Belltown's McLeod Residence to shut down
McLeod Residence, a Belltown gallery and bar, must shut down by Oct. 31, say the owners.
Seattle Times art critic
McLeod Residence, a popular Belltown gallery and bar, will close its doors Oct. 31, unable to comply with city fire codes. Gallery owners say they are searching for a new location.
"We had a temporary certificate of occupancy, but they need some proof of work on the building," said co-owner Lele McLeod. "The building is not up to code for the kind of business that we have — something about the space between our business and other businesses. We don't have the [required] three hours of fire protection in between."
Bryan Stevens at the city's Department of Planning and Development said the problem arose because the use of the space was changed from residential to a bar and gallery, creating a greater fire hazard.
It's a problem the owners of McLeod Residence didn't anticipate when they signed a five-year lease on the upstairs space two years ago.
"We didn't know that much about owning a business and didn't look into it before we signed our lease," McLeod said. "Somebody with experience would have had an architect look at the place."
She and partners Buster McLeod and Kindra Meyer have since looked into ways to bring the place up to code but couldn't find a workable solution. "It's 100 years old and every part about it is old," she said.
"We let them occupy for three months with a temporary certificate of occupancy while they worked out the larger issues," Stevens at DPD said, adding, "Their building permit has expired."
McLeod Residence opened at 2209 Second Ave. in January 2007 as a gallery and private club for members, who paid $75 annually to belong. More recently, they got a liquor license and opened the bar to the public.
In an e-mail to members, Buster McLeod said that if members want refunds while the business is shut down, they will do their best to comply.
Meanwhile, McLeod Residence is scrambling to let artists and members know what's happening after receiving the Fire Department notice Friday, just before the opening celebration of a new show. "It's disappointing to have it cut short," McLeod said.
"The space has so much to do with the overall project. I hope we can find something with the same quirkiness and character."
Sheila Farr: firstname.lastname@example.org
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