A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


School of Rock unable to move into Crown Hill building, looking again for space in Greenwood-Phinney

July 26th, 2011 · Comments

The School of Rock had been looking to move from Lake City to Greenwood or Phinney Ridge earlier this year, when it finally leased a building on NW 85th Street in Crown Hill. But, after four months of working with the Department of Planning and Development, it turns out that the building isn’t zoned for a school or institution, so School of Rock is now looking again for a new space, in either Ballard or Greenwood-Phinney.

From General Manager Kristoffer Kierulff’s email to our sister site My Ballard:

We signed the lease for the space on 85th and 11th around April. For the past 4 months we have been working the DPD to obtain the appropriate permits to do our construction on the space. It’s been a tedious process to say the least, but ultimately we have discovered that the zoning of the building (Residential/Commercial) does not allow for a “School/Institution” to be in that particular building without a much longer review and permitting process. A process which we have found to be too costly and risky. We are committed to finding a new home in the Greenwood/Phinney/Ballard neighborhoods, and will continue to search for an ideal locale. If any of your readers know of any good homes for us, we’re all ears!

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  1. Kate says:

    What about the Greenwood Academy of Hair space? Since that was already a school?

  2. cw says:

    This is a shame. I’ve heard great things about the School of Rock programs, and our neighborhood would be lucky to have their organization here. @Kate, the old Academy space was the first to come to my mind too, but I wonder if they would prefer something “unattached” to other apartments/businesses, due to sound.

  3. acc10x says:

    Kate: agreed. Fantastic corner spot.

  4. berner says:

    I believe School of Rock rejected Greenwood Academy of Hair a long time ago, but can’t remember why (I thought maybe it was too small??) Now the PAWS spot next to the Academy is also available, as is that inane hotdog joint kitty corner beneath Upper Crust Catering. Perhaps they could make it work to occupy all 3? And it would be a perfect location b/c of it’s proximity to 826.

  5. Agill says:

    No Parking at Greenwood Academy, they draw from all over Puget Sound

  6. berner says:

    There’s plenty of parking in the enormous, unsightly Fred Meyer concrete expanse. A contract might be necessary, but it could work.

  7. Greenridge says:

    There’s also plenty of parking in the lot behind the Green Bean, as well as the lots behind the store fronts on the east side of Greenwood Ave. Not sure what the story is with all of them in terms of private/public/paid/free, but there certainly isn’t a lack of physical parking spaces near 85th and Greenwood.

    That said, I think noise would be a problem in the Hair Academy space. The old nightclub at 85th and 3rd would be perfect, but I think Alcoholics Anonymous is moving into that space?

  8. pr says:

    The parking lot behind greenwood academy is private and expensive. $5 minimum.

  9. jamie says:

    Such a bummer! My kid was really excited to start going since it was going to be 3 blocks from our house. I believe they actually said the hair academy space was too big for them. Noise shouldn’t be a huge deal since they have classes after school, not late into the night I believe. And I shouldn’t think they’d need tons of parking since most people are just dropping kids off.

  10. Wendy says:

    How about Cobblestone Used Furniture? Aren’t they closed/closing? They have a little side parking on that corner, but I don’t know how much is required.

  11. tiktok says:

    Hint: if you’re trying to open a business of type X in a given space, check that the the space is zoned for type X before you move forward.

    That said, a School of Rock is likely to present a bunch of noise issues with any neighbors.

  12. Stupid Hippie says:

    Parking is bad. Take the bus.

    Save the Maldivians!


  13. 20feet says:

    Change of use permits are hard to deal with, but my guess is it would have just cost too much money to change that space into what they wanted. There are lots of codes when dealing with kids and school type stuff. They will need a place that is unattached to residential, and likely free standing.

    That being said, you all know that The Ballard Academy of Music and Dance is just down the street on 80th and 24th, right? Plus they are a local family owned business, not a national franchise…

  14. Jimbo Jones says:

    I served as music director at the School of Rock in Downingtown, PA as well as the Keyboard director at the original location in Philadelphia. The man who began the school, Paul Green sold the business some time ago and since then the attention to the students has waned while the prices have increased.
    As an instructor I was encouraged to skip the fundamental concepts of music and just cram the music into the students hands for the sake of the recital. This produced very one dimensional musicians, many of whom were denied admission to collegiate music programs. Students are put into bands that don’t always fit their needs, and often times they sit around waiting for their turn to play.
    I have taught music for over 10 years, and have played in all the major NYC venues with the likes of Wyclef and ACDC. I have toured the US and have credits on a few hit records. Whether or not you aim to pursue music casually or professionally, School of Rock will not take you where you want to go.

  15. Z. Trosper says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Jimbo Jones had such a negative experience in Pennsylvania.  As the music director of the Seattle school, I can say that we take music education seriously and try our best to prepare our students for any musical endeavour they intend to pursue.  One of our students was recently accepted into the music program at Cornish and another participate in a nation wide jazz competition.  Outside of the academic realm, many of our students have gone on to form their own bands that are currently performing in town, some at notable venues such as Nuemos.  I’m sorry to hear that Jimbo was so turned off to the program in Pennsylvania that he felt he needed to superimpose that experience on our Seattle school, but I think it is unfair and misleading to assume that our school here in Seattle would provide the same experience.  I encourage people to talk with folks that have had a personal interaction with our school and see what their experience was like.