Our West Seattle community and the California Ave/Charlestown intersection
Hello West Seattle friend and neighbor -
I hope this note finds you well. Some of you may be aware that changes are afoot at the site of the Charlestown Café at the intersection of California Ave and Charlestown. Last year, the owners of the Café notified the community that the restaurant had lost its lease. There was an immediate reaction from the community, with over 3,000 people signing a petition at the Café to protest its pending closure.
I, along with thousands of other West Seattlites, lament the pending closure of this community institution. When hundreds (thousands?) of people in our community lost our power during the crazy windstorms in December, we headed to places like the Charlestown for comfort, warmth and a hot cup of coffee. One cannot understate the importance of "community places" like the Charlestown in our community. And for many regulars, the restaurant represents a part of their extended family in ways no other place can.
All this said, this decision has been made by the land owner and, however unfortunate, is something the owner is within his or her right to do. The owners of the Charlestown Café have obviously been in contact with the owner (their landlord), and have been fighting a good fight. I will be in contact with Larry Mellum and Ron Hanlon, the owners of the Charlestown Café, to see what more can be done. More on this later...
This email is to let you know what WE, AS A COMMUNITY, CAN DO. At a City of Seattle Design Review meeting on January 25th, the community found out what the property owner wants to do with the land...
They want to demo the Charlestown Cafe, lease the property to Petco,, and have them build a 10,000 sq. ft. concrete box store with a big parking lot.
To be clear, I don't have anything against Petco, specifically. So I'm not out to make this a campaign against Petco. This could be just about any large "big box" retailer. Regardless of who they are, this type of retail isn't the best thing for our community, and definitely isn't the best use of the Charlestown Cafe site. What makes West Seattle great is the wonderful collection of small retailers who bring their own character and sense of community to our neighborhood.
So, in an effort to keep this email from becoming way, way too long, if you're interested in learning more about this, click on the link below and join the Yahoo Group I've created for this issue. There are opportunities to influence the development process in ways that can be much more favorable for our community.
Believe me when I say that this issue is a big one. With every old building that comes down and with every new building that goes up, there is an opportunity to make our wonderful community of West Seattle a better place. This project will squander that opportunity.Thank you,Mark