It’s a rumor as old as time…
“__________(fill in the blank with name of local gay venue) is for sale”
And, certainly, we’ve heard “Neighbours is for sale!” more than once over the years.
But, apparently, the owners of Neighbours Nightclub & Lounge have made it official. The Daily Journal of Commerce posted a story today with a link to NAI Puget Sound Properties real estate website listing the 35+ year old business and building as being for sale for $6.9 million dollars. The building at 1509 Broadway was built in 1911 and sits on 7,604 square feet of land.
The listing notes the possibilities for the site including continued use of the existing building as a nightclub venue but the high purchase price would indicate a more likely possibility of a tear down and construction of a new taller building and a far greater return on investment. The current building is one story with a mezzanine and fully built out basement. Ongoing changes to zoning in the Capitol Hill area and specifically in the commercial zones alongside Broadway would allow construction of buildings up to 7 stories high.
Capitol Hill Seattle notes that the venue, Neighbours has long been owned by Moustafa “Moe” Elassiouti who is “also head of the trust that owns the property”. The business has a lease that lasts through December of 2033 but most leases are broken by the sale of the building they occupy. The Elassiouti family are actually Canadian residents but members of the family have been part of the Neighbours management team over the years.
Currently, Neighbours is managed by Alexander Kane; we’ve reached out to him for any kind of comment on this news.
We’ve also reached out to some local real estate agents to get their take on this news. One local agent who specializes in residential real estate as opposed to commercial transactions such as this did admit he thought the asking price was on the high side but agreed that this property is very valuable: “Prime location is prime location”.
It should be noted that the lot size isn’t particularly large, but new buildings have been built on smaller pieces of land. As for the Neighbours lot being combined with the purchase of adjacent lots, that’s potentially a possibility. The property to the south of Neighbours, on the corner of Broadway and Pike, is the old Broadway State Bank building now home to a Starbucks. That building was purchased by Redside Partners for $1.45 million in 2012. Note the jump in value from 2012 to 2019…the Neighbours lot is larger but obviously land value in that area has also increased considerably in the last 6 years.
The land to the north of the Neighbours site is to be redeveloped by Capitol Hill Housing as The Eldridge, a 7 story affordable housing/retail development. Capitol Hill Housing acquired the property in a swap with Seattle Central College last year, trading a plot CHH controlled at the Light Rail Station development site for the Eldridge property. The swap will enable Seattle Central to expand to property immediately adjacent their campus.
Regardless of what happens next, the future of Neighbours as a functioning nightclub is up in the air. There are a number of possibilities for its future…the property may not sell quickly or if it does, new owners might let the nightclub continue as is for the time being. There’s always a slim chance that someone could buy the site and the business to continue as a nightclub in one form or the other.
More as the story develops.
Note: Neighbours Nightclub is an advertiser on Seattle Gay Scene.
ADDED: It should also be noted that even if Neighbours were to be sold very quickly to a developer, it could remain open for quite some time. Design and permitting don’t happen over night.