Old City Hall - Progress Report

We all know Tacoma’s Old City Hall has a water problem. As reported in the Tacoma News Tribune yesterday, the group that owns the building is also dealing with a bit of financial trouble. Foreclosure proceedings have been initiated by the bank holding the mortgage, which cited $156,000 in missed loan payments since February, over $100,000 in taxes owed and about $38,000 in various fees.

The ownership group expects to resolve these financial issues before Old City Hall is scheduled to be auctioned on January 7th. They have also reported that assessment of damage to the building has taken place (water mitigation and environmental studies) for insurance purposes, but that repair work is unlikely to begin until after the loan issues are addressed.

Tomorrow’s City Council study session will include an update on the status of Old City Hall (no public comment time). It should be interesting to hear what new information – if any – will emerge.

The unfortunate situation at Old City Hall has ignited serious discussion about Tacoma’s historic buildings. Since last year, the city has been preparing a host of recommended revisions to current development codes, with the goal of avoiding the deterioration and loss of historic structures. The savvy and experienced preservationists at Historic Tacoma have suggested that the City consider the creation of a Public Development Authority focused on the proactive protection and use of historic buildings.

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Also, thanks everyone for your helpful and informative posts/updates.

December 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Great update with specifics.

My recommendations is that someone secure one of these

December 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Vote on what you’d like to see happen:


(Can also add your own options if you don’t like the ones listed, options have to be short or they get cut off.)

December 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Let me try that again and see if this works:


December 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

We need to put in place an Embedded Energy Credit – <span class=“caps”>NOW</span>.

The Council could do this in two sessions and give the City a wonderful Christmas/New Years present…

December 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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The Tacoma Planning and Landmarks Preservation commissions are reviewing a Historic Preservation plan element that will set all the major policies regarding historic preservation for the city currently… get involved.

December 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik B.

Weeks later, some clean up crews have finally arrived but a ton of damage has taken place already.


December 15, 2010 at 11:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

@6 Agreed. We have file cabinets at City Hall full of plans and studies. When the latest plan was unveiled it contained no provisions for acknowledging that the “greenest” building is one that is already built. The glitter of <span class=“caps”>LEEDS</span> tends toward building new high tech buildings using massive quantities of new energy in their construction.

The property tax breaks from the feds, state, and local only go so far in supporting those property owning entities (<span class=“caps”>POE</span>) in efforts to save, preserve, and restore historic structures.

I’ve spoken to several council members in detail about how the City could, without waiting for next summer’s council vote on the preservation plan, provide an additional real money solution for non-tax paying entities such as non-profits, faith based organizations and quasi-governmental bodies.

For example, the Salvation Army might be more inclined to support the Wedge District proposal if they could reap some financial benefit from upgrading and keeping the historic properties they own there.

Many of our large churches, which have been demolished, might have been saved inf the congregations had an energy credit off-set for their power, water, and sewage.

We own our power, water, and waste management providers and creating a method for a <span class=“caps”>POE</span> to restore an existing structure and offset real energy costs of the operation of that facility is an immediate and substantial value.

December 16, 2010 at 7:32 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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“…the “greenest” building is one that is already built. The glitter of <span class=“caps”>LEEDS</span> tends toward building new high tech buildings using massive quantities of new energy in their construction.”

Agreed.  It reminds me of a current large high-profile <span class=“caps”>LEED</span> project in a nearby city, where virtually none of the contractors are local (some local contractors weren’t even allowed an opportunity to bid), but are commuting from many miles away.  At night, every light on every floor of the project is on.  <span class=“caps”>LEED</span> has to be more than a feather-in-the-cap of city officials, GC’s and architects.  It has to be tempered with common sense, costs, and an often ignored facet, ongoing and future maintenance.

December 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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