Velocity Dance Center, one of the arts tenants disrupted by the sale earlier this year of the Odd Fellows Hall, will be the new primary tenant of the space that formerly housed the Capitol Hill Arts Center at 1621 12th Ave.

Share story

The Velocity Dance Center, one of the arts tenants disrupted with the sale earlier this year of the Odd Fellows Hall, is moving a few blocks away, into the space formerly run by the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC) on 12th Avenue.

Velocity Executive Director Kara O’Toole says the leading Seattle modern-dance organization has signed a 10-year lease, with a five-year renewal option, with the building’s owner, Elizabeth Linke.

Velocity will occupy about 6,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building at 1621 12th Ave., including a large performing space recently used for theater and music events. The restaurant Crave, also at street level, will remain under a separate lease. Two additional basement rooms, used by CHAC as a bar and a small cabaret, do not yet have occupants.

Since its formation in 1996, Velocity Dance Center has occupied a 7,000-square-foot space in the Odd Fellows Hall, also on Capitol Hill. After the recent sale of the Odd Fellows to Seattle developer Ted Schroth, the Velocity learned its rent would be doubled when its lease expired this month, and the nonprofit began looking for a more affordable space.

The former CHAC site is “great for dance,” says O’Toole, though Velocity must raise roughly $500,000 for needed renovations. Architect Colin Walker, of the Seattle firm NBBJ, is doing pro bono design work to turn the space into two dance studios; a 100-seat theater; and office, storage and lobby areas.

O’Toole’s goal is to begin programming events in the building in January 2009. “We’re so excited about the move, and staying on Capitol Hill,” said O’Toole.

Velocity will celebrate the end of its run in the Odd Fellows Hall with “The Big Bang!” a three-night roster of short performances by noted local dance artists, including Dayna Hanson, Molly Scott and Velocity co-founder KT Niehoff.

Misha Berson: