Posts Tagged ‘Preservation’

Historic preservation training tonight (July 1)

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Heather MacIntosh, president of D.C.-based lobbying group Preservation Action, will be back in her old stomping grounds tonight for a lecture on grassroots advocacy. macintosh.jpg

The lecture starts at 5:30 p.m. tonight (July 1) at the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary at 811 Fifth Ave. It’s free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by Daniels Development.

MacIntosh was a preservation advocate for Historic Seattle and was deputy director of Historylink. org, the online encyclopedia of Seattle and Washington history.

It’s not a landmark, but developer won’t demolish it

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The Southwest Design Review Board will check in tonight on a strangely familiar West Seattle development.

As built in 1927

The project is at 3811 California Ave. W. The developer initially proposed tearing down the Charleston Court building to build an entirely new project. Then, partway through design review, Charleston Court was nominated for landmark status. The project went on hold for a year.

The landmark board voted in April against landmarking the 1927 building, designed by William Whiteley, clearing the way for demolition. (Original building shown above.)

But the developer is back with new plans that will give the neighbors deja vu.

What the developer wants
The new design (seen at left) proposes retaining the wings of the original building and the building’s courtyard.

The rear portion of the old building would be torn down, but the developer wants to use that brick to create a new building front between the wings.

Steven Butler and Paul Cesmat bought the building in 2007. Project architect is Nicholson Kovalchick.

Rypkema says Seattle is losing its “grittiness”

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Donovan Rypkema, the historic preservation and economic development expert, was here this week from Washington, D.C. for a lecture sponsored by Historic Seattle.rypkema.jpg

I went to his lecture Thursday and spoke to him Friday morning. He had been out with his camera, wandering First Hill and downtown and snapping photos of older blocks and newer developments. He said Seattle has really changed in the 20 years he’s been watching it.

“I’ve loved (Seattle) because of its grittiness and that’s rapidly disappearing,” he said.

He said he was also surprised we don’t have more historic districts in our great, historic town. Rypkema believes historic preservation is key to economic development but has a special affinity for historic districts. Unlike one historic building, where preservation can be seen as an economic burden on a building owner, he said, a district sees all its values rise.

He said rehabbing a historic building is the greenest construction there is and said there is no function in today’s world that couldn’t happily be housed in yesterday’s building. He said churches, universities and hospitals are the worst at claiming they need to raze historic buildings to suit their modern needs.

“Developers are often painted as the villains in neighborhoods but the biggest villains in neighborhoods are churches hospitals and universities,” he said Friday. “They screw up more neighborhoods than anyone else in the country.”

At the Thursday lecture at Wallingford’s lovely Good Shepherd Center, Rypkema said historic districts also: have stabler prices and are better equipped to ride out economic downturns, and draw better tourists and do a better job overall at supporting the local economy than new construction (because more money goes to workers than materials, and then the workers spend that cash locally).

Seattle has seven historic districts: Ballard Avenue, Columbia City, Fort Lawton, Harvard-Belmont, the International District, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square. For comparison, Portland has 13 historic districts and seven conservation districts.

Read the entire text of Rypkema’s lecture for yourself, and read his own blog about his recent trips to Seattle and Portland.

The Arctic Hotel is getting close

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Renovation of the historic Arctic Building is nearing completion.

Arctic Building
The Artic's signature Walruses

(Quick, before you click the link above, name the architect. Hint: He also designed the old King County Courthouse.)

The Arctic Club Hotel will celebrate its grand opening in May, according to the Web site for Summit Hotels & Resorts. Summit bought the walrus-adorned historic building from the city in 2005 for $5.1 million. Check out a slide show of rooms and more here.

The city purchased the Arctic and the Alaska Building in 1988 for more than twice their 2005 selling price.

Summit has been busy converting the 1916 social club turned office building into an upscale hotel. The landmark building at Third and Cherry needed a full seismic upgrade in addition to repairs and refurbishments.

It’s been fun to see the building getting spruced up for its new purpose. Check out the room design here, and get a glimpse on the left of the refurbished ceiling and chandelier.

The building is no longer limited to those who made it big in the Alaskan Gold Rush, but rooms start at about $250 a night.

(Fun fact, from Jeffrey Ochsner‘s “Shaping Seattle Architecture:” The Arctic Building’s Architect, Augustus Warren Gould, had no academic training and transferred from the contracting business to architecture in the late 1890s.)