Character Study Denny on First Avenue and University Street
posted by June 23 at 10:20 AMon
What’s your name?
How long have you lived in the Diller Hotel?
What was it like when you first moved in?
It was more like a flophouse then; this was skid row. This whole area has changed—the art museum, the famous Hammering man, Harbor Properties, the new Four Seasons Olympic Hotel, and on and on.
What was the rent the day you moved in?
[Long pause, then laughter] It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten!
How much has the rent gone up in 16 years?
I would say the rent, in 16 years, has gone up probably about double, 100 percent. Which is really good.
When I rented here a few years ago it was $325, and how I miss that price. What types of people are hanging out down here compared with a decade ago?
Most people are more tourist types. The ones that have moved into the area are the more, if I can use the word, “yuppie” type, with more money. I do feel safer now, but I miss the old days when it was lively, with a little mote partying, and more happy-go-lucky people. People now are a little less friendly. They get to be the big-city “yuppie” type, if I can use that word.
I know this used to be a hotel—has there has always been that vibe of people moving in and out so frequently?
Oh yeah, a lot of people in and out all the time. The top floor was actually a bordello when it was first built. That tells you what it used to be like here on First Avenue.
The Diller is the last of its kind on First Avenue.
Even the old hotel where the Lusty Lady is doesn’t rent rooms anymore. Yeah, so we are the last one left, I would say, from Pioneer Square all the way to Denny Way, especially on First Avenue. The building is family owned, so they fought to keep it, but they had to fight some pretty hard battles with all the big influence coming around on the block… The Seattle Art Museum, Harbor Properties—the really super rich and big-money people.
Will this building be around for another 10 years?
Oh, no. You can see here on this block, this is the only original thing left. Big money is gonna win here, too.