Workers dismantled the corner piece of the overhang on Easy Street Records in the West Seattle Junction Monday night. They had previously taken down the Alaska Street side and the rest was in the process of being removed.
UPDATE- SLIDESHOW: Easy Street Records overhang removed; There since the 50's there's no word on replacement yet
Owner Matt Vaughn has added a statement via Facebook
By Patrick Robinson and David Rosen
UPDATE 12:25pm May 7
Easy Street Records owner Matt Vaughn posted a statement on Facebook regarding the removal of the overhang/awning that has been part of the Junction for more than 50 years.
"It is sad to see our awning go. I have always appreciated its décor and '50s-era aesthetic. In 1989 I moved Easy Street from mid-block (where Leisure Books is) to where it stands today. I was attracted to this corner and the building itself. The rent was reasonable, but the space needed major love. I designed the neon and had it installed back in 1992 or so. I wanted to complement the canopy and the lines of the building as well as the historical value it reflected.
Over the years the overhang got rusty and its gutter system was causing leaks and floods inside most of the storefronts along the Hamm Building. Most of the Alaska St side of the awning was removed a few years ago, but I lobbied to keep the remaining part around Easy Street. I paid for repairs and tried to maintain it. Over the last 5 years especially, the Easy Street neon and the corrugated steel trim took some big hits from trucks, buses, and oversize vehicles. Neon is very expensive and it was becoming too costly to repair and maintain it all the time. I was willing to work with our landlord to make improvements/repairs and had hoped to discuss new signage options on the awning. Our landlord was more interested in removing it. I trust that they will be mindful of the value and protection that the overhang had and will work with us to replace it in a manner and aesthetic that represents both the building and Easy Street.
Signage has always been an important element to Easy Street and you can be assured that it still is - we'll come up with something. I'm unsure what plans the landlord has in replacing the awning, but he is well aware that the storefront needs to be protected from the elements and that we need to continue to allow outdoor seating and sidewalk sales throughout the year. I'm sure our landlord (WM Mgmt) and I will collaborate on something you'll all be proud of. Open to ideas.
If you spend any time in the junction the awning/overhang and neon signage for Easy Street Records is a landmark. But it's been showing signs of age. Matt Vaughn, owner said, " A few years ago, a lot of the storefronts on the Alaska side were having interior leaking into their property on those respective storefronts. Through some investigation they figured out it was the seam of the overhang against the exterior wall was rusted out and causing these leaks and in some cases major floods. It happened to us to a certain extent as well. So he took the Alaska side down for aesthetic reasons."
Vaughn has fought for the last two years to keep that landmark corner piece. "But even within the last two years we've had a lot of trucks hit the overhang and a lot of our neon has gotten destroyed. It's unfortunate since I believe this overhang has been here since the 50's. To a certain degree it still looks really cool. It's unique."
Vaughn does not know if the overhang will be replaced. "The family that owns the building, and our property manager have been discussing what the plans are. "I would certainly anticipate that it will be replaced in some way and I'm sure that I'll contribute to that. But you gotta protect the storefronts here from the sun and rain. And we have outdoor seating for our cafe during the spring and summer months. It's going to beat up this corner even more by removing this canopy since the elements are going to pound on the exterior severely."
The rotating corner sign will stay. "I saved that from the Meredith's dumpster a few years back. That's attached to the building itself."
The work was underway to remove the structure on Monday but had to pause when a worker suffered an injury.
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