Historic Winthrop Under New Ownership

The historic Winthrop Hotel in downtown Tacoma is under new ownership.

The News Tribune reports that California-based Redwood Housing Partners closed the deal Tuesday, paying $8.5 million for the 1925 property previously owned by infamous Tacoma development group Prium.

The deal comes with some work attached - the Winthrop is badly in need of work to repair its elevators, parts of the clay tile roof, and many of its windows, as well as associated water damage, as well as interior repairs to walls, ceilings, and improve AA accessibility. The TNT puts the work already permited by the City at $6.8 million, with another permit still in the works.

The California company plans to continue to operate the low-income housing apartments. They say they have no plans at this point for the historic ballroom or top floor penthouse.

It seems appropriate, in light of May being Historic Preservation Month, that the historic Winthrop will finally be getting some much needed preserving.

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The Theodore Winthrop Hotel is going to be like Tacoma Union Station:  restored but revitalized for new uses.  One hopes plans for the repairs include a cleansing of the exterior brickwork and restoration of the storefronts for retail uses.  There might also be an opportunity for a cafe to open at the Theodore Winthrop lobby—for an early breakfast or a late evening hamburger.  The public areas are a tribute to the foresight of civic leader Chester Thorne, the founder of the National Bank of Tacoma who also led the drive to build Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier.  That community hotel is named for the writer who first memorialized in literature the word Tacoma.  The great public gathering spaces at the Theodore Winthrop, including the stately Crystal Ballroom, could perhaps become recital rooms/performance halls for the Tacoma School of the Arts slated to open at the nearby Broadway Terrace Builidng.  The instiuttion already rents some space in the old federal courthouse.  Any use of the rooms for those purposes might require the addition of insulation into their walls and ceilings that might occur as plumbing lines are either repaired or replaced.  Hotel Monte Cristo in Everett is now reserved for affordable housing but the lobby has become a prime gathering spot for the general public.  One way in which the stigma of the low-rent/dowdy past for the Theodore Winthrop is going to be washed away is to make its public rooms and storefronts accessible again to legitimate patrons.  One hopes the new owner will also always make sure that flags fly in the holders above the Broadway entrance to the Theodore Winthrop and that they are lit at night.  With this transformation, one hopes the words heroin and cockroaches are no longer associated with the reputation of Mr. Thorne’s Theodore Winthrop Hotel.  Perhaps the marquee may even be honor the full name of the man who coined the word Tacoma in a book that is a remarkable piece of Northwest literature from the 1850s.  As a testament of faith in the promise of the city, the Theodore Winthrop Hotel replaced the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce headquarters building; its planned restoration is another small step forward in the renewal of the community.

May 11, 2015 at 3:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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New wrapping paper for an empty box.
How much longer until the street name Broadway is changed to Narrow Way?
The democratization of Tacoma is progressing in a theoretically sound fashion.

May 12, 2015 at 9:00 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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To continue to operate this place as is without considering the use of the ballroom or upstairs penthouse is just more of the same. More low income housing filled with crime and does nothing for this historic property…such a shame!

August 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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