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Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Grim Ripper

posted by on February 23 at 19:29 PM

Next on the chopping block—B&O Espresso:

Some of you may not know this yet, but a developer has proposed razing the landmark B&O Espresso on Capitol Hill.

The proposed project would result in a 65’ tall, 75-unit apartment complex with retail below. This would eliminate the existing businesses, including the B&O Espresso, as well as the two-fourplex apartments to the north of the B&O. To what degree is redevelopment appropriate and best for the community if it eliminates historical, architectural or cultural connections to our past? How much is enough when it directly jeopardizes and impacts the very core a neighborhood identifies with? Worthy of note is the B & O Espresso and Café, which was one of the first establishments offering espresso in Seattle, and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at this location. This in itself establishes deep cultural ties to the neighborhood. Eliminating this building would destroy the unique character and cultural identity of this retail core.

And if we keep destroying what makes Seattle unique, we might as well replace the Space Needle with huge golden arches, and a sign reading, “Over 1,000,000 displaced.” Some of us do not want this to happen!

Here’s a link to a web page devoted to saving the B&O. There’s a petition you can sign, and the info where to write DPD Land Use Planner Bruce Rips. (I’m not kidding — that’s really his name.)

RSS icon Comments


Maybe we should declare it a historical landmark.

Posted by blaire with an e | February 23, 2008 7:47 PM

This is as pointless as the Ballard Denny's landmark designation, albeit not nearly as ridiculous. Cap Hill is dense, getting denser. Aging 1-story buildings are not. When the time is right, tear it down.

Posted by Troy | February 23, 2008 7:47 PM

can't we vote to have it named a landmark like the denny's in ballard?! wouldn't that save it from development?

Posted by teddy b | February 23, 2008 7:48 PM

If only you Cap Hill types weren't all so cool, hip, and fashionable. Then we wouldn't have developers wanting to build there. Maybe you should work on that. And "30th anniversary at this location"... I guess it has moved before and survived just fine.

Posted by Loser | February 23, 2008 7:57 PM

If it's so valuable as a landmark of Seattle's culture, perhaps you should take up a collection to preserve it. Not a petition. A collection. Then buy the thing and bronze it.

Posted by King Rat | February 23, 2008 8:07 PM

Is it a landmark? Looks like a sweet little coffee shop to me. And I just got back from a sweet little coffee shop (chaco canyon) underneath a brand new set of apartments. Not a chain. A unique, one-of-a-kind establishment under a brand spanking new multi-story apartment building.

That being said, I have never been to this particular coffee shop, and it does look nice and lively. It's a shame active buildings like this are being destroyed instead of parking lots and empty buildings.

Posted by Cale | February 23, 2008 8:22 PM

Cale @ 6, Chaco Canyon is a wonderful example to bring up, because I spent so much time in its previous, terribly homey location underneath the Indian cuisine machine that is Cedars. It's hard for me to go to the new Chaco Canyon you speak of - it seems so institutional suddenly - but I recognize its continued excellence all the same. And this will hold true for B & O. How many of us have enjoyed the intense warmth of that special place? The same old posters from Seattle Opera, the French advertisements, the unparalleled desserts in a deliberate darkness that is neither pretentious nor uncomfortable. Yet is was not a restaurant once, but merely a charming cafe with no wait for a table; no doubt there are truly disgruntled Seattlites who never recovered from that either!

Posted by KOM | February 23, 2008 8:39 PM

In ten years, you won't be able to see the Space Needle through the planned high-rises anyway.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 23, 2008 9:01 PM

Seriously, it's just a freakin' coffee shop, and not even really that great.
It's not like they can't move into a new location.

I mean, after all, somebody owns the building, don't they? Do they have rights to use their property the way they choose? Or is it only YOU who has "rights"?

Maybe the property owner should call the ACLU.

Posted by Mike in Pioneer Square | February 23, 2008 9:43 PM

While B&O Espresso was a landmark for myself and many others even before we moved to Seattle, I don't think it's a landmark.

Actually, the planned high rises don't obscure the Space Needle - if you read the zoning plats.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 23, 2008 10:46 PM

What was there before the B&O building?

What's that? No one cares?

Posted by w7ngman | February 23, 2008 10:47 PM

It looks like the B&O used to be the Belmont Tavern

Posted by Boylston | February 23, 2008 11:04 PM

has not been there 30 years - moved from ______________ another place - 15 years ago???

too expensive, kinda snobby, all that sugar, yuk

great for hand jobs or at least rub a lotta times and kissing

Posted by John | February 23, 2008 11:43 PM

I've been hearing the B&O-moving rumor for a few years now. It's finally happening? Well, OK. Surely there are other places in Seattle where I can sit down at a table and then be ignored for 20-30 minutes before a server remembers I'm there.

Posted by Erik | February 23, 2008 11:44 PM

Thanks for that, Boylston @12.

Posted by Fnarf | February 24, 2008 12:25 AM

You guys reported this almost two years ago:

The real question, raised in that older post, is what kind of retail space is planned for the ground floor of this new development? Could B&O, or a business about that size, afford to rent space there?

Posted by Lincoln O | February 24, 2008 9:16 AM

I used to hang out at B&O shortly after they opened. I'm sorry to see it go, but there are so many coffee shops in Seattle, it will only be missed by the people in the neighborhood.

Posted by elswinger | February 24, 2008 10:46 AM

The B&O was a regular hang-out for some guys in a band, and one night it ended up being the place where they came up with their name.."pearl jam" (I heard an interview with Mike McCready where he told that much better detail than I). Anyway, just an interesting "seattle" story. Now commence with the snarky "who cares, I hate pearl jam" comments

Posted by :: shawn :: | February 24, 2008 10:58 AM

Here's the best part. We have this thing called "memory". When we use this "memory" thingy, we get to keep telling stories like in 18. And we don't even need to sit in the dimly lit coffee shop to do so.

Posted by F | February 24, 2008 11:51 AM

The B&O is a terrible coffee joint. The coffee and desserts are good, yes, yes, but the service is beyond abysmal. Only Cafe Septieme has worse service.

I will not mourn.

Posted by Simac | February 24, 2008 12:00 PM

A business has be at least as high quality as Denny's for people to care about it. B&O does not qualify.

Posted by the denny's principle | February 24, 2008 12:33 PM

Their food sux almost as much as their coffee. Nuke 'em!

Posted by violet_dagrinder | February 25, 2008 7:58 AM

You voted for Nickels and you got what you deserved!

Posted by Vince | February 25, 2008 8:38 AM

we need to outpace bellevue!

Posted by john mcDong | February 25, 2008 12:54 PM

At least the Starbucks down the street is safe.

Posted by J.R. | February 25, 2008 4:07 PM

Wow, these comments suck. What, did you all move here from Bellevue?

As for #16 -when last threatened, the owner said a new building wouldn't have the same ambiance and charm, and it would bring the end of the B&O. The owner's of Twice Sold Tales up the street said the same thing -some of us don't like the aesthetic of new construction, but we're in the minority so fuck us. Progress! Progress!

Hopefully, though, if this does go down, maybe next they'll consider the original Starbucks in Pike Place. After all, what does charm, aesthetic, or heaven forbid history, have to do with progress. Remember, Progress!

Posted by Lose-Lose | February 25, 2008 7:30 PM

PS- I'm curious as to who the developer is and how they are tied to Mayor Nickels. Have they donated to him in the past? Worked together? After all, someone's gotta get rich from all this...

Posted by Lose-Lose | February 25, 2008 7:32 PM

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