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Developer wants to nominate Showbox for landmark status

There has been public outcry to save the building by designating it as a Seattle Landmark after news a developer is planning to build an apartment high-rise in its space.(Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE— The fight to save Showbox in downtown Seattle is getting bigger.

There has been public outcry to save the building by designating it as a Seattle Landmark after news a developer is planning to build an apartment high-rise in its space.

Now the developer said it wants to nominate the building as landmark status.

A movement to save the 79-year-old Showbox from the wrecking ball quickly gained momentum this week - leading the outcry are workers like Nicholas Fillhart who’s worked security there for nearly a decade.

Artists and anyone who holds the show box close to their heart are pushing to save the Showbox and get the music hall designated as a landmark.

"I honestly don't think I would have stayed in Seattle without the Showbox,” said Fillhart. "I received 50 or 60 emails last night from people all over the world that spoke to how special this place was."

Organizers are asking people who have any historic pictures, ticket stubs or stories about the Showbox to email them at saveshowbox@gmail.com

Onni Group—the Vancouver-based developer who filed plans to demolish the building and erect a 44-story high-rise apartment now said it plans to nominate the music hall for landmark status.

It’s a move local artists and Showbox activists like “Ethos” question.

"The reality of a historic site is a plaque in the front and the building remains intact to a certain extent but they could completely change the use of the building, the inside— all of that would forever be different."

Activists believe the developer's move means only part of the building would be preserved while the rest of it would be torn down.

“It's really about the community and the local government rallying together to show that their money can be better spent elsewhere,” said Ethos.

The developer said in a statement it will work with the Department of Neighborhoods to nominate the structure as a Seattle landmark.

They added, “The company looks forward to working with all stakeholders including the city and landmark preservation board to determine the landmark status of the building. During this process the Showbox theatre will continue to operate under the management of AEG, which is the current tenant and operator of the Showbox theatre.”

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