Rat City Roller Derby packs up and leaves Shoreline

Sunday, May 26, 2019

"We're moving everything out of the Rat's Nest - strong skaters = strong movers!"
Photo courtesy Rat City Roller Derby

By Diane Hettrick

The Rat City Roller Derby packed up their goods and moved out of the Rat's Nest on Aurora at 19022 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline.

The building was the former Sleep Aire Mattress Factory, owned by the Pearson family. It was built in 1966 and operated there for over 25 years. It was closed as a business and sat empty for years. Aurora Rents used it as a temporary location while their new building was being constructed at 175th and Aurora.

Rat City Roller Derby has moved out of The Rat's Nest

Rat City moved in at the beginning of 2014 and used it as a practice site and for small, local matches. Their big matches were held at Key Arena and brought in 6000 fans.

They also rented it to another roller group - the Jet City Roller Derby out of Everett.

The Pearson family eventually put the property up for sale and it was purchased in 2016 by a local developer and his partners as a site for an apartment building. The same partnership group built the Malmo apartments and the Paceline apartments - both on or near Aurora.

Rat City was notified that the building would be demolished.

In three years of looking, they have been unable to find a new space.

The issues are space, columns, location, and money. There are many warehouses but they all have columns. Columns are not compatible with a skating track and bleachers. A flat roller derby track requires 8,100 SF (75' wide x 108' long).

As for location, they need something on a main road in Seattle. And money? If they had money to buy land, they wouldn't have to worry about it being sold out from underneath them.

At one point the Roller Derby thought they had found a space in SODO, but that did not work out. The new owners of the Aurora property helped them look, but without success.

Rat City's lease ended October of 2018. Owners extended it through April and then granted them a little more time.

They had a moving sale on May 4, 2019, and then moved everything out on May 19, just after finishing a full day event called the Summer Slam.

They have been able to find a practice space in West Seattle for the summer only.

"There will be bruises"
Photo copyright Marc Weinberg from a match in 2014

Nicole Brodeur, in her column on Rat City, chided the area's millionaires.

"Any one of the region’s countless millionaires or foundations could write these people a check and solve this problem. They need, what, $500,000 for a hunk of land big enough to pour a track, surround it with a fabric building with steel girders and a retaining wall. Electricity and plumbing. Parking. All right, let’s say $1 million. That’s a latte for you fine, rich folks."

Both Brodeur and Nathalie Graham in her feature in The Stranger lamented the loss of the junior teams and the opportunities for young girls to play competitive sports.

5-28-19 Updated location of Aurora Rents


Anonymous,  May 28, 2019 at 1:16 PM  

Aurora rents is at 175th and Aurora, not 185th.

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