Cafe Racer—a longtime safe-haven for oddballs, musicians, and artists—is up for sale. Kurt Geissel, who has owned the cafe since 2004 when it first opened as Lucky Dog, said family matters and obligations with his full-time job at the University of Washington contributed to his decision to sell the joint.
"It's time to move on and do something else," he said. "I've been doing this for 14 years. I don't have the energy I had 14 years ago, frankly. ... If I didn't have a full-time job and I was doing this instead I'd love to do it. It's a big part of my life."
Geissel announced the news on Cafe Racer's Facebook page yesterday.
Cafe Racer has received an outpouring of community support since May 2012, when a man walked into the U-District dive and gunned down five people. He fled, fatally shot another person in First Hill, and later killed himself.
The community came and backed the cafe again last autumn, when Geissel's friend persuaded him to launch a GoFundMe campaign. At the time, Geissel said Cafe Racer struggled financially due to a construction project along Roosevelt Way, which was spearheaded by the Seattle Department of Transportation. The project, which was completed in segments, drained the street of car and foot traffic, which resulted in a financial blow to the business. The campaign ultimately raised about $33,210 of its $50,000 goal.
Since making the announcement yesterday, Geissel said he's received positive feedback. Although he said he wouldn't miss stressing out about business matters, he lamented that he wouldn't be surrounded by Seattle creatives, traveling musicians, and cafe regulars every day.
The building is currently listed at $135,000.
"While the area is zoned to allow for low-rise apartments or town homes, the land doesn’t come with the sale — making a teardown option less likely," The Seattle Times reports.
"I've talked with a few people interested in keeping the place going just as Cafe Racer, which would be dreamy," Geissel said.