On December 15, 2015, the building housing ’57 Biscayne (historically known as the Scheuerman Building) officially passed into the hands of Good Arts LLC, a collaboration between four entities: artist Jane Richlovsky of ’57 Biscayne and the second-floor master lease holder of the building; Greg Smith of Urban Visions Real Estate; Steve Coulter, ACT Theatre Technical Director; and Cherry Good Arts LLC, headed by Cherry Street Coffee House founder Ali Ghambari. The group’s name pays homage the “Good Eats” cafeteria that occupied the building a century ago.
It seems every week brings a new story of artists or beloved small businesses being outpriced and displaced out of the popular, thriving neighborhoods they helped create. This unlikely alliance of an artist and developer is writing a different story, staking a claim in a corner of Pioneer Square to preserve and maintain commercial space for artists and arts-related businesses and to promote the cultural and economic vitality of the neighborhood.
Apparently we’re not the only ones hungry for a new story – here is some of the press coverage so far:
Plans for the immediate future of the building include a commercial gallery and adjacent workspaces in one of the currently vacant storefronts, and a pocket craft retail space to be added to the second-floor lobby early next year. In late 2016, construction will begin on Cherry Street Public House in the corner and two adjacent storefronts.
In the longer term, the new owners plan to restore the basement to its historic role as a performance space. The Skid Road Show operated there from 1972 -1982, a jazz club during the 1940s, as well as less reputable enterprises (which the owners do not intend to revive). They will retain the second floor as affordable workspaces for artists and create additional ones as space becomes available elsewhere in the building.
The Good Arts Mission Statement
Given that artists, craftspeople, and creative businesses form the core of the historical identity of Seattle and, more specifically, Pioneer Square, Good Arts LLC endeavors to maintain that identity and promote economic and creative vitality through responsible real estate development.
Our mission is to preserve and expand the presence of the creative class in Pioneer Square by responsibly renovating and operating the historic Scheuermann Building specifically to supply affordable space for creation, promotion, and exhibition of a broad range of artistic endeavors.
We believe that economic development should include the creative class as its beneficiary as well as its catalyst. To that end, we also foster connections between, and promote the interdependent prosperity of, artists and other neighborhood businesses and institutions.
above: New owners Steve Coulter, Jane Richlovsky, & Greg Smith celebrating the closing of the deal; not pictured is Ali Ghambari, who was visiting family in Tehran and thus unable to order a martini. (photo: Kara Kesler)