The space that formerly housed works by heavy-hitting artists from Paul Allen's private collection is being turned into a putt-putt pub, with plans to open soon.
This time last summer, you could stroll into 609 Westlake Ave. N. and see art by heavy hitters from Paul Allen’s private collection: Mark Rothko, Wassily Kandinsky, Jasper Johns, Damien Hirst, others.
This time next month (if all goes according to plan), you’ll be able to walk into the same space, order one of 32 draft beers, eat some Ethan Stowell-approved pizza and play putt-putt golf, courtesy of Flatstick Pub, whose mini-empire of pub-meets-putting green has grown from Kirkland to Pioneer Square and now to South Lake Union.
On a recent walk-through, Flynn Wienker, a project manager for Adatto Construction (among their clients: Old Stove Brewery, Westminster Chapel, the Northwest School, Seattle Tennis Club), said the new Flatstick would probably open to the public in a few weeks. The demolition of the high-security art gallery, he said, “took a lot longer than a usual demo.”
“It wasn’t just a gallery,” Wienker added. “It was Paul Allen’s gallery.” Window panes were inches thick, the concrete walls as deep as a forearm. “It was like a bunker,” he said. “The construction was built to hang art and be safe from fire, hypothetically for a few hours, while people carted things up.”
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On top of that, Wienker added, their crews had to demolish that bunker beneath a science lab. “People up there are doing science experiments,” he said, looking at the ceiling. “There were very select hours when we could do anything that would cause vibration or resonance or noise in the building.”
But soon, there will be pizza and pints and golf, plus private event spaces with, as Wienker put it, “special, group-interactive games.” (Confidential to the corporate workers of South Lake Union: Brace yourselves for some Flatstick-style team building and maybe even special trust falls!)
That glassed-in corner in South Lake Union, at the southeast edge of Allen’s Institute for Brain Science, has lived as a question mark for years. In late 2015, it opened as Pivot Art + Culture, surfacing works from Paul Allen’s private art collection.
The local arts scene collectively scratched its head. On one hand, it was great: Allen was letting people take a peek at privately held works by Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Kehinde Wiley, David Hockney, Cecily Brown, Francis Bacon. On the other hand, what was going on? Almost as soon as the show opened, there were rumors that Pivot was toast.
The rumors were right. Pivot had one more marquee show (Wassily Kandinsky! Frank Stella! Damien Hirst!), then shut down in 2017.
Still, Flatstick’s build-out has given some work to local artists. You’ve seen all of their work around town (on bar walls, on train cars), even if you don’t know who made it: sign painter, muralist and street artist Zach Rockstad; geometry-minded muralist Ellen Picken; and “Henry,” the muralist best known for his happy public works (fish, wizards, birds) that recall the interior walls of a merry kindergarten.
Lori Mason Curran, a spokesperson for Vulcan, Inc. (Allen’s umbrella company, with interests in real estate, science, investment, arts, culture and more), declined to give precise details about Flatstick’s lease on the 11,000 square-foot space. But, she added, it was a “long-term” commitment, and that “we are very excited to have a fun entertainment use coming to the neighborhood.”
Happy putting, punters!