Category Archives: Rumors

Rumor: New Seafood Restaurant Coming to Columbia City?

The details are very scarce, and it’s probably too early to count on it (let alone post something like this), but there is a rumor on the rise that the new, long-empty building at the former Angie’sCCBA-Website-V2_03 location has been leased to a new seafood restaurant. The signage for the upstairs rental does appear to have changed, indicating that at least the office space above has been rented. (correction: the signage indicates it’s the downstairs restaurant space). This prompted a Facebook discussion on the Columbia City page, and there, some neighbors in the know are indicating that, indeed, a new fish and oyster place aptly named “Sea Salt” is coming our way.

We’ll see how it pans out–there has definitely been excitement before about neighborhood food possibilities that haven’t quite come to fruition, so be sure to chime in if you have any more details.


Confirmed: Bookworm Exchange Reopening

A number of folks have pointed out that it appears Bookworm Exchange, the former Columbia City bookstore,photo[1] is reopening in Hillman City. However, except for the new signage that went up on the corner of Rainier and Mead recently, details are very scarce. There’s no website, the last Facebook post is from the store’s closing in 2012, and no one I’ve spoken to knows any of the specifics. A preliminary search on Seattle’s building and business permits didn’t turn up anything for Bookworm prior to 2004. A quick glance in the window shows a lot of empty shelving–which suggests this might very well be a new storefront (and, say, not just an online operation).

Does this mean Columbia/Hillman city is about to have two bookstores in the future? At this weekend’s movie in the park, I spoke with the manager of the PCC and he said Third Place Books is still very interested in pursuing the soon-to-be-former Seward Park PCC space as new location for the independent bookstore–complete with basement pub/cafe.

If anyone has any more details or thoughts about either Bookworm or Third Place, be sure to chime in.

Update: I spoke with the owner today. Bookworm Exchange is planning to open in August. As he stated in the comments in an earlier post:

Hello Bookworm Exchange is going to open at Rainier and Mead at the end of August. It will be a much smaller operation than the store in Columbia City, but basically the same. Thanks, Jim @ Bookworm Exchange

Esmay Rumors Continued

Digging even deeper into the Seattle permits and property records (full disclosure here: I can see the Esmay building from my house, soIMG_2221 I have a vested interest), it looks like a Scott Staple’s burger restaurant is definitely maybe in the works.

According to documents from August, Heather and Scott Staples are officially leasing the Esmay building from the Schlamp family and have been proceeding with all of the permits and official documentation under the name of Columbia City Artisan Burger.

In short, although still definitely a rumor at this point, a Columbia City Uneedaburger may very well be a possibility.

Greenhouse residents, it may be time to start getting prepared for an across-the-street temptation of gourmet, or rather, artisan burgers, fries, and shakes at all times…maybe the neighborhood we will even get some real outdoor seating.



UPDATE: none of this appears to have played out. The building is now for rent. 

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.

New Businesses in Hillman City?

Tin Umbrella just updated the following to the Columbia City Facebook page.Image

Omg! Our landlord, James Ackley (of Bob’s Meats in Columbia City) just stopped in with some GREAT news! We are getting new neighbors, next door!! A refurbished furniture store in one unit and a pet food store in the other!! (Something to make both the people & pets happy!!) And with that, we have two fewer abandoned buildings in the HLC. If we went all-in on this coffee shop, James & his wife Tien have done the same to renovate this beautiful building–please give him some love next time you’re at Bob’s!