Old City Hall Owners Agree to Fix Roof

The roof of Tacoma's Old City Hall didn't get repaired in time for autumn rains. The City did, however, reach an agreement last week with property owner, Stratford Co. that should get the work done this year.

According to The News Tribune, the agreement sets a series of deadlines, beginning with a requirement that Stratford send the City a list of bids from companies willing to do the work. The property owner must then obtain permits, show it can finance the work, and begin construction by November 4.

Stratford is required to have the roof repaired by December 20. Just in time for Christmas.

If Stratford doesn't meet the agreement, the City has the authority to enter the building and ensure that the work gets done itself, in which case a lien could be placed on the property for the cost of the repairs.

The company has also agreed to fix other violations on the building, including loose and falling bricks and masonry, and non-functional fire sprinklers, within a year. Stratford has five years to fix less urgent code violations such as water damage and rodent infestations.

A recent inspection led to a "dangerous building" classification for Old City Hall, which gives the City this authority. In the meantime, Tacoma passed a new ordinance, which allows the City to step in earlier when a historic structure is being neglected. Maybe with the implementation of those changes a roof could get replaced before the rains begin ...

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Perhaps the city should concurrently obtain bids, permits and financing as a back up for when the yahoos that own the building come up with an excuse.

September 25, 2013 at 7:22 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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In other cities, this would already have been taken care of, or placed on a serious violations list with more stringent requirements.  These people are only holding on to this until the market goes up and then sell it, they have no intention of doing anything here in Tacoma, regardless of what they say, that is why they don’t want to spend money on it.  Why else would a person, or persons not care enough to take preventive measures on their own investment.  The city needs to stop asking and making statements like “a lien could be placed”,  BS, a lien will be placed.  Slumlords need to start getting hammered in this city and realize that we will not tolerate drug houses, derelict buildings, or the continuous abuse of the system.

September 25, 2013 at 7:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred davie

Sid, the city may have the ability to make the repairs and place a lien on the buildings, but the taxpayers have a right to know how much money is being placed at risk. What if the property is sold to satisfy the lien but doesn’t sell for enough to pay us back? Who is going to satisfy the deficiency?

I ‘m not too knowledgable about this particular property but it could be that the true market value for old city hall is much lower than it’s perceived value among historic preservation advocates.

September 25, 2013 at 8:38 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred, what gets me is that the city states that if they do the repairs a “a lien may be placed”.  If we do the repairs there should be no Maybe, it should be done period and fines should have already been placed on this place for not maintaining a structure within city limits up to code.  The city does not realize that people continue to do what they want because they know Tacoma lacks control on many fronts, law enforcement, code enforcement.  I understand what you are saying in regards to value and fully understand.  At the same time though, we are already paying the price of many slumlords.

September 25, 2013 at 9:02 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred davie

Thanks Sid. I’ll return to my question which no one has answered yet. How much money specifically should the taxpayers be willing to make available for old city hall repairs, knowing that even with a combination of liens, fines, and property seizures the funding may never be fully recovered? The city loaned Prium Development $2M several years ago with assurances that we would be repaid. To my knowledge we were never repaid and never will be.

“Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other” Benjamin Franklin

September 25, 2013 at 9:19 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

boot to the head!

September 25, 2013 at 8:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jenny JRegistered

I would be willing to take a bit of a loss on this one, if it means keeping such an important building standing. I think the loss of Old City Hall at that end of town would be detrimental to Tacoma as a whole in ways that the value of the individual property doesn’t capture.

Also, I think paying to fix the roof is worth it, if it prevents greater damages, and possibly the loss of the building over time. It’s not like it costs the city nothing to let it fall down - I’m no engineer, but I’m guessing it’s not cheap to take down a building of that size.

September 25, 2013 at 9:25 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Honeydew Slauson

The City placed a lien on the Luzon Building to cover demolition costs. The building went into tax foreclosure and the City’s lien went “poof.” Fred’s question about how much a building is worth to the community is a fair one. I think this particular building is easily worth the cost of the roof.

September 25, 2013 at 10:12 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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George Webb has no integrity.

Place the lien and annex the building!
How many years is it going to take ?

April 8, 2014 at 10:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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