Exit133 is about Tacoma

Roberson to Buy Tacoma Armory

We’ve often said that more buildings should have turrets. In Tacoma, the historic Washington National Guard Armory building at South 11th and Yakima is one such building and it came on the market recently. Unlike some projects in town, this one didn’t stay on the market long. The News Tribune is reporting that Fred Roberson will pay ​$950,000 for the building. 

The first order of business will be to stabilize the adjacent parking lot, below which is a portion of the armory’s basement. Roberson will need to work with the county, which owns a portion of the lot to address that issue. Then he’ll need to bring the building up to code, and update first floor offices. 

If Roberson fills the existing offices, the large drill space in the center of the building could become an atrium and more offices. The outside of the historic structure will stay more or less as-is. Repairs will come a little at a time, so don’t expect to see the full building open for business immediately. 

Roberson has a good track record of restoring historic spaces around Tacoma,  so the armory will be in good hands. His projects include the Carlton Building, Harmon Lofts, and the Vintage Y. That said, office space seems like an awfully practical use for the fortress-like armory. We can’t help dreaming of more inventive uses.

Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!

Support Exit133



Most cool.

Now it’d be REALLY impressive if he brought back the building shown behind the armory!

June 12, 2013 at 10:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0


The building with the clock tower in the historic photo of the armory is the late-19th C Pierce County Courthouse—which had beautiful woodwork around a multi-floor atriums—which was demolished in the late 1950s to make way for the architecturally bland County-City Building.

June 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0


The old Courthouse was severely damaged in the 1949 earthquake. Rather than fix it they demolished it. A shame, but it was unsafe and way out of style. The City of Destiny couldn’t settle for a broken 19th century building as one of their crown jewels, right?

The County City building is not built on the same site. It’s a few blocks away.

The styling of the “architecturally bland” building is not currently in vogue – the same sentiment that helped doom the old courthouse. Actually, I think both buildings are of nice design. I wish the CC building still had its original modern lines, but additions and updates have turned the overall design into a Dagwood sandwich hodgepodge.

June 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0


Oops, gotta make a correction – the two buildings were much closer to one another than I’d previously learned. Like, next to each other. Not a few blocks away.

I’m not a professional historian, I only play one on the Internet.

June 13, 2013 at 9:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

Post A New Comment

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Potentially Related Articles