The original market structure built in 1917 at 1426 1st Avenue, across from the entranceway to Pike Place Market, was transformed in 1939 by Bjarne H. Moe, who designed the art-deco interior of the theater and added this marquee out front. Over the past six decades, the theater has provided a venue for musical acts from Vaudeville and jazz to grunge and hip-hop.
In 2018, Vancouver, BC-based Onni Group bought the property and announced plans to demolish the building and replace it with a 44-story residential tower. That same year, local preservation groups organized a campaign to secure a landmark nomination in an effort to save the Showbox. The Seattle City Council recently voted unanimously to extend temporarily the Pike Place Historic District to include the original Showbox building. This has, for a time, protected the building from demolition.