New Vet Clinic Coming to Columbia City

There’s not a ton of info out there, but new permits indicate that the empty space next to Rookies (3810 S Ferdinand and the former Jones BBQ spot) will soon be home to a new Columbia City Veterinary clinic.

If there’s more info out there about the clinic, be sure to chime in.


Columbia City Theater Under New Management

Friday, December 18, 2015.   Lara Lavi is the new co-manager of the Columbia City Theatre in Seattle's Columbia District and has plans to renovate the place.  Musicians are practicing in the backround.

Friday, December 18, 2015. Lara Lavi is the new co-manager of the Columbia City Theatre in Seattle’s Columbia District and has plans to renovate the place. Musicians are practicing in the backround.

The Seattle Times has a piece outlining some new changes underway at the Columbia City Theater. Under new management, the new brains behind the theater have some big ideas on how to improve the space and make the most out of Washington’s oldest vaudville theater.

“You know that movie, ‘We Bought A Zoo’?” Lara Lavi asked as we stood on a balcony inside the Columbia City Theater. “This is that movie.”

It was a fitting comparison. People were running up and down stairs and milling about on the main floor. There was a slight odor about the place — not unexpected after almost 100 years.
And there was wondrous racket coming from the stage, where comedian and musician Ahamefule Oluo and his orchestra were rehearsing for his show, “Now I’m Fine,” before bringing it to New York next month.

If this is a zoo, then Lavi is the keeper with all the keys — most important, the one to the theater’s future.

Last month, Lavi and her husband, Maurice Jones Jr., a multimedia educator who worked with the Central Area Youth Association, were brought in by theater owner Peter Sikov to manage the place.

“We had a four-hour conversation where (Sikov) really saw who we were as artists and grown-up people,” she said.

Lavi, 55, brings years of experience to the role.

She is a working attorney who became the managing partner of Death Row Records in 2009 after negotiating an $18 million acquisition deal.

She has her own production company, called Dreaming in Color Entertainment.

And she is an artist who fronts the Lara Lavi Band and has a new, five-song EP called “Finish Line” coming out next summer.
“We bring emotional acumen, business acumen and a true love of the arts,” Lavi said. “And I am a player. I am doing this.”

Settling into one of the well-worn couches in the theater’s office area, she painted a vivid picture of what she sees for the place.

A thriving theater, with bookings on par with every other similarly sized venue in town. An education program, where students can learn not just performance, but recording, stage management, lighting, sound tech, marketing and promotion. A recording studio, where artists can feel comfortable to create.

She also wants to launch something called “DICE TV,” streaming live performances and artist interviews.

“This would be a media spot similar to ‘Austin City Limits,’ ” she said, referring to the long-running televised concert series on PBS. “This is a perfect production house for this. We want to make sure that every ounce of this building is monetized.”…

Click here to read the full article.

Seattle Times on Bob’s Reopening

Photo: Seattle Times

On Christmas Eve you have to take a number at Bob’s Quality Meats in Columbia City

Last week, The Seattle Times’ Jessica Lee posted a nice piece on the reopening of Bob’s Meats. There’s even a video that walks us through the damage of the fire. To read the full piece, click here.

…The store at 4861 Rainier Ave. S. started taking orders again earlier this month, though with a slightly modified menu. Last-minute building preparations cut time for smoking some of the store’s big meats, such as its popular fresh turkeys and hams.

“It’s good to have him back,” customer Mark Holtzen said of James Ackley. Holtzen has been buying meat at Bob’s for 10 years.

The meat shop sells hundreds of hams each Christmas season and more than 500 fresh turkeys each Thanksgiving. The store packages about 150 pounds of homemade sausage on an average day throughout the year, and at times, Bob’s offers more than 100 varieties of chicken, beef, sausage and pork.

The advertised selection runs the gamut, from unique delicacies such as pig hearts and oxtail, to the classics, such as drumsticks and rib-eye steak. Bob’s sells to downtown Seattle restaurants and across the country, continuing a long-running, meat-cutting tradition.

Joe Ackley, James Ackley’s grandfather, started the meat business more than a century ago when he sold meat off a wagon pulled by mules in the Yakima area. After the invention of refrigeration, he opened a shop in 1909 where his sons, including James Ackley’s father, Bob, helped prepare meat.

In 1963, Bob Ackley moved his family to Seattle and opened a shop in West Seattle. Then in the late 1970s, the Ackleys took over another family’s meat shop in Columbia City, where Bob’s continues today.

“I don’t think that many people get the opportunity to experience this kind of connection … with their neighborhood, particularly in an urban place that we in our family have always kind of known,” said Abraham Ackley, the shop’s current manager…

For the full piece, click here.



Bob’s Quality Meats is Back


Photo by A.G. The Stranger

After five months of rebuilding following a devastating fire, Bob’s Quality Meats has opened their doors. The Stranger’s Angela Garbes has some nice coverage:

This past July, a two-alarm fire melted the ceiling and walls of Bob’s Quality Meats, the Columbia City butcher shop that has been run by the Ackley family since the late 1970s. (The building, built in 1892, has been a meat store, owned and operated by multiple generations of two different families, since 1909.) The fire caused more than $300,000 in property and product damage. As customers, myself very much included, mourned the closure of Bob’s, owners James and Thien Ackley vowed that they would return.

As of yesterday, Bob’s is back in business. When I stopped in yesterday morning just after 9 a.m., hoping to buy pounds of the excellent housemade chorizo, bratwurst, and Cajun boudin blanc that I’ve been missing for far too long, I was disappointed to find the door locked. But James Ackley was nice enough to let me in, even though the sign in the window read “Closed” and the brand-new meat case that runs almost the entire length of the store was empty, save for a few steaks. Ackley said they would be opening the doors at 10 a.m., even if they didn’t have much to sell right away.

“I’d shake your hand,” he told me. “But it’s kind of gross since I’m in the middle of cutting meat.”

People who have been shopping at Bob’s for years will be relieved to know that the place has the same familiar layout and feel, but with a few upgrades. Refrigerators and freezers line one wall, soon to be filled with assorted frozen meats, lard, and bones for making stock. A shiny metro shelf rack holding a big box of yellow onions awaited other basic pantry items that Bob’s always stocks so you don’t have to make an extra trip to the grocery store.

Along with the new meat case, the Ackleys have taken out the old fluorescent track lighting and replaced it with antique-looking milk glass hanging lamps.

“We got rid of the fluorescent stuff, and these—which I actually think look a lot better—are all LED,” Ackley said, pointing to the ceiling. “So we’re more energy-efficient now.”

Above the meat case, though, hang lights that point toward the Ackley’s long family history. The corrugated tin lamp shades are the same ones that hung in the butcher shop Ackley’s grandfather, Joe, opened in eastern Washington in 1909. Ackley’s father, Bob, opened his store in West Seattle in 1963. James Ackley took over the Bob’s Columbia City shop in 1997, and his own son, Abe, now manages much of Bob’s’ day-to-day operations.

The family has been working hard for the last five months to get Bob’s back up and running, but they’ve also relied on support from the community. The Ackleys placed petitions at neighboring businesses such as Columbia City Bakery, Full Tilt Ice Cream, and Tin Umbrella Coffee to collect signatures as part of an application process for a Saving Landmarks grant from 4Culture and King County. The family received $200,000 to restore the historic building and their family legacy.

 Just before Thanksgiving, the busiest time of year for Bob’s, the Ackleys received so many requests from customers who order their signature smoked turkeys for their holiday dinners (Bob’s typically sells around 500 of them every year) that they went ahead and took a limited number of orders. Because the butcher shop was still under construction, the family sold them out of a refrigerator at Claws & Paws, the pet shop they own in nearby Hillman City.

Now, Bob’s is open, just in time for a busy Christmas season. “Order Now,” a butcher paper sign in the window reads, listing suggestions such as prime rib, crown roast, honey-glazed spiral-cut ham, and “Our Own Down Home Ham.”

“When you’re closed for almost six months, you worry that people forget about you,” Ackley told me. “So we want everyone to know, we’re back. We’re still here.”

First Images of Future Pagliacci

useThanks to the efforts of Scott A., we’ve got the first look at what’s in store for the Hastings Building at the corner of Ferdinand and Rainier. As reported a few weeks ago, the plan is for Pagliacci to open a restaurant in the heart of Columbia City. Here are the details from Scott’s original post on the Columbia City Facebook page:

On Tuesday afternoon the Columbia City [Historic District] Review Committee met to review the alterations planned for the Hastings Building at 4901 Rainier Ave S. The north portion of the building (including the corner) will have a Pagliacci Pizza shop where Carol Cobb salon used to be. The building was damaged on August 28, 2014 by a car running into it. The biggest change seems to be that the existing canopy will be removed and new steel and glass canopies will be installed.

I wasn’t able to attend the meeting but I did just visit the Department of Neighborhoods office downtown and reviewed the plans. I was allowed to take photos of the plans that were presented. There are probably plenty more meetings yet to go on this prominent project but if you have comments – send them to Rebecca who oversees our historic district for the city. Contact info at this link:…/h…/historic-districts/columbia-city


Phase Two Interiors to Open Friday

Front elevation with signPhase Two Interiors, the new furniture consignment shop on Edmunds (just east of Starbucks and across from Empire), is set to open this Friday. Here’s the official press release:

Interior middle1


( December 2015) Columbia City’s newest consignment shop is slated to open December 4,  2015.   PHASE TWO INTERIORS  will feature fine HOME consignments from the unique to the practical.  All merchandise is gently used, consigned from individuals or estates, and includes everything from sofas, dining, living  and bedroom pieces, original artwork, home accessories and lighting.

Owner, Gigi Buchanan,  brings her 14  years of furniture consignment  experience and expertise to PHASE TWO INTERIORS, and looks forward to working with the Columbia City community and the Greater Seattle area to bring stylish home furnishings  in excellent condition at affordable prices.  She wants to further strengthen Columbia City’s reputation for high-end consignment and re-sale, and to help support and strengthen the existing shops like Green Eileen, Gather, Hunt, and  Chrysanthemum.

With construction complete, PHASE TWO INTERIORS is located at 3808 S. Edmunds Street just around the corner from Starbucks on S. Edmunds Street.  Buchanan states that the building is ideal for furniture in that it has no columns to restrict furniture layouts or displays.   The original structure of the roof is made up of historic timbers each 40 ft. long and 20″ high.  Buchanan has retained those timbers, as well as retaining the original wood floors.

Buchanan will offer high quality, brand name furniture, at affordable prices, to put into your home immediately – not furniture from garage sales, thrift and discount furniture stores,  but timeless pieces to enjoy for a lifetime.  

Please stop by or go to  for more consignment information or call the store at 206-457-8419.  



Bob’s Quality Meats to Reopen in December

There’s no official announcement on their website or Facebook page, but the sign in the window seems to suggest Columbia City will be getting Bob’s back very soon.


Columbia City Construction and Development Roundup

The Columbia City Facebook page has been blowing up lately with reports of new condos, apartments, and mixed-use spaces planned for the neighborhood.

Thanks to Scott A. (the neighbor behind a lot of these posts), Columbia City Source has a well-maintained development map that allows readers to get a birds-eye view of what’s potentially coming to our pocket of Rainier Valley. Click here to check it out.

Although a number of these designs are certainly in the “proposal” stage, it’s important for neighbors to stay in know. While there’s certainly more to explore than what’s listed below, here’s a quick roundup of some of the latest development buzz:

37th and Hudson: Located across from the Greenhouse Apartments, next to the Super Six parking lot. 4-Story. 35 Units. Microhousing with limited live/work and possible retail. No parking. hudson

Columbia City Post Office: This could be a major change to the neighborhood.  The proposal is for 240 units (that’s on the scale of the PCC/Angeline project) and would replace the current post office building with a 7-story project that spreads from the post office location all the way up to Rainier. There’s been lots of concern about the future of the post office. Here’s one reply from the city that a neighbor received.


39th and Ferdinand Church Conversion:This project has been in the works for years, stalling out a number of times. Recent permits and proposals suggest that it’s back on. The plan is to convert the existing, empty church building into apartments and condos (looks like eight units) and to demolish a portion of the structure for single family homes. Church

Alaska and MLK: 200+ units and retail planned to fill the empty lot directly adjacent to the light rail station. MLK39th and Rainier: 120+ Units between Columbia City and Hillman City. Includes retail. Currently the home of an auto lot.39th

The Rainier/MLK Bowtie: A bit of a different kind of proposal and a bit north of Columbia City, but important to be aware of. The pic below is the proposed redesign for the complicated intersection near Franklin High School and the Mount Baker Light Rail Station. Here’s the Seattle Bike Blog’s review of the plan.Bowtie

In addition, be sure to keep an eye on the LEM’s bookstore/Busy Bee area (just south of Columbia City’s main business district). The whole block is essentially for sale–some rumors are trickling up that there are deals in the works.

What’d I miss? Be sure to use the comments to chime in and let us know…

South Seattle Emerald on Columbia City Changes

angeline-4The South Seattle Emerald has a new piece highlighting the increased rate of change that’s been hitting the neighborhood. In the article, Nicole Einbinder, checks in with a number of neighbors (ranging from recent transplants to those who have been here for quite a while) on the reaction to new development and new additions to the neighborhood. To read the whole piece, click here. Here’s a highlight:

As Columbia City continues to undergo large-scale development, public reaction to new projects like the Angeline has been mixed. According to some long-term neighbors, the rapid construction projects and new shops introduced over the past few years not only signal gentrification and changing demographics, but an altered culture from what originally drew them to the south side.

“When rents go up and when people come in paying a higher rent they tend to have different priorities than cultural,” said Angeline resident Paul Nelson, who has lived in King County since 1988 and came to Columbia City around six years ago. “The neighborhood has lost a lot of its soul.”

Phase Two Interiors Opening Soon

About UsPCC. Vino Verite (now open). Super Six. Salted Sea. All the Best Petcare (coming soon). Pagliacci (coming soon).

It’s been a crazy year…and the additions to Columbia City’s business district just keep coming. Here’s an update on another:

Walking by today (and doing a little sleuthing on the web) suggests that the next new business to open its doors will be Phase Two Interiors–a furniture consignment shop just East of Rainier on Edmunds. Peeking through the windows, the remodel to the space appears to be nearly finished and there’s already a large selection of furniture ready to be displayed.

Phase Two already has a website up and running  (although limited at this point) that provides some hints as to what we can expect. No exact date on when the doors will open, but all signs point to it being very soon.