The owner of this stage has filed for a demolition permit but he says that doesnt mean hes tearing the building down.
The owner of this stage has filed for a demolition permit but he says that doesn't mean he's tearing the building down. Courtesy El Corazon

The owner of El Corazon has filed for a demolition permit but that does not mean he wants to demolish the nightclub, at least according to him. Dana Sims told me in an e-mail yesterday that he has no plans to tear the building down.

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“The building we operate in is very old and I am considering some substantial improvements. This permit allows me the flexibility to consider, and plan for that,” Sims told me in an e-mail. “I am already booking shows here in 2020,” he added.

El Corazon has been a fixture in Seattle’s music scene since the 1980s and '90s, when the venue, then called The Off Ramp, hosted early shows from Grunge luminaries like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Rumors of a demolition have been swirling around the El Corazon night club ever since Vanishing Seattle, a Facebook page, reported that the grunge-era nightclub was going to be demolished and replaced with a 44-story tower.

That initial report ended up being false—the planned 44-story tower is across the street and not on the nightclub’s property—but there ended up being more to the story. Sims has filed for a demolition permit that would give him the right to completely demolish the building, although the city has not yet issued that permit. John Serkland, the architect listed on the demolition permit, told me that Sims could wait to use the permit for years if he receives one.

“I don’t know when Dana Sims will have the permit,” Serkland said. “I don’t have any knowledge of when Dana will make use of this demo permit, maybe now or maybe in five years.”

Serkland said he has only worked on the demolition permit and has not been involved in any redevelopment work.

“I was just directed to get a demo permit,” Serkland said. “There is a permit for demolition, beyond that I don’t know anything more.”

El Corazon’s location near the nexus of South Lake Union, Downtown, and Capitol Hill makes it a prime target for redevelopment. Parking lots and old buildings have been rapidly demolished and turned into towers all around the venue. Tearing down the old two-story venue would fit right into the pattern forming all around the building, but for now the venue’s owner tells us he has no plan to demolish the building. Only a plan to apply for the demolition permit.