Wanted: 6,000 square feet of retail space in or near downtown Seattle where people can share a cup of coffee and their sobriety.
It doesn't sound like a tall order, but Seattle's Recovery Cafe is having trouble finding a new spot. So on Nov. 15, the nonprofit cafe, which hosts meetings and open hours for the homeless, addicted and mentally ill, is making a temporary move from its current site at Second Ave. and Bell St. to the old FareStart Cafe space in the Josephinum Building, which is owned by the Archdiocesan Housing Authority at Second and Stewart St.
The two-story building that currently houses the cafe, along with the Noel House women's shelter and Rose of Lima apartments, is also owned by AHA, which plans to demolish it in mid-November to make way for a new, six-story building. The redevelopment will put Noel House's 40 residents upstairs (they're in the basement now) and expand Rose of Lima's transitional-housing units from 13 to 50. In the interim, the women will also stay at the Josephinum.
"We're going to move out just in time," says Killian Noe, who founded the support center in 2004. Noe says she and another staff member have been searching for months for a new space, calling on hundreds of for-lease properties and walking through at least 50. But something always works against them: The space costs too much, or there's some kind of neighborhood resistance, or "we get in and discover it wouldn't meet our needs," she says.
One problem is that the cafe wants to stay downtown, where it provides a small oasis of serenity in the buzz of the city. Another has been the hard deadline. The cafe has known for some time it needed to move, but "these things don't always happen on our timing," Noe says.
"We've turned over every stone, but we're just not there yet," she says. But, "we believe we will find it."