Rumor: Esmay Building = Scott Staples Restaurant?

Speaking of the Columbia City Review Committee (see post below), there’s been a lot of neighborhood discussion and rumors about what the plan is for the Esmay Building (on Hudson, directly across the street from the Greenhouse Apartments). Retrofitting the building (roof/seismic/etc.) has been an on-again-off-again process for the past couple of years, with no one really talking openly about what the plan for the space actually is.532640_482152555160135_1462361460_n

Talking to construction workers about a year and a half ago, they said they didn’t know what the business was exactly, but that it was some kind of restaurant. By chance, I spoke to the owner of the building about the same time as he was coming out after checking on the construction. He was very hesitant to talk about his tenants, but again, said there were plans for some kind of restaurant. Also, this mysterious Facebook page for Esmay’s Auto Rebuild popped up right around the time the building was beginning to be worked on. It lists the site as a restaurant–my guess is that the Facebook page was created by the same owner I spoke to earlier. On the Esmay’s Facebook page, Blackball Construction is listed as the general contractor. From Blackball’s Facebook page (December 2012) is this hint with a few pictures of the retrofit:

Just started new construction down in Columbia City! Check back in and watch us turn this space into a brewery!

From there, the trail stalls out a bit and perhaps the plans changed. Construction at the Esmay Building has been on hiatus for at least a year with very little action at all. However, digging through the past agendas of the Columbia City Review Committee, there are some strong suggestions that a restaurant may very well still be in the works.

There are earlier agendas and minutes (including this one from 2011 with a number of specific details and comments) on the initial retrofit, but this agenda from August 2013 is promising as it lists Wynn + Associates as the current architects proposing exterior alterations to the building. Around this time, a few neighbors in the know started dropping the names of Scott Staples as the possible tenant. Scott Staples is the chef/owner of Quinn’s Pub and Restaurant Zoe on Capitol Hill and Uneedaburger in Freemont. To back that up, is this agenda from December 2013, which lists a Heather Staples (yup, that’s his wife and partner) as the business owner proposing exterior alterations. Most recently, is this March 2014 agenda which once again lists Stefan Wynn from Wynn + Associates as the architects on the project proposing exterior alterations.

So, does this all mean that we are getting a Uneedaburger Columbia City? Something along the lines of Quinn’s? Something a bit fancier like Zoe? Something else entirely?…I have no idea, but figured it’s a worthwhile rumor to jump into. Feel free to chime in if you’ve got any details about what may be coming.

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