The vacancies on the first floor of the Douglas Apartment complex might have students growing used to the lull of absent businesses. But Capitol Hill can look forward to more activity in the building soon enough. Empty since 2011, the space will finally be in use by a restaurant named Oma Bap. The restaurant saw its grand opening in Bellevue in 2011.
“Our goal is to introduce and help others embrace the delicious flavor that Korean food has to offer along with providing an experience that you will enjoy again and again,” owner Peter Pak told the Bellevue Business Journal.
The restaurant will serve a variety of traditional Korean foods like kimchee, Korean pot stickers, and rice, noodle and meat dishes. Best of all for students, the food is affordable.
A student hangs out in the lobby of the Douglas during a recent open house. People worked to bring in new students to look at the rooms as a good off-campus option.
“Most of [the food] will be beneath $8 and…this is kind of cool that it’s home style,” said Property Manager of the Douglas Doug Purcell. “I know for me I’ll be eating there.”
Nicolette Purnell, a Seattle University senior, had forgotten about the open space beneath the Douglas, but is glad it will be put to use.
“Now that it is being filled I think that’s really cool. I think at least it’s going to good use. It will be a really good opportunity to have another space for students to meet and go grab food and stuff,” she said.
At one point, there were plans to lease the space to another Capitol Hill restaurant: Lemongrass, which is currently on 12th and Jefferson. But those plans fell through before any construction began.
Mercedes Donchez, a Seattle U law student and a resident of the Douglas, wondered if the restaurant will be offering student discounts, which is popular in many surrounding eateries.
The Douglas held an open house last week to encourage students to consider the apartments as a housing option.
“We are not quite off campus. We are still classified as [on campus] but the thing is that we are still half lease and half student-only housing,” Purcell said. “This is a really great transition option for students coming out of the dorms.”
When the Douglas first opened three years ago, the leasing office was having trouble filling up the rooms.
“There were a few things going on that kind of caused that,” Purcell said. “As an only student complex, it is very tough because we have a smaller pool of people to pull from. It’s not like the University of Washington where we have 52,000 students that are eligible to live here.”
Purcell said that many used to be unaware of what the Douglas has to offer. After a few successful years, though, he feels there won’t be a problem.
The Douglas can house 259 people, and they were completely full last year. Letters have been sent to the current residents asking if they want to renew their residency. Typically, approximately 70 percent of the students move out and 30 percent renew their lease—such numbers are considered fairly standard for all student housing.
The goal is to fill the space left by those moving out.
Open houses are a good opportunity to get students informed and interacting with the rooms, and the upcoming restaurant could attract students to the living spaces.