library? Seattle Public Library and publisher Sasquatch Books weigh in. 
18 days ago
seahawks...
Rachel Belle

What to eat at Seahawks games this season: new menu is local and diverse

Seahawks season officially kicks off tonight at Lumen Field, and if you like meatballs just as much as footballs, this report is for you. 
19 days ago
college clean...
Rachel Belle

Most college kids say they ‘were not prepared to clean’ their dorm or apartment

A new American Cleaning Institute survey revealed that 75% of college students landed on campus, unprepared to clean up after themselves.
24 days ago
hospice nurse...
Rachel Belle

Local hospice nurse says death is not what you see in the movies

Death is not always peaceful and never pretty, but hospice nurse Katie Bracken says their job is to prepare people for a loved ones death. 
29 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

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 […]
Shop owners in Seattle’s Melrose Market say construction is killing business