A “Dear John” to Georgetown

An anonymous letter resonates with neighborhood residents.

Georgetown, that south Seattle neighborhood that's used to getting dumped on, has had a falling-out with another suitor, at least in the mind of one anonymous satirist who delivered copies of a "Dear John" letter to local businesses week before last. The letter makes light of what has been an unusual effort on behalf of Sabey to accommodate the community in the midst of major changes the developer has in store for the former Rainier Brewery buildings that line Georgetown's downtown core. Following are selected excerpts from the letter, which was written on a good facsimile of Sabey letterhead: "Dear Georgetown, I know we haven't been talking a lot, and we've been doing a lot of thinking, and, well, this is really hard to say. We think we should just be friends. All those neighborhood meetings and listening and one-on-ones, they were great, really. It was like there was a spark, like it was going to be different this time. Yes, we felt it too. But really, did you really think it could be, well, soooo intense forever? ... We know what you're thinking: that we were just after one thing. That when we got it we would move on. There is nothing farther from the truth! It was so special to us, and even though there is an empty space now, we will always remember how special it truly was! ... We mean, we're totally cool, right? We don't want you to think that we totally used you or anything, because we totally care for you sooo much!... But for now, we think we should just be friends.... And no, it's not because we're seeing other people. Your Friends, The Sabey Corporation." Jim Harmon, Sabey's senior vice president of investments, was in Georgetown last week showing designs for the development to curious residents and business owners. As far as he's concerned, they're in full swoon. Not only are they not breaking up, they're not even in need of counseling, though he says the letter "had nothing in it that was helpful to the relationship." Sabey Corp. may not be amused, but down the street at the Hangar Cafe, folks were loving it. Sarah Wordsworth says it could be "the best breakup letter ever." Owner Justin Taft (who opened the cafe in November) agreed that it was funny— and maybe fingered a concern on the minds of many merchants. "I'm a little nervous for my friends," he says. "Who they put into the new space will be an important factor." Indeed, as the designs were being shown, who would be occupying the new space was a frequent and often testy question. Curious onlooker: "Who's going in there?" Sabey rep: "Could be a restaurant." Onlooker: "We've got lots of those already." Sabey: "...Or a coffee shop." Onlooker: "We have one of those too." You get the picture. As for who wrote the Dear John letter, nobody knows. One resident claims the writer prefers to remain anonymous, adding that "either you get the joke, or you don't. The neighborhood certainly gets it."

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