Elliott Bay Books looking to move?
Elliott Bay Bookstore is considering moving from its iconic 38-year home in the city's historic Pioneer Square to a new storefront, the store's manager confirmed Saturday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Elliott Bay Book Co. is considering moving from its iconic 36-year home in the city's historic Pioneer Square, the store manager confirmed Saturday.
Tracy Taylor said a move "is a possibility. We're looking into it." She declined to elaborate and referred other questions to the bookstore owner, Peter Aaron.
Aaron, who Taylor said was out of town, did not immediately return an e-mail or respond to a phone message left Saturday evening.
The brick-facade store has been a longtime tourist draw and retail anchor of the city's original business district, and its move would be a blow to the area. Pioneer Square has gained — and fought — its gritty reputation, and the city has encouraged retailers to open storefronts alongside the square's bars and clubs.
"We have been trying to encourage diversity down there," said Richard Conlin, president of the Seattle City Council, who said he has heard only "rumors" about a move by the bookstore. "This could have a very serious impact. If it's true, it's disappointing."
Taylor would not comment on a report in a blog operated by the tabloid The Stranger that said the bookstore would reopen in a building between Pine and Pike streets on Capitol Hill.
Elliott Bay Book Co. opened in 1973 in a small storefront in the Globe Building. Over the years, it has expanded to take up much of the street level of the building on the corner of First Avenue and Main Street.
According to its Web site, Elliott Bay now carries more than 150,000 titles "set on cedar shelves in a series of inviting, exposed-brick walled rooms."
The bookstore has also hosted up to 500 readings a year by authors, both famous and not so. Last year, The Associated Press listed Elliott Bay among nine so-called "destination" bookstores in America, which also included Powell's City of Books in Portland.
The bookstore has a long, symbiotic relationship with a cafe and coffee shop that opened in its basement in 1979. An employee at the Elliott Bay Café, who identified himself only as John, said Saturday he had heard nothing about the possible move.
He referred further questions to the owner of the cafe, Tamara Murphy, who did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or email@example.com
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