More Delays for Brix Tenants


It's going to be more than a month before Espresso Vivace Roasteria, which closed last week in its beloved Denny Way location, will be reopening in its new digs on the first floor of Brix condominiums.

The hope was that the move would be a little more seamless. Vivace, this week, had to vacate the Broadway block that’s slated for demolition to make way for Sound Transit. Its new space at Brix, under construction a few blocks north, was supposed to be completed last month.

But Brix construction has been delayed. WG Clark Construction Co. was fired as general contractor earlier this month and replaced by Andersen Construction and Charter Construction. Developer Schnitzer West wouldn’t specify why, just that it had selected the other firms to put the "finishing touches on the project." "Due to [WG Clarks'] significant amount of work going on throughout the region, we mutually agreed that it was best for the project," says Schnitzer's Mike Nelson in an email.

The developer says the first-floor space will be ready for the retail tenants in September, but that possibility doesn't sound too promising. Charter Construction general superintendent Bruce Roundy describes the space like this: "It's still being framed and the sheetrock is halfway done." Residents won't take occupancy of the upper floors until October and November.

Vivace owner David Shomer is putting on a brave face. "Stuff happens," he says. "Construction is always delayed. It's going to be a beautiful spot."

Dilettante Chocolates, which vacated its former Broadway locale for Brix in June, is also feeling the pinch from the delay. A manager at the company's Eastlake location says everyone from the Capitol Hill store, except for the bakers, "are on hold for now," and adds that "as of right now we have no official reopening date."

To get employees through the downtime, Shomer says managers have given up shifts and that Vivace is doubling service at its Broadway coffee bar as well as it its South Lake Union location. He says they're also encouraging employees to take two weeks' vacation.

Shomer, who was retrieving the final items from the Denny Way store yesterday, was coping despite having a "deep psychological aversion to moving." "The world changes," he says. "If you can't change with it, you're going to be left behind. It's not particularly easy. I'm going through the emotions of getting out of here, but I’m excited about Brix. The new store will be great."

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