The changing face of the Metropole Building
May 25, 2010  |  Business, Complaining, PI

Back in March I had the opportunity to walk with the Mayor on his Pioneer Square walking tour. It just so happened that I was scheduled to walk with him on the stretch of street where I live and pointed out a few concerns that residents and businesses had. One of the problems that he paid specific attention to was the boarded up Metropole building. If you’re interested in reading a history of the building, check out this article.

Here’s what the building originally looked like:

Here’s what the building looked like before the fire:

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in to the neighborhood:

Here’s what it looked like when they tried to add some donated art:

Mayor McGinn in front of the Metropole building:

And here’s what it looks like this week:

I talked to the managers of the building who said that working with the ad agency to add the posters was a decision that they made not only to recoup some costs from the building sitting empty for the past 3 years, but more because they wanted to support their local sports team. The Sounders FC posters were planned to remain up for two weeks as part of a marketing campaign the Sounders are running, after which the owners were thinking about replacing them with SAM posters throughout the rest of the summer.

According to the Sounders Marketing Team, they weren’t aware of the rules in Pioneer Square regarding an approval process for signage through the historic preservation board and are now working with the owners and the ad agency to remove the posters until they can go through the proper channels.

After the Sounders posters come down, however, I discussed with the property manager the potential of painting the wood so that it looks like the businesses you want to open there once it’s renovated. This was done successfully in Columbia City as part of their revitalization and has the potential to do the same in Pioneer Square. The building, which has been undergoing insurance litigation for a little over three years now, may not find any resolution until around December of this year.

The owners of the building want to stress, however, that they want the Metropole building to be a successful part of the neighborhood and are happy to work with artists or groups who are willing to get involved in activating their “storefront.”

So – if you had a choice, which one would you prefer?

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