Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Interesting History Of Recently Demolished Bicycle Center Building, Formerly Zopf Pharmacy

Pill box once listed on
Ebay for Zopf's pharmacy

The building that for decades housed the Bicycle Center (4529 Sand Point Way NE) and before that the popular Zopf Pharmacy was finally torn down recently.

Ever since the Bicycle Center closed in September 2015, the building had become more and more dilapidated and covered with graffiti.  Homeless individuals were seen coming in and out of the side storage area and mattresses could be seen inside the area when the door was open, along with several grocery carts full of various items. The property management moved three trespassers out of the building shortly before it was demolished, along with their belongings.  

On September 2 a demolition permit #6491039 was approved and issued stating:  
Demolition of the "Bicycle Center," 2 story building previously damaged by a fire. Building footprint is approximately 3000 sf. All utilities to be terminated and property to be left vacant until such time a new land use application for future development is submitted.

The demolition of the building was delayed as a permit from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for the asbestos abatement had to be obtained before demolition could occur.  Also Labor and Industries wouldn't grant an expedited permit to avoid a 10 day waiting period.

Long-time neighbors fondly remember the popular Zopf's Laurelhurst Pharmacy, which served the nearby neighborhoods. 

One neighbor told the Blog staff:

Really old Laurelhurstians remember that place as Zopf's Pharmacy in the mid-60's complete with a great soda fountain! And Green River Sodas for 35 cents.  They had a great comic book selection too(which my mom wouldn’t let me buy). I’d sit at Zopf’s and read the latest Flash until chased away by Mrs. Zopf.

Coincidentally when a neighbor stopped by to watch the demolition,  the grandson of the original owner of the building, Randy, was also watching the demolition.

He told the neighbor "It is an occasion to see the family history, and to see how the building went together" as it was built by his grandfather, George Zopf, a pharmacist and George met his wife there in the mid 1940's.

Randy's grandfather was the pharmacist, and Randy's his mother Phyllis  worked at the Pharmacy, and was also a licensed pharmacist for over 50 years, many of them in the family drugstore, then for other independent druggists.

The pharmacy, which operated until the 1970's, was popular with children for its soda fountain, which Randy said was along the wall that was parallel to the south side parking lot and there were all flavors of coke.

Randy said his mom taught him how to use the varieties of coke, saying "All you need is coke and chocolate."  Randy said that when someone bought a soda, you had to pay two extra cents for the deposit then you returned the glass and got the money back.  Shakes were made by hand, as well as sodas and floats. Arden, a local brand of ice-cream was used. 

Randy described the interior of the pharmacy saying there was a cigar case that was in the front left corner.  There was a prescription room, also home remedies section and a few toys. There was also a nut case in a steel case where nuts were heated on a rotating tray.

Most customers were from Windermere and Laurelhurst. Randy said his mom dropped off the prescriptions or one of the sons did to customers, even in snowy weather.

"Customers counted on it. It's just what you did, it was part of the neighborhood you were in," Randy said.

In 2005 the upstairs portion of the building sustained about $75,000 in damage in an arson fire allegedly started by an employee who wasn't paid. No repairs were ever done following the fire to the deck, siding or the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, leaving it completely fire damaged.   The Laurelhurst Blog Staff learned that there was no running water or heat in the fire damaged building, when the Bicycle Center was in operation.

Randy said that the fire was actually set by a worker, who was doing odd jobs in the building, and he set the fire in a stairwell and was later found to be a pyromaniac.  He said that following the fire, the bike shop owner jerry-rigged the building for electricity and ran his business on a shoe string budget. 

Later the building turned into eyesore and public nuisance.  When the sides of the building were demolished, graffiti, needles, and the severe decay of the interior were visible.

Another neighbor who watched the demolition said "This is a bittersweet day. I went there a child with wonderful memories and it's been there as long as I can remember."

The property manager told the Laurelhurst Blog staff:

While generally the demolition would coincide with a development permit, it became clear that waiting to demo would not be a viable option at which point we escalated our efforts to obtain an independent demo permit. 

We do not have a building design and use of the new building for the property  at this point.  We just want to remove the neighborhood nuisance. 

Pictures of demolition over several days:


No comments: