Historic Seattle finalizes deal for Good Arts Building

June 15, 2022

The historic 132-year-old Good Arts Building, at 110 Cherry St., has a secure future as a hub for the arts, culture, and creative enterprises in the heart of Pioneer Square.

Last week, Historic Seattle finalized a deal to become managing partners in the building following the purchase of developer Greg Smith’s stake in the property.

Historic Seattle paid $511,000 for the managing stake. The community-based preservation organization’s involvement will ensure the long-term preservation of the 28,600-square-foot building as a space for arts and culture in perpetuity.

The organization will assume building management responsibilities as part of the partnership agreement with Good Arts LLC. Good Arts LLC, a collaboration of developer Greg Smith (CEO of Urban Visions), artist Jane Richlovsky, theater veteran Steve Coulter, and Cherry Street Coffee founder Ali Ghambari, purchased the building in 2015 for a little over $4.5 million. Their mission was to preserve its artistic heritage and affordability to creative enterprises. Richlovsky and Coulter will continue to drive the building’s arts programming in the new partnership arrangement. To ensure this home for the arts will endure as a legacy, they also plan to bequeath their ownership interest to Historic Seattle at some point in the future.

Good Arts is currently home to 27 artist studios, Bad Bishop Bar, Saké Nomi, Beneath the Streets Tours, Lolo’s Hair, Cherry Street Coffee House, and Open Books Poem Emporium. Historically known as the Scheuerman Block, the Good Arts Building was designed by Elmer Fisher in 1889 for Christian Scheuerman and completed in 1890. Throughout the years, it has been a hub of entrepreneurial, creative, and colorful endeavors. Previous tenants include department stores, a cigar shop, jazz club, boxing gym, brothels, speakeasies, the original office of Washington Mutual Savings Bank and “Good Eats,” a two-story diner which provided inspiration for the building’s current name.

In 2011 the space took on its current role as a hub for the arts, when a dozen artists, evicted from the nearby 619 Western Building, established ’57 Biscayne studios on the second floor.

“Since acquiring the building in 2015, Good Arts LLC has done an incredible job of providing affordable space for artists in Seattle’s most historic and artistic neighborhood, Pioneer Square,” said Kji Kelly, executive director at Historic Seattle in a press release. “While landmarking and historic districts save places, mission-based ownership is what protects purpose. Our organization is dedicated to saving meaningful places that foster lively communities, so this partnership with Good Arts LLC is in perfect alignment with our mission,” Kelly continued.

“Arts and culture are central to the historic fabric of Seattle and what makes Pioneer Square and our broader community unique and vibrant to this day,” Smith said in the release. “Preserving this building and the artistic endeavors within was a personal passion of mine, and I am thrilled to see Historic Seattle taking this step to ensure the building’s long-term uses will remain focused on fostering arts, culture and creativity.”