Capitol Hill Arts District will announce today that the former Value Village building at 1525 11th Ave. will reopen next month as V2, a temporary arts space to be managed by Velocity Dance Center and shared by Velocity, One Reel,
and Richard Hugo House. UPDATE/CORRECTION: Reps from Richard Hugo House and Capitol Hill Arts District have clarified that Hugo House's participation in this project is still being negotiated. According to the Capitol Hill Arts District press release, the three-story, 30,000-square-foot space will be divided into performance areas, rental studios, classrooms, offices, and storage.
V2 is envisioned as “a gathering place for rehearsals, events, artist residencies, community forums and the monthly Second Thursday Art Walk.”
The building has been owned since 2006 by Legacy Commercial, a Bellevue-based real estate management firm which, according to Capitol Hill Arts District, is “generously offering the space extremely below market rent for a short term.”
(Note: Legacy Commercial also owns the building that houses the Stranger’s corporate headquarters, which is directly adjacent to the former Value Village.)
Though the press release emphasizes that V2 is a “temporary solution” to the problem of artists and arts organizations being priced out of the Seattle rental market, it gives no estimate of how long the project may last.
According to Matthew Richter, Cultural Space Liaison at the Office of Arts & Culture, the initial lease is for six months, with an option to renew at the end of that period, though "no one, at the moment, is sure what the exact timeline will be for redevelopment of the site."
Jeff Calvert, project manager for the property, told me that Legacy has "applied for a permit with the City of Seattle (project number 3023226) to redevelop the building and the parking lot into a mixed use building which will include retail and office use" and expects "to begin construction during the first or second quarter of 2017 based on current estimates" for permit approval.
"We believe that bringing office users to the Pike/Pine area will help support neighborhood retailers and neighborhood restaurateurs by providing a daytime audience," he said, via email.
CHAD co-chair Michael Seiwerath characterized the collaboration between organizations “as a model for how to take on large projects at a time when Seattle can seem unaffordable to artists.”
In addition to the short term rent break, the V2 project will be aided by $20,000 from the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. According to Richter, the money will "fund pop-up arts activations in the space from members of the Capitol Hill Arts District (others, outside of the district, can program pop-up activations there for a nominal fee)."
“Seattle’s first Arts & Cultural District, the Capitol Hill neighborhood, already plays a special role in the cultural life of the city,” Mayor Ed Murray said in the press release. “Through a strong neighborhood partnership, city funds will support V2 as a new dedicated space for artistic expression. We look forward to working with the community to develop additional arts and cultural spaces throughout the neighborhood.”
The plan is for Velocity to occupy the ground floor—which will be re-covered by a portable dance floor on loan from Seattle Center—while continuing to operate its current facility at 1621 12th Ave.
One Reel’s offices will relocate to the top level.
Hugo House will store its theater lights and seating in the building while its new home is under construction, and will program readings and lectures in the space beginning in the fall. UPDATE/CORRECTION: These things may happen, but then again, of course, they may not.
The press release quotes Velocity Artistic Director and Capitol Hill Arts District co-chair Tonya Lockyer, who said that the “demand for affordable arts space has been unrelenting” and that “amazingly, the top-level hardwood floors are in near perfect condition. To have a beautiful floor in a pillar-free space that big is heaven for dancers. It’s like a musician entering a thrift shop and finding a Stradivarius.”