Recent chatter in NoDa had caffeine addicts abuzz that their beloved coffee house would close in the name of development.
Smelly Cat Coffeehouse’s owner, Cathy Tuman, has confirmed she has been notified of the property owners’ plans to sell the site, which consists of half an acre at the corner of North Davidson and East 36th Street and includes Revolution Ale House.
And just across the street, LCRE Partners bought the property that includes the Neighborhood Theatre, though they have no plans to demolish the structure or “make significant changes to tenants.”
This talk caused a low-grade fever among neighbors in the Arts District, some of whom barely even own a coffeepot because the neighborhood baristas are so conveniently located. Smelly Cat has been a neighborhood staple for 16 years; this would be a major crisis for those of us who stumble over for a cappuccino or a cup of Black Cat, black, to kick start the morning.
Not to worry, Tuman says: Smelly Cat plans to spend all its nine lives in NoDa, even if its home ends up changing over time.
Here’s the coffee shop’s plan:
– Smelly Cat’s lease commits it to the space for five years. Tuman says not to expect any changes during that time.
– Tuman says the owners of the site, TPM Properties, have indicated their plans to sell to developers after the light rail extension opens. (Attempts to reach someone at TPM Properties were unsuccessful: A woman who identified herself as the owner declined to comment, and two voicemails and an email were not returned.)
– Tuman has offered to buy the property housing Smelly Cat for the past four years but says the investors won’t sell just that part to her. The property is more attractive to developers as one large piece that includes Revolution, the pizza place next door.
– Smelly Cat has been told they will be invited back to the bottom floor of the property once it is developed.
– Smelly Cat is actively seeking a second location in NoDa. If a second location in the neighborhood is found, Tuman says Smelly Cat will operate in both locations.
– Smelly Cat will not leave NoDa, Tuman says.
Hearing the coffee shop is here to stay should be of some comfort, but neighbors are lamenting the idea of even more development in the Arts District, traditionally known more for its galleries, casual bars and bohemian coffeehouses than high-class apartment living.
Randy Chittum, who has lived in NoDa for more than two years, said his household went into a panic after hearing the rumors. Smelly Cat, he says, is “a reflection of the best of NoDa – cast and characters. A great pour-over certainly helps the cause. We simply cannot imagine NoDa without Smelly Cat.”
However, no matter what happens to the building, Tuman emphasizes she will not leave NoDa or the rest of the Queen City caffeine-free.
“Smelly Cat has been NoDa’s consistent heartbeat — the morning after — for 16 years,” Tuman says. “Smelly Cat will be part of NoDa; no worries.”
Photos: Melissa Oyler