FOLLOWUP: C & P Coffee Company proprietors still hopeful despite property status changing to ‘pending’

(WSB file photo)

10 days after the owners of 5612 California SW – whose tenant has been C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) since 2003 – put it on the market, a purchase is pending. We checked in with C & P’s proprietors after a reader called our attention tonight to the listing‘s status having changed to “pending feasibility.” Co-proprietor Cameron Moores told us by e-mail that the “pending” offer wasn’t theirs – they also just found out about it this evening. But she says they’re not giving up hope: “Still seems within the realm of possibility … There are so many moving pieces.” And they “are still looking for investors,” which they had been doing even before launching a crowdfunding campaign last week. You can reach them at candpco@comcast.net.

36 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: C & P Coffee Company proprietors still hopeful despite property status changing to 'pending'"

  • Morgan January 18, 2018 (10:03 pm)

    Such a nice large tree out front

  • Cycleman January 19, 2018 (5:05 am)

    Not to be mean, but if they don’t meet their goal do the people that donated to the go fund me page get their money back? 

    • M January 20, 2018 (8:25 am)

      Three people have asked that question, and no response from C&P.

  • CallForClarity January 19, 2018 (5:50 am)

    I’m preemptively begging people in the comment section to not make any suggestions of historical preservation or some other technicality that would ultimately adversely affect the property owner.  The $1.25M was always the listing price and in a free market people have the right to bid the price up (if that is in fact what happened here).  The property belongs to the current owner, it is an investment, and they are entitled to as much as they can get in terms of return on their investment.  The property hit the market, it was openly bid on, and I’m just asking everyone to respect the process and the rights  of everyone involved.  I’m sorry if people lose their favorite neighborhood gathering place, but this place was never yours, nor was it C&P’s.  If it was important to own the property, then I question why provisions were never made to buy the property during C&P’s 15 years of being a tenant.  None of this is meant to be directed at the owners, by all accounts it sounds like the owners tried to work within the process.  My comments are directed at the over 100+ comments that have been made on previous articles. 

    Remember, this is not just about you and C&P, this is also about the current owner, their rights, and the fact that our country is founded on the premise of a free market.  If you don’t like current laws, then the appropriate thing to do is to work with your elected officials to change the laws, but remember it would be for the future.  Whatever comes of this should come from current laws and fairness.

    • Jethro Marx January 19, 2018 (9:29 am)

      You’ve got logic issues with your pre-emptiveness; the current laws include ways to preserve historically significant places, and codify how such significance is to be determined.

       Someone is going to be bummed out; you’re just expressing a wish that it be the patrons and proprietors rather than the property owners.

       I don’t know what will happen, but your attempts to stifle opinions contrary to yours are wack.

       So let me just suggest that the building be preserved as a place of historical and contemporary cultural significance.

       #coffeetastesbetterinanoldcabin

    • ProudPapa January 19, 2018 (9:29 am)

      YEsssssss! Thank you CallForClarity!
      I agree with you 100%. Takes me back to the comments when our neighborhood land owner wanted to develop his lot which happened to have a large tree on it. People were up in arms about him developing land that he has every right to develop. People need to focus on their own lives and stop butting into others.
      Happy Friday everyone!

    • sgs January 19, 2018 (10:15 am)

      Call for Clarity, I respect our laws and rights.  I also have feelings about the possible loss of one of my favorite hangouts.    Property owners often consider community impact when selling their property (Ercolini  and recent Schmitz Park come to mind), so brainstorming possible ways to save a community gem is logical and sound.

    • Raised in WS January 19, 2018 (10:24 am)

      You don’t have to beat around the bush, just call it what it is – putting profit ahead of community. Nothing new there. Your rights, sure, but we create the world in which we live in.

      • KM January 19, 2018 (10:36 am)

        Am I missing something here? Isn’t C&P a privately run/held business, not a non-profit?            

    • seaopgal January 19, 2018 (10:26 am)

      Your desire to preserve the owner’s investment does not trump the public’s right to preserve a historic property for public benefit through the city’s well established and legal nomination and review process.

    • S January 19, 2018 (11:10 am)

      @callforclarity, your last sentence is: “Whatever comes of this should come from current laws and fairness”

      Below is the current law about historic preservation. Are you ok with a historic preservation strategy to save C&P now?

      https://library.municode.com/wa/seattle/codes/municipal_code?nodeId=TIT25ENPRHIPR_CH25.12LAPR

  • Coffee & Pastry lover January 19, 2018 (6:58 am)

    Would hate to see the business disappear. I reached out to C&P last week to ask about being a possible investor and didn’t hear back from anyone so I am surprised to read in this article that they are still looking for investors. Let’s hope the business can stick around since it is such a great community asset.

  • Joan January 19, 2018 (8:42 am)

     Well put ‘Call For Clarity’.   Thank you.

  • I. Ponder January 19, 2018 (9:41 am)

    I’ve known numerous business owners who had opportunities to buy the buildings that house their businesses back when real estate was affordable. Bad business decisions in hindsight. In 2000 that building was assessed at $209,000. I love the C&P space as a cultural venue. I’d love to see historic photos of California Ave. around C&P prior to all the hideous apartment buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s. I assume there were other classic bungalows there. So much for preservation. Look at the neighboring apartment buildings. I’m not hopeful that C&P can be saved. 

    • WSB January 19, 2018 (10:04 am)

      And we’ve also heard multiple stories of business owners who WANTED to buy the buildings where they were tenants but never had the chance to. But entrepreneurship and real-estate ownership don’t dovetail that often for small independent businesses. Travel the county Parcel Viewer to look at who owns the dozens of locations where they are located, and you won’t find many that have the same business and building ownership.

      P.S. There has been a bit of preservation here and there, I should note. The brick building that houses Mioposto in Admiral – former home to Admiralty House Antiques – was purchased by a prolific local developer. At one point there was a proposal for demolishing it and putting a four-story building on the site. Instead the brick building fronting California was saved and renovated, and live-work units were built behind it.

  • SaraB January 19, 2018 (10:07 am)

    C&P is a neighborhood treasure.  I would love to see the building preserved.  I appreciate Calltoclarity’s respectful tone, but it appears you fundamentally object to people’s distress at the demise of our community gathering space.  Questioning the impact of laws we don’t like is the ultimate sign of healthy social discourse. 

    Property rights as we know them provide certainty and security for owners, but never forget these rights are a human construct, not some “natural law” immune from challenge when it leads to a result that undermines our core community values.   I know things got very heated over that big tree that got cut down on someone’s lot, and you may disagree with some of the opinions expressed, or the logic justifying those opinions.  People are often emotional about their values, not rational, and in our community, we value preserving community treasures.  Maybe people don’t frame their feelings into a rational argument when they are mourning the loss of something they love. 

    I say, Question Authority!  Remember Margaret Mead’s famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  West Seattle lives that value.  I love that we do question and challenge rules that serve to diminish us, even if it sometimes annoys me when I see other people questioning things I don’t personally have  problem with.  

  • Thistlemist January 19, 2018 (10:21 am)

    Jethro has a good point; the law allows for a set historical preservation process and any “free market” participant  who owns a older historical building should reasonably be aware of this. There is no “free market” that works outside the host of laws that restrict all kinds of actions a property owner can take at their site. If a owner of an older building disagrees with the historical preservation process, lobby to change it, but don’t complain when individuals exercise their right to begin an application.   

    At this point, all I can say is that I am beginning to realize just how amenable my Dad and his siblings were when they decided to sell a small retail site that had been in the family since my Great Grandfather ran his local grocery store there.  This was in the California Bay Area, so yes, it was a total investment site but it had a great long term tenant with a well liked business. My Dad and his siblings gave them almost nine months notice that they were getting ready to sell and paid for a appraisal from a company the tenant choose. This gave the business time to secure financing.  I don’t know the owners situation in this case,  but honestly, short of a immediate financial emergency, I feel like there is a moral obligation (not legal, I know) to at the very least give your long term tenant who still has a two year lease the heads up your getting out of the landlord business and offer an opportunity to purchase before selling the building out from under them.  

  • jissy January 19, 2018 (11:08 am)

    Thistlemist:  While I see your point, unless there was a “first right of refusal” clause to purchase  in their lease, the property owner is under no obligation like that to their tenant.  To honor their lease is paramount and I’m sure that is written into the listing information but I have to agree with a commentor higher up — there was probably a chance or two before now to the proprietors to approach the property owner and see about purchasing.   But we’re all sort of just speculating now aren’t we?

  • BeckyjOE January 19, 2018 (11:11 am)

    May I ask what will happen to the $45,510.00 that is as of date in the GOFUNDME account if the “pending” goes thru and whoever it is gets the property, will CP give all the money back to the people who donated it or???

  • Jim January 19, 2018 (11:26 am)

    Absolutely agree.

    My retirement depends upon my ability to see a return on my investment in my house. If someone in the neighborhood decides that they have an emotional attachment to my house I will be happy to sign it over if they agree to fully-fund my and my wife’s living and medical expenses for the duration of our retirement.  That would probably be a better deal for me.

  • I'd Eat That January 19, 2018 (11:44 am)

    I have so many questions about the GoFundMe. 

    -There is no clarity on what people get for their financial contribution. The owners say they are looking for “investors”, but they also say they may have been able to figure it out on their own given more time. So is this a short term loan that they intend to pay back after purchasing? Or a pure donation?

    -Usually with fundraisers if the goal is not met, everyone gets their money back. But to make an offer on a property the money will have to be withdrawn into a C&P bank account ready for escrow. How will the money be returned if the offer isn’t successful?

  • CALLFORCLARITY January 19, 2018 (12:17 pm)

    First, I do have empathy to those who feel like they are losing something important to them, and truly hope that C&P gives it a go in a new location and that everyone continues to support them, wherever that might be.  Second, for everyone jumping on me about current historical preservation laws, put your money where your mouth is, what applications do you have in the works right now to “preserve historically significant places”?  I’m not talking about the kneejerk reaction to sabotage a real estate deal that is currently in the works because you feel “#coffeetastesbetterinanoldcabin”, but where you are actively trying to preserve properties before they even get put into the position of being up for sale.  I don’t have a problem with historical preservation, what I have a problem with is the timing and motivation of it.  If people wanted to protect the property, or the owner wanted to purchase it, the time to plan for it was before it ever got to this point.  Throwing up roadblocks, slowing down the process, and ultimately costing people money because you don’t like that you would have to buy your coffee from C&P in a newer location is absurd.  This entire conversation smacks of our societies short attention span, lack of follow-through, and feeling that they are entitled to something. If anyone is truly motivated by this situation then use it as motivation to get involved so things like this don’t happen in the future and create real sustained change.  While contributing $20 to someone’s GoFundMe page might make someone feel empowered in the moment, it hardly addresses the real world complexities involved when people don’t take responsibility and properly plan for future events.  Leases end, properties get sold; this is all pretty standard stuff.  If nothing else, hopefully this turn of events teaches someone here about the importance of planning, and that one of the smartest investments anyone can make is to have an emergency fund and a plan for retirement.  Living in the moment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan for the future, and while bad things happen, a little bit of preparedness can serve everyone well in life.  With that, let me leave you with a quote…

    “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth, but you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” Rocky Balboa

    • Jethro Marx January 19, 2018 (1:08 pm)

      Ahh, clarity: it’s a moving target for you, I suppose. Some people may be “jumping on you” because they’re sad to lose their coffee shop of choice; I’m jumping on your sadly inadequate logic and veiled motives. As long as we’re speculating, I guess you probably have some skin in this game, probably as a real estate type, as your phrasing smacks of someone who has a tenuous deal in the works and pleading one’s case in the seedy world of the comments section is not the action of a multi-million dollar investor.

       Oh, and I’m an instigator, like Woody Woodpecker, so I feel free to throw some rain on your illogicism parade and can run my mouth sans money.

       If you wanted to avoid a possible historic preservation wrench in your work, maybe you should have taken your own patronising advice to “plan better” and the deal could have been made in the dark before any of us plebeians could complain about it. Now that you’re here, why don’t you just come out and tell us your connection to West Seattle, if there is one, and the nature of your interest in this property?

       Your quote was too long; didn’t read the middle part, but you ought to think twice about quoting a mythical little guy going up against the powers of the status quo; have you watched the movie?

       “Quelling dissent by speaking nonsense is another form of cowardice.”

       -some random dude from West Seattle

       .

      • CALLFORCLARITY January 19, 2018 (3:09 pm)

        Jethro, I’ll just respond to you directly:

        -“inadequate logic” – sure buddy

        -“veiled motives” – this is a joke, I do not, nor do I have any interest investing in Real Estate.  I have nothing against C&P, I have been their once or twice so I honestly don’t really care.

        -“instigator” – so you are a troll

        -“patronising” – not my intent, but I could see how someone could see it that way

        -“connection to West Seattle” – lived in West Seattle for 7 years

        -“interest in this property” – none, don’t care

        -“have you watched the movie?” – yup, and I take the quote to mean that you shouldn’t point the finger at other people (landlords, real estate developers, etc) for why things aren’t going your way.  In my opinion, if they don’t get the property, C&P should use this as fuel to create the same feeling of community in a new location, and the community to support them there.  If they don’t have the funds to buy the property, that is no one’s fault, it just is.  Life is not going to just give you something, you have to work for it.   Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up if you get knocked down…

        -“cowardice” – sure buddy

        So what was my true intent.  Well after 112 comments on the original story and 50 on the second their seemed to be a clear bias towards C&P, and little consideration given to the fact that there are two sides to the story and I am truly at a lose here as how either C&P or the community is the victim.  The reality is that no one here has been victimized.  The rightful owner decided to sell the property, the long term renter was notified and given a chance to place a bid on said property and it doesn’t look like it will work out.  This story has way to much emotion attached to it.  Look, I get it, people are emotionally invested, but it is still just a place.  People need to try to mitigate their emotions and recognize that it was a great run, and that no one here is at fault or a victim.  Rather then lashing out in anger (trying an end-around for historical preservation), I’m calling for a little clarity.  Again, the only thing I care about is equity in the discussion, as I feel like our society is getting too polarized and I long for the days of a strong center. 

        • Jethro Marx January 19, 2018 (5:38 pm)

          In the interest of clarity, I’ll be brief.

           It’s legal to buy a property and do whatever suits you, given the zoning.

           It’s also legal to have a property deemed historical and subject it to the preservation it is thus restricted to.

           It’s legal to say all kinds of stuff online or otherwise.

           Suggesting your fellow West Seattlites are entitled to some of these and not others is wack: straight illogical, one might say.

           I retract my speculations. As to whether I am a troll, well, I suppose the mob ought to take a vote. I been around a while though. I gotta go work on some differential equations; hungry work, for a troll.

    • S January 19, 2018 (1:16 pm)

      I personally don’t really care if C&P stays or not. I’ve never been there. I was just pointing out that your argument was logically flawed. Your argument continues to be logically flawed.

      With that said, even if historical preservation is successful, it doesn’t mean it will save C&P. The owners may be so PO’d about losing so much value in their property that they may decide to not renew C&P’s lease and just lease out to a different business. Or at least jack up C&P’s rent.

  • under_achiever January 19, 2018 (1:51 pm)

    “Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.”   Étienne-Gabriel Morelly, 1755

  • J January 19, 2018 (1:54 pm)

    The entitlement of the most vocal coffee shop supporters is frustrating (though not surprising). 

  • Star1969 January 19, 2018 (2:35 pm)

    WS is (was) loaded with tons of historical homes, does anyone have a count on how many have been saved from the bulldozer or has the ever so often multi-family investor drawn the longest straw? 

  • McFail January 19, 2018 (3:10 pm)

     Sad to say, but from my quick review it doesn’t seem to fit the designation preservation criteria….maybe the crowd-sourcing can pay for harvesting the building to another location… 

  • WS Guy January 19, 2018 (4:20 pm)

    All of this heartache could be easily solved.  Preservationists can buy the property at market-rate, and preserve it.  Everyone’s happy.

    My only moral imposition on the current owner would be to ask that they allow preservationists a fair chance to meet their best offer.

  • Jeannie January 19, 2018 (10:21 pm)

    Ooh, I hope the new owners tear it down and build “live/work” townhomes with one entire parking space. And I hope the new owners charge at least $980,000 for a studio. So excited!

    /s

  • gatewood January 20, 2018 (7:31 am)

    There’s nothing complicated here. It’s private property. The owner has the right to do whatever she/he pleases. No amount of entitled indignation will change that fact. Buy the property if you want control.

  • West Seattle pride January 20, 2018 (1:41 pm)

    This is so sad. Will all the great old spots which bring the character which most of us moved her for disappear? I have no issue with new development but we don’t need any more! Too much! Once again capitalism crushes the soul. The beloved overwhelmed by the power of money. Sick about it. Positive thoughts to Pete and Cameron – we love you and are hopeful for a happy ending!

  • Optimistic January 20, 2018 (7:05 pm)

    This property likely got multiple offers and final sales price will be over list price. Congratulations to the family who owned this for years and now are likely elderly and why shouldn’t they cash out now for the highest price. The owners had offered to C & P coffee several times in the recent past to purchase the property and C & P declined. The bldg/home does not meet the criteria for historic preservation – that’s a fact.  Let’s move this conversation to relocating the bldg to a nearby location so C & P can continue on and use the gofundme funds for this, no refunds to donors.   Glad they’ll have several years to find a new location and I’ll bet the new owners will “give” them the house for free.  Let’s be optimistic about this. 

  • Alex January 21, 2018 (9:37 am)

    Development is such an interesting topic. Seattleites love to approve of up-zoning when they have housing affordability on their mind (multiple new dwellings added to this propoerty will help our supply/demand equation).

    But they also love to be anti-developer when their is a nice dramatic story being told. Well, you can’t have it both ways. California Avenue is either an arterial in a business district zoned for big buildings where lots of people live, or it’s a place for cute old buildings from an era where we didn’t need density.

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