Chow Now Where Will the Glowering Vegans Go?
posted by June 23 at 16:11 PMon
When the KFC on East Pine Street shut its doors a couple weeks ago, it was another nail in the coffin for fast food chains on Capitol Hill. Taco Bell on Broadway was demolished recently for a six-story mixed-use development; Jack in the Box closed in March at the light-rail station site. Now only litter from Dick’s, Seattle’s hometown gristle hut, has made its way into the trash can in front of KFC.
KFC “was doing fine,” says Karen Gutke, director of real estate for poultry franchisee Harman Management Corporation. The building required an upgrade to meet contractual obligations, but “the site’s too small to do a scrape and rebuild,” she says. Colonel Sanders’s placid smile is absent from the sign pole at 10th Avenue and East Pine Street, and so are the PETA volunteers passing out scornful pamphlets.
“My business partners and neighbors are all happy that fast food will no longer be the use for that site,” says Ted Schroth, owner of the Oddfellows Building across the street. According to Schroth and sources in the neighborhood, the site will be developed into (what else?) a multi-story building with retail on the ground floor and apartments up top.
But they may be counting their fried chickens before they hatch. Before the site’s big transformation, it could be home to another fast food joint—albeit temporarily. The buyer (rumored to be Ron Amundson, who owns the adjacent property and storefronts on Broadway) is reportedly known to take his time redeveloping new properties. And workers in coveralls last week were painting the telltale red roof with tan paint; they said the new owner is seeking a new fast-food tenant.
Jack in the Box was rumored to have plans to move into the site. However, company spokespeople did not respond before I posted this and, if the JB lounge was interested, the owner probably wouldn’t be putting his building on the market.
Regardless, given pedestrian-friendly requirements for new construction in the Pike-Pine corridor and the demand for high-density developments, there are few sites in the neighborhood where zoning or economics would allow a new drive-through restaurant. “If I could find another site, we would build another store,” says Gutke.