Arts Goodbye CHAC. Hello Velocity?
posted by May 12 at 11:40 AMon
Looks like the great experiment in for-profit theater might be moving—perhaps against its will.
People have been trading all kinds of rumors about Capitol Hill Arts Center: that they’re moving (or being kicked) out, that they’re trying to buy their lovely brick building on 12th, that building owner Elizabeth Linke (who also owns the building that houses Northwest Film Forum) has been dissatisfied with CHAC’s slow slide from arts center to nightclub, etc.
Matthew Kwatinetz, CHAC’s founder and executive director, wrote in an email last Thursday: “The lease options are ours (meaning that the owner can’t decide not to renew our lease, that is our option, not hers), and yes we are definitely trying to purchase the building, as we have been for several years. Much of this buzz could be from all the advocacy work that I have been doing in the last several months trying to get the ‘crisis’ in real estate out there.”
But I just got off the phone with Elizabeth Linke (a politic and articulate lady from Ireland, now living in Ballard): “Matthew did not exercise his option to renew in January—as far as I know, he’ll be moving out June 30.” As for selling the building to Kwatinetz, “he proposed buying it, but that’s not up for discussion—I’m not interested in selling, period.”
So: CHAC is out, according to the building owner, but not CHAC itself. (It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out…)
Crave will stay and, according to owner and chef Robin Leventhal, maybe even expand.
Linke prefers to rent to arts organizations—she’s been “very satisfied” with the Film Forum as a tenant, but tactfully declined to comment on her satisfaction level with CHAC. “I have no axe to grind with Matthew,” she said. “He’ll be gone soon, to go do whatever it is he wants to do.”
Linke is having early-stage discussions with Velocity Dance Center about the possibility of renting to them. Velocity has to move out of its home in the Oddfellows Hall, whose new owner Ted Schroth has tripled their rent.
Velocity (which won the first Stranger Genius Award for organization five years ago) would be a perfect fit for the Building Formerly Known As CHAC.
Its main room is a brick cavern, not unlike Velocity’s current home, with high ceilings and wood floors—but, sadly, no friezes of yawning lions on the walls.
You can’t have everything.
(Unless, of course, somebody at Velocity wants to “accidentally” leave the doors open and some extraction tools lying around sometime… )