Another popular dive bar closes for micro-housing

Mar 22, 2017, 11:40 AM | Updated: 1:26 pm

A dive bar that was a staple for the working-class in the University District closed for the last time on Friday to make way for more micro-housing.

Related: Old Seattle fire station will become low-income housing

The building that houses the Knarr Shipwreck Lounge, which made a list of favorite dive bars in The Seattle Times last year, will be demolished to make way for 31 apartments.

The new building at 5637 University Way NE will be four-stories tall, with 29 small efficiency units and two efficiency units.

The owners of Knarr held a final farewell on March 17. They had been operating the bar since the early 1980s.

Though there will be those who bemoan the loss of another Seattle dive, some argue that — at least in this area — affordable apartments are better for the community. KIRO Radio’s Jason and Burns say there isn’t much character in the U-District to preserve in the first place.

Listen to their discussion

Dive bar vs. housing

Creating more affordable housing in a city where rent is skyrocketing is one of Mayor Ed Murray’s primary goals. Recently, the city council approved an “upzone” of the U-District, allowing developers to construct taller buildings. However, developers must also devote 9 percent of new construction to low-income housing.

So, while some may be shaking their fist at the decision to demolish a Seattle favorite, it can be argued that more affordable apartments are a greater need. Plus, KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz — citing Crosscut — points out that the owners of the bar chose to sell. That makes the tone of this closure a bit more uplifting than others in the past.

Of course, there is one small detail that might irritate the businesses around the new apartment building: There are no plans to build parking.

As one woman wrote to the city:

I doubt there is any business on the block that will miss the Knarr however putting up a residential building in its place without providing parking is irresponsible to the existing neighborhood as well as the residence you intend to sell to.

At least light rail will be coming to the area in four years.

What are they building?

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Another popular dive bar closes for micro-housing