Old City Hall - Beset by a Bursting Market Bubble and a Bursting Pipe

Old City Hall, standing sentinel at the north end of Pacific Avenue, has suffered water damage throughout its six historic floors due to a burst fire sprinkler pipe (TNT coverage here). Approximately 30,000 gallons of water poured into the building on Wednesday (Nov. 24) when the blockage thawed. Tenants have been scrambling to deal with the situation, though at the time of this article, there has been no word from the building’s ownership group.

Unfortunately, the recent travails of this architectural landmark could be a morbid summarizing metaphor for the effects of The Great Recession. The building entered private ownership decades ago, and was enthusiastically purchased in 2005 by George Webb of the Stratford Company. As was the fashion in those days, there was hardly an old building in existence which couldn’t be envisioned as a luxury condominium hive (with curated elements of yesteryear, of course). In exuberant pursuit of this all-too-common dream, the Old City Hall LLC managed to talk most of the building’s existing tenants into finding leases elsewhere. Those remaining presented some complications (TNT coverage here).

The momentum toward condominium conversion – and renovation – slowed further when the ownership group learned that certain seismic requirements would need to be met. Then, the once-raging housing and commercial real estate markets finally entered the boundaries of reality, shuddering and whimpering to a halt. Desperate to find a revenue stream, Old City Hall’s owners even proposed providing low-rent artist work space in the building. Shortly thereafter, banking issues and troubles with payment for utilities caused some concern (TNT coverage here).

And now, just as our Old City Hall and the rest of the world seems to be on cruise control through limbo, a pipe froze – as if to highlight everything that’s been neglected or postponed until better times. Some things – historic buildings included – do not pay much heed to economic viability. No one has volunteered to fix the clock in the clock tower, either.

The extent of the damage to Old City Hall’s structure is unknown. Inspection could potentially reveal a lengthy list of needed improvements. As more information emerges, we will be sure to take note.

At this time, it seems sufficient to say that the situation is very unfortunate. Of course, had the City and Mr. Webb been in possession of a time machine, the problem could have been averted – along with the economic crisis and the musical career of Ke$ha. Even so, the fall of the Luzon taught us that historic value does not make a structure impervious to administrative machinations. The pursuit of practical solutions will only be weakened and discredited by the distracting search for villainy. Until there is further information, we simply cannot know what options or possibilities lie before us.

What should be clear is this: Old City Hall is of tremendous value to this city. It is essential. It represents the optimism and ambition of Tacoma’s history, and links our downtown to grand European architectural traditions. It houses the ghosts of Tacoma’s struggles through scandal and triumph, and (until the clock is fixed) sometimes causes visitors to check their watches.

(Photo by Alicia Wilkinson)


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Comments

RR Anderson

Ocryx and Joe in “Old City Hall – the next Luzon?”

Yes, it’s happening again. Can Old City Hall be saved before it becomes a new parking lot?

November 28, 2010 at 11:25 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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crenshaw sepulveda

Buy Now!!! or Invest!!

November 28, 2010 at 11:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

step 1 – immediately condemn and use eminent domain laws to seize property.

step 2 – Use $700,000 dollars to repair damage. Anyone know where the city can get $700,000 in free money for the purpose of ‘keeping jobs in Tacoma’ ?

November 28, 2010 at 11:41 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

low bar,

i get that criticism a lot. Interesting solutions are what the “conversation” element of this site is about. I agree with you that RR is a heck of a lot more entertaining than I am. That’s why I’m not trying to do what he does. Presentation of relevant facts does serve a purpose, even if it is uninspiring.

My chinchilla brain is pretty adorable.

November 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

I also think that David Boe’s comment in this article is pretty interesting. Instead of constructing a new facility, imagine if Urban Waters was had been housed in Old City Hall.

Also keep in mind that pipes froze and burst at the new Urban Waters center this week as well.

But i thoroughly refudiate the <span class=“caps”>TNT</span>’s suggestion that the <span class=“caps”>LEED</span> design had anything to do with it. Thoroughly: blog.thenewstribune….

November 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chrys

November 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

I am thankful for both Daniel Rahe (aka CaptiveYak on twitter) and Low Bar (aka in a coma in tacoma) and David Boe and The JinxMedic—who seems to have the historical preservationist webcomic market cornered in the city of destiny. 

together we’re making a difference like voltron.

November 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

@8 holy ned!  where can I get the link to that flickr page?  <span class=“caps”>EXCELSIOR</span>!!

November 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

When.that.tower.clock.is.converted.to.LED.digital.readout,

Ill.be.convinced.Tacoma.is.forward.thinking.

(<span class=“caps”>MFTH</span>;quoted.on.The.Mofo.News.Network.special:

Unhistoric.Tacoma.;December,1975.)

November 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

see Marty Campbell’s facebook for some useless blubbering…

“Marty Campbell: I don’t think the City has owned it for decades, so it not ours to take back.”

“Rob Mcnairhuff (city spokesperson): It’s called speculative real estate. Buy in hopes of building condos, don’t do any research before hand, gamble on the economy and lose, then walk away from the deal. It’s the worst tendencies of the market at play with one of Tacoma’s icons…”

“Dave Stockwell: The owner’s are out in Boston and have many buildings to worry about across the country. No rent = no money for repairs. <span class=“caps”>OCH</span> is a small piece in a large puzzle. It’s not that they don’t care, the problem’s just bigger than one building.”

“Marty Campbell: <span class=“caps”>IMHO</span> it is worth more than any pending state grants, would need way more in repairs, and would not meet the criteria for the fulfillment of the grants.

We could go out for grants, but that could take months.”

November 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

I wonder if our City Council is suffering from an imagination deficit.

An art school could certainly help turn things around. Could even inspire many local artists to hone their own skills.

November 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jesse

I really like the culinary school idea.

November 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

give it to bates and send boston owners the bill.

November 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

Let’s get the horse before we get the cart, folks. And then, let’s put the horse in front of the cart.

The news most probable to emerge on Monday will be that there is simply no money in George Webb’s pockets to address anything beyond cosmetic remediation.

It will be essential to <span class=“caps”>QUICKLY</span> determine the extent of the damage. Inspection and assessment needs to occur next week. There ought to be some grounds for forcing this issue. That justification needs to be found, lest we risk further deterioration.

November 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

Old.City.Hall.basically.has.the.same.problem.that.

the.car.company.Oldsmobile.had:

People.perceive.it.as.something.for.old.folks.

A.marketing.solution.is.required.,like.renaming.the.place.the.XBox.Hall.

November 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

we should be paying Low Bar for his ideas.

November 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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captiveyak

Rufus T. Firefly would like to pass his mantle on.

November 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

Go, and never darken my towels again!

November 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

Tacoma.is.a.fortress.of.bicycling.ninnies.

November 29, 2010 at 9:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chrys

November 29, 2010 at 11:49 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

gah… 

<span class=“caps”>NEWS</span> ‘<span class=“caps”>INBOX</span>’ <span class=“caps”>FLASH</span>:

On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM, Anderson, Eric wrote:

Thank you all for you emails and for your concerns about the Old City Hall. As you know, we do not own the building. However, I have no desire to place some future City Council and City Manager in the position we found ourselves in with the Luzon, in which the actions of others over thirty years forced me to take an action I was loath to take.

We are documenting tenants and preparing to take any and all actions that we are permitted to take under the law. Certainly I am open to any suggestions you may have that I can act lawfully upon.

Eric

Eric A. Anderson

City Manager

Tacoma, Wa

November 29, 2010 at 11:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

I see your cartoon Chrys and raise you an O&J…

November 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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offbroadway

What is most shameful is that it is the most very basic of building preventative maintenance that would have prevented this latest calamity.  Not allowing the conditions to let water freeze in a cast-iron fitting, then on top of that having not having an active remote alarm notification to tell someone (not just those within earshot) that water was flowing.

November 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

demolition through neglect aka the Ronald Zimmerman maneuver

November 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Squid

Art school…hmmm.  OK, Tacoma actually already <span class=“caps”>HAS</span> an art school, which enrolls nearly 500 students who are scattered in multiple locations at <span class=“caps”>UWT</span> and downtown.  Consolidation of that many young people in a single location would create the Tacoma equivalent of critical mass.

November 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Last tenant moving out:

No action by either the owner or the City of Tacoma while Old City Hall is lead to it’s likely demise:

i.feedtacoma.com/Eri…

November 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacomamama

How about a downtown middle school, possibly sharing the building with <span class=“caps”>SOTA</span>? I don’t think construction has started on Hunt yet, and there is actual money available for it.

November 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

Anybody out there work for a title company? If we can access the deeds transferring ownership from the City to the original private ownership, we may find some recourse to at least force an inspection or <span class=“caps”>SOMETHING</span>.

The deeds are a matter of public record. They’re available in paper form at the City and/or County offices, but they are not yet scanned into the web archive, as far as I know. A title officer would be able to access them quite easily. I have some vacation numbers and deed numbers to start with.

If the City retained any rights regarding this property, that information would be key.

November 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacomamama

I realize I’m fantasizing here and the whole thing may be fiscally ridiculous, but this downtown middle school idea would actually solve several huge problems.

Jason Lee has a huge de facto segregation issue, one that is bad enough that, coupled with its history of poor academic performance, 15 years (and a couple of supreme court decisions) ago we might be worried about forced busing. 

Putting a middle school downtown would allow the boundary lines to be changed so that some of Jason Lee’s current student body and some of Mason’s current student body could be allocated to this new school.  Kids who used to go to Hunt would be split between Truman and Mason as they are now. 

The program could be an arts-focused curriculum, providing the missing bridge between Grant Center for the Expressive Arts’ elementary program and <span class=“caps”>SOTA</span>’s high school program.  Its location would allow for shared resources with both <span class=“caps”>SOTA</span> (arts teachers) and Stadium (sports facilities.) 

So in addition to fixing Old City Hall, we’d remedy a decades old inequity at Jason Lee, supply missing continuity in the city’s arts education program, and establish another building block in an urban campus stretching from Stadium High School to <span class=“caps”>UWT</span>.

/fantasy.

November 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

the ideas of potential uses for the school are all fantastic. Not a single one of the suggestions would be hurtful to the city.

Unfortunately, they do not address the problem at hand. The city needs to find a legal way to step in and enfornce the maintenance and preservation of a key <span class=“caps”>PRIVATE</span> property.

We need to find a way to literally gut the interior before the rotting interior compromises the structure.

I know folks at the city took note of the administrative unforeseeables that led to the demise of the Luzon, and certainly don’t want to see this happen again. I would bet pretty solid money that NO <span class=“caps”>ONE</span> wants to see this building demolished and <span class=“caps”>EVERYONE</span> would love to see a positive use for it. In short, <span class=“caps”>THAT</span> is not the problem.

I don’t mean to sound grumpy, but we truly have a dire situation that requires immediate action. At this point, even a dream of maintaining tenancy is getting more and more far-fetched. The city wants to take action, but a legal way needs to be found.

I guess i suck at “i have a dream” speeches.

November 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacomamama

Well, the most obvious way to go about legally fixing up the place is to buy it.  This is why I got started with the whole middle school thing in the first place, because there is actual money available to build a new middle school.

Of course, with an offer already turned down on the property who knows if they’d take it. 

Could the city go ahead and do some mitigation now and try to seek repayment from the owner later?  Realizing that probably won’t work and we’ll be stuck paying for it?  yeah they probably could.  Even if not legal what is the remedy for the owner?  Suing for damages because his property was improved?  If “the city” takes action rather than a private individual no one is going to jail for trespassing.

I doubt they are going to get right on an injunction to stop the work, since they can’t even bring in anyone with a shop vac and some fans. (And if they do oh well, at least something was attempted.)

I’m not sure there’s actually anything stopping anyone from enriching the landowner in this fashion other than the bitter taste and hole in an already dwindling pocket book it will leave afterwards.

This should have happened on Friday, as soon as it was clear there was no mitigation happening.

November 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chrys

@38 is right. While it’s fun to daydream about the ideal use for a privately held building (if it survives) it’s useless conversation that takes away from the actual problems. Instead of trying to decide if it would make a better middle school or culinary Mecca, we should be trying to answer the more immediate concern of: how can the city or any other entity apart from the legal owner legally gain access to this private property that isn’t on the market to stop the floors, beams, and walls from rotting <span class=“caps”>TODAY</span>. Worrying about what the building could be in five years in a perfect world is a moot topic if those mysteries aren’t solved. The cart has officially been put before the horse in this thread.

November 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tacomamama

I don’t see the point in railing at us for not making like one of the city’s attorneys.  I’m assuming the city has lawyers who are working on this right now, it’s not really for Exit 133 commenters (or the recipients of Eric Anderson’s email list) to say how the city should go about fixing a nuisance on private property.  But thanks for killing the discussion, anyway.

November 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

Dream those impossible dreams comrades! We’re all acting out our preordained destinies…

TO <span class=“caps”>SAVE</span> <span class=“caps”>OUR</span> <span class=“caps”>FUTURE</span>, WE <span class=“caps”>MUST</span> <span class=“caps”>SAVE</span> <span class=“caps”>OUR</span> <span class=“caps”>PAST</span>!

November 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Someone posted this:

Luzon Part II?

November 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

I don’t think Mr. Webb is that horribly difficult to get hold of, if past comments on this very site are to be trusted. What if someone (not me, i’m just in this for glory and recognition) were to organize a volunteer effort with some contractors and ordinary folk, and then contact Mr. Webb offering free gutting and clean-up services? The city could offer free haul-away service or something.

Again, not me. Not my idea. I just want the glory when the building is saved.

November 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

Have wet/dry shop vac. will travel.

November 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Daniel

asbestos and lead will have to be taken into consideration in this equation.

November 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Chrys

@41 By all means discuss if you want to discuss. Don’t let my crankiness stop you. I just think there are bigger fish to fry in the present. And I know exit 133 has some readers with expertise and influence. I think many heads put together to solve a tangible and immediate need is better than a few. Especially when a representative for that few asked for suggestions from the public. The lawyers must be chasing their tails.

November 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

@Chrys <span class=“caps”>DRAW</span>! <span class=“caps”>DRAW</span>! <span class=“caps”>DRAW</span>!

November 29, 2010 at 4:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

 

eh?  eh?

November 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Trina Jones

“Thank you all for you emails and for your concerns about the Old City Hall. As you know, we do not own the building. However, I have no desire to place some future City Council and City Manager in the position we found ourselves in with the Luzon, in which the actions of others over thirty years forced me to take an action I was loath to take.

We are documenting tenants and preparing to take any and all actions that we are permitted to take under the law. Certainly I am open to any suggestions you may have that I can act lawfully upon.”

Eric

Eric A. Anderson

City Manager

Tacoma, Wa

Dr Mr. Anderson,

No one has talked to me and I have been the only continual tenant for the last 3 years!

November 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

November 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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low bar

the more i think about it, the more it becomes obvious we need to call taps the plumber/ghost hunters in on this. because they can fix the pipes <span class=“caps”>AND</span> communicate with the percolation producing poltergeist perpetrator plotting and proliferating the perishing predicament of your prodigious polis.

November 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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dolly varden

Sounds from Jesse’s post on feedtacoma that some clean up help is on the way. 

As far as the longer term goes, if there are no private for profit tenants in the offing, I’d like to see <span class=“caps”>SOTA</span> take over part of it, and the non-profit that runs Seattle Toshiro-Kaplan artist live-work spaces in Pioneer Square take over the rest.

November 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

Jesse and I were peeking though the windows today.  lots of condensation !

November 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

If.the.building.was.filled.with.long.grain.

white.rice,wouldnt.that.absorb.all.the.moisture?

November 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Squid

“Squidville” is a registered trademark.  Tacoma cain’t have it.

November 29, 2010 at 9:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Come on Tacoma.  Reach deep! You can do it.

Update: Peter Callaghan weighs in!

*Could Old City Hall be the next Luzon?*

That is, could a well-meaning but overwhelmed owner allow an iconic historic structure to waste away from the inside out until demolition is the easiest solution?

That’s what happened just over a year ago to the Luzon Building at 13th and Pacific. It led to hand-wringing among preservationists and a pledge by the city to do better next time.

City Councilman David Boe has been trying to sound the alarm about Old City Hall for over a year. An architect, he keeps his office kitty corner from the 117-year old Italian Renaissance tower. That has given him a daily impression of the condition inside.

“Ripped canopies, boarded-up windows, birds living inside, which implies other things living inside,” Boe said.

www.thenewstribune.c…

November 30, 2010 at 12:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

The.Luzon.is.hardly.worth.comparing.to.Old.City.Hall.

The.Luzon.hadnt.been.occupied.with.functioning.businesses.for.decades.

Nobody.is.calling.Old.City.Hall.a.bunch.of.miscolored.bricks.

November 30, 2010 at 1:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

<span class=“caps”>THE</span>.ENDS.JUSTIFY.THE.MEANS

NO.QUARTER.GIVEN.

November 30, 2010 at 3:25 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

@61 Very well done.

November 30, 2010 at 8:34 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

Somewhere.in.Tacoma.theres.another.Diamond.Parking.lot.in.the.rough.

November 30, 2010 at 8:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Bob

Webb isn’t going to do anything. He’s broke. Three of his properties in Auburn were foreclosed at the end of last year. No one will lend him any more money.

November 30, 2010 at 10:54 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Great poster RR.

Where can one print them out and post them around the city?

November 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Old City Hall just made it on the 591 Beautiful Things list!

Beautiful Things 591-595, Day 119 « A Thousand Beautiful Things

thousandbeautifulthings.wordpress.com

591.

Historic buildings that are well-preserved. (Hint, hint, owners of Old City Hall) This is a photo of OCH’s clock tower rising up like a beacon of Tacoma’s once strong belief in possibility.

thousandbeautifulthi…

November 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RR Anderson

link to super high-resolution print file  freethinking community organizers are encouraged to print/post at will.

November 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

More eyes watching: Bellingham Herald following Tacoma’s effort to save Old City Hall via McClatchy syndication: www.bellinghamherald…

Come on Tacoma!

November 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Tacoma Momma Live Blogging at Tacoma City Council meeting re: any effort being considered to save Old City Hall:

tacomamama.com/conte…

November 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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joe-nate

Russell Investments is gone.  The Haub properties at S. 13th and Pacific are the development field for the future.  Magic is around the restoration of the Elks Temple.  The reconstruction of the Spanish Steps shows a civic commitment to downtown betterment.  The old Pierce County Courthouse now supports the foundation of C.I. Shenanigans.  Surely, that is not the destination for Old City Hall’s bricks, right?  Imagine a vision of business leaders that would gather together bankers and property investors to make the restoration of both the Winthrop Hotel and Old City Hall possible, with in-fill on the blocks between. That civic push by business leaders is what got property owners together to approve the Puyallup Tribe’s land dispute settlement at the Port of Tacoma a generation ago. Tacoma deserves such a victory today for Old City Hall based on the public’s investments in the urban core.  Teamwork is needed at the highest level—Tacomans remember when George Russell, Jr., George Weyerhaeuser, Sr. and William Phillip could meet for coffee and set an agenda for Tacoma’s redevelopment in response to community wishes.  Mr. Weyerhaeuser built Tacoma Center in response to the decision of the people to build the Tacoma Dome.  Make no mistake that downtown redevelopment plans to complement the Elks restoration project must make business sense.  Yet perhaps those older business leaders who championed the future of the Thea Foss Waterway <span class=“caps”>PDA</span> might come back for one last hurrah to break down barriers to have the community come together to make historic preservation of Old City Hall and the Winthrop Hotel market-rate investments projects in Tacoma.  It takes diplomacy and negotiations. Old City Hall is iconic of 1890s boomtown Tacoma while the Winthrop is the monument to the vision of Chester Thorne, builder of the National Bank of Tacoma that later built what is now Wells Fargo Plaza.

Dream.

November 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Point.Dexter

Post.Luzon.era,Tacoma.is.still.the.kind.of.place.where.you.can.

buy.the.nicest.building.in.the.neighborhood.and.let.it.rot.

November 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Update

City regulators have little or no legal authority to force the owners of Old City Hall to clean up the historic building after a ruptured water pipe flooded parts of it last week, City Manager Eric Anderson told city council members Tuesday.

During an update on Old City Halls situation at the councils study session, Anderson assured council members the city is doing all it can to ensure the privately-owned building doesnt go the way of another downtown landmark: the Luzon Building.

We want to make sure we are doing everything we can do to avoid losing the building, Anderson said.

But Anderson added: We cant just go into a (private) building and clean it up without an immediate public danger.

Unlike the 118-year-old Luzon, which the city razed last year after 30 years of neglect and private restoration efforts failed, Old City Hall does not represent a public safety hazard, Anderson said.

Its not in imminent danger of collapse, he said.

On a hypothetical scale of 1 to 10, with 10 posing an immediate threat to public safety, Anderson described the 122-year-old Old City Hall building as closer to a 1.

But at least one council member disagreed with Andersons assessment.

Id put it closer to a 5, said Councilman David Boe, an architect by trade, just because of the insidious nature of water in a wood-framed structure.

Boe added there is significant concern with allowing water to stand over time in Old City Hall, a situation he said could create structural, mold or other problems and potentially limit interests from outside parties that may want to take on the project.

Youve got to dry that building out, Boe said. What concerns me with a wood-framed structure in the interior and were heading into the wet months (is) there needs to be a plan going forward, and not just wait for the insurance claim.

blog.thenewstribune….

November 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Squid

joe nate@70:  you are so right, most of what has been done in Tacoma lately was done by those guys, with a little help from people like Kelso Gillenwater, Herb Simon and a couple others.  But the old guys are gone-daddy-gone.  Russell, Philip and Weyerhaeuser have checked out and Kelso has a permanent table at that Marzano’s in the sky. Now we are in an new age where there aren’t going to be any of those guys anymore.  Who is going to get things done now?  That remains to be seen.

November 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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j feste

Wealth and position do not equate righteousness and virtue unless experience and achievement justify the accolades.  The business leaders who founded the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma more than twenty years ago were especially committed toward advancing the city’s interests.  They lent their prestige and influence in business circles in Seattle and in the Legisluature to get things done—the museums and UW-T are such examples.  Today, people of that caliber are important for their abilities to bring disparate factions and groups together under a business plan that might work for Old City Hall’s restoration.  Such leadership on their part led to the land claims settlement with the Puyallup Tribe that ended the economic choking threat of endless litigation for Tideflats properties.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” the Good Book reports.  People can feel helpless about Old City Hall or business leaders can seize upon the public concern and, like with the deteriorating Union Station, find a solution.  The challenge today is that government money is not so easily found.  That’s why seasoned business leaders experienced is boosting Tacoma are going to have to try to broker solutions to such problems to find private sector-based options that work.  Otherwise dithering will lead to demolition, even for Old City Hall.  Mr. Russell, Mr. Weyerhaeuser, and Mr. Philip have all been responsible businessmen who earned their stripes to lead in the community.  One wonders if they are willing to share their wisdom and character again to make something happen for Tacoma.

December 1, 2010 at 10:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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