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


NW Design Review Board approves Taproot Theatre’s expansion plans

May 15th, 2012 · Comments

The NW Design Review Board last night approved Taproot Theatre’s plans to expand into the space formerly occupied by the Eleanor Roosevelt building, which burned in a 2009 arson.

Courtesy of The Miller Hull Partnership.

Taproot plans a second theater, dressing rooms, offices, scene workshop and a café and wine bar at 208 N. 85th Street.

The theater is working with The Miller Hull Partnership to design the expansion, and Method Homes, which manufactures prefabricated structures. Most of the building will be constructed inside Method Homes’ factory; electrical and plumbing connections and finish work will only take a few weeks once the modular pieces are installed on the site.

In a change from the original proposal, the building façade will be set back three feet to the north, to increase the width of the sidewalk, making it safer for people who stand on the sidewalk before and after each show. (Currently, the crowded sidewalks put people uncomfortably close to traffic on North 85th Street.)

You can see a PDF of Taproot’s updated plans here.

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  1. Rob Fellows says:


  2. 6th Ave NW says:

    Its hard to tell from the pdf, but it looks like the Taproot Theater facade will not match the neighborhood. (In the pdf, they crossed out the sentences where they previously were planning to have the facade match the facade in the neighborhood.) I think it is great that they are taking over the space. I just hope that the building isn’t an eyesore. I haven’t seen many attractive prefab housing structures.

  3. Chris In Greenwood says:

    Unless something dramatically changes from the facade drawings and the renderings, this looks to be a near-perfect fit for that slot in both scale, massing, and facade organization. Great to have such a thoughtful design added to the now missing tooth on 85th!

  4. i heart greenwood says:

    Smart about the sidewalks! And, oooh, a wine bar!

  5. Ann says:

    Congrats Taproot! You are a wonderful neighbor to the Greenwood Community. We are very blessed to have you in the center of our community providing lots of foot traffic and healthy activity. Without Taproot there it would be a very dark area. Looking forward to this new innovative building in downtown Greenwood!

  6. The community has worked hard to rebuild this wonderful Theatre into a cultural treasure we want for our city…I am so thrilled to have helped secure state capital budget funding to help supplement the private dollars raised.

    Congratulations to the entire Greenwood community!! Art outlives politics! 🙂

    Reuven Carlyle
    State Representative
    36th Legislative District

  7. Harry Tracy says:

    I guess a real building would just be too expensive. Oh well, better than a hole in the ground.

  8. Ryan says:

    Sometimes prefab is better than stick building in the right circumstance. The different facets of the structure can be constructed with little waste and speed due by being built indoors. I love to see Greenwood advancing and businesses growing. Congrats Taproot!

  9. Scott Nolte says:

    Thanks friends for your support in moving this project forward, and to Representative Carlyle for his help with the Building for Arts program. The arson was nearly 3 1/2 years ago (!!), and we look forward to rebuilding and filling the whole in our neighborhood.

    For those that are curious about our mix of pre-fab and site-built construction, we chose this route as a way to limit our impact on the neighborhood, build a LEED certified facility and to help develop a new cost-effective solution for facilities in urban settings – especially for non-profit arts orgs. I’d refer you to the website of Method Homes, http://www.methodhomes.net for examples the high quality and innovative work they’ve done. Our general contractor is Buchanan Construction which has been in business here since 1985. And Miller Hull, our architects, are a treasure of forward-thinking and innovative design. (They’re designing the extraordinary Bullitt Center, said to be the greenest commercial building in the world when finished.)

    We look forward to having the new building completed, open for business and brightening the 85th Street corridor with light and patrons.

  10. Kim Mulligan says:

    It will certainly be nice to see the Taproot gain space and to see business again in that empty hole. Kudos whoever got the mural in place there during the transition.

  11. Angela says:

    This is fantastic news! When arts survive, then thrive, it is a good sign for the economy. Can’t wait to see a show here when they open.

  12. Dana says:

    Congratulations, Taproot! This is so great for our neighborhood!

  13. Cedar says:

    Prefab is built to the same code and standards as traditional site built projects, with the added bonus of being more structurally sound–they have to be to withstand transportation. Since the materials are never outside or exposed to the elements they’re also healthier buildings with zero chance of mold or rot.

    Hooray for Taproot! This is really great and will add a lot to our neighborhood.

  14. evan says:

    Great news – congratulations to Taproot and the design team. Looking forward to a new (and improved!) cultural institution.

  15. been around says:

    remember when it was an apple theater?