Vivace Hits the Bricks

But can't move into Brix.

It's going to be more than a month before Espresso Vivace Roasteria, which recently closed its beloved Denny Way location, will be reopening in its new digs on the first floor of Capitol Hill's hotly anticipated Brix condominiums. It was hoped the move would be a little more seamless. On July 15, Vivace vacated the block at Broadway and Denny that's slated for demolition to make way for a Sound Transit station. Its new space at Brix, under construction a few blocks north at Broadway and Roy, was supposed to be completed last month, but work has been delayed. A big reason why: WG Clark Construction Company was fired as general contractor earlier this month and replaced by Andersen Construction and Charter Construction. Developer Schnitzer West won't specify why, stating only that it selected the other firms to put the "finishing touches on the project." "Due to [WG Clark's] significant amount of work going on throughout the region, we mutually agreed that it was best for the project," says Schnitzer partner Mike Nelson. The developer says the first-floor space will be ready for the retail tenants in September, but that doesn't sound likely. Charter Construction general superintendent Bruce Roundy describes the space like this: "It's still being framed, and the sheetrock is halfway done." Residents won't take occupancy of the upper floors until October and November. Vivace owner David Shomer is putting on a brave face. "Stuff happens," he says. "Construction is always delayed. It's going to be a beautiful spot." To get employees through the downtime, Shomer says managers have given up shifts and that Vivace is doubling service at both its Broadway coffee bar and its South Lake Union location. He says they're also encouraging employees to take vacation. Shomer, who was retrieving the final items from the Denny Way store last Tuesday, was coping despite having a "deep psychological aversion to moving." "The world changes," he says. "If you can't change with it, you're going to be left behind. It's not particularly easy. I'm going through the emotions of getting out of here, but I'm excited about Brix. The new store will be great." Meanwhile, one of Vivace's fellow Brix-bound neighbors, Dilettante Chocolates, which vacated its former Broadway locale in June, is also feeling the pinch. A manager at the company's Eastlake location says everyone from the Capitol Hill store, except for the bakers, "are on hold for now," and adds that "as of right now, we have no official reopening date."

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