More than 150 local and national artists — led by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses, Macklemore and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam — signed an open letter in the Seattle Times on Friday (Aug. 10) urging residents to take action to save The Showbox.
The historic venue’s status is under threat after Vancouver-based developer, Onni Group, filed preliminary plans last month to tear down the venue and build a $100 million, 44-story luxury residential tower. For nearly 80 years, The Showbox has been home to some of Seattle’s biggest culture moments — hosting acts from Ellen DeGeneres, Eminem and Coldplay to Prince, Duke Ellington and many more.
“We have created a coalition to save The Showbox not just because we have great memories of playing and seeing shows there, but because we want it to be available for future generations of performers and music fans to create their own,” said Gibbard in a statement.
The group of artists is working with Historic Seattle to advance several policy solutions that can help protect The Showbox. In addition to designating the venue as a historic landmark, the letter asks people to take action by contacting Seattle’s City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan.
On Wednesday, the Seattle City Council committee advanced legislation that would expand the Pike Place Market Historic District — which regulates how buildings in the district are physically modified and being used — on a temporary basis to protect the Showbox.
The Seattle City Council is expected to vote on the legislation on Monday.
“Seattle has a long lineage of music and the arts. As our city continues to grow in density, it’s imperative that we protect the spaces that give Seattle its cultural identity. If we value our musical heritage and want to leave the next generation with a piece of authentic Seattle, this is our fight,” added Macklemore.