Developer proposes conversion of Lassen Building on Capitol Way N for a popular restaurant

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar is named as likely occupant


Olympia’s Site Plan Review Committee heard a proposal for renovating the Lassen Building at 301 Capitol Way N from an existing commercial space into a new restaurant during its Wednesday, April 3 meeting.

An applicant for the project, Josh Gobel of MSGS Carve Architects, sought feedback from the review committee on the code compliance and permitting requirement for the change use of the building from its current uses, like yoga studios and physical therapy offices, into a new Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar.

The applicant presented a site plan showing the goals to use 3,500 square feet of the western part of the building as the new restaurant and storage.

Olympia's associate planner Paula Smith noted that the proposed renovation of the existing space in the building into a restaurant and storage area would not require a land use review process. However, she said the storage needs to be associated with permitted restaurant use, as storage and warehousing are not allowed.

A design review may be triggered if any significant exterior changes to the building are made.

Meanwhile, Jeff Finch, deputy building official, noted that accessible parking and amenities would be required under the code. He informed Gobel that if the project valuation exceeds 50% of the building's total value, it must meet EV charging and Sea Level Rise standards.

Chelsea Farms grows Olympia and other oysters and clams in its own oyster beds in nearby Totten and Eld Inlets.  It has operated for several years in the 222 Market Building, located at 222 Capitol Way North. 


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  • mtndancer

    There are two viable businesses in that space already. Are they getting kicked out? I am a patron of both of them and would not want to see them forced to move, especially since one of them (Pete Lea Automotive) just recently had to relocate there after a disastrous fire to the site where they had been for decades. Do human and community values figure into any of these decisions?

    Sunday, April 7 Report this

  • TurdFerguson

    I love oysters. We do not need another oyster bar at 301 Capitol. Why make it difficult for long time Olympia businesses like Pete Lea's to survive. Real towns and cities depend on real businesses like auto shops and grocery stores and barbershops and such that cover people's necessities. Let those wishing to open another restaurant do so in place of an existing failing restaurant like (names withheld out of kindness)

    Thursday, April 18 Report this