2 warehouse district buildings join Tacoma’s historic register

Two buildings dating back more than 100 years and located in Tacoma’s former bustling warehouse district will join the City of Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places.

The former J. E. Aubry Wagon & Auto Works Building, located 2015 S. C St., was built in 1910 by architect O. F. Larson (who also designed the Olympus Hotel in downtown Tacoma, as well as Jason Lee Middle School), according to a nomination prepared by Susan Johnson, an architectural historian at Tacoma-based Artifacts Consulting. The building’s original owner, J. E. Aubry, serviced wagons and carriages out of the three-story brick building. Aubry later shifted his focus to repairing automobile as modes of transportation changed.

The former Hunt Mottet Warehouse, located at 2109-2115 S. C St., was built in 1907 by the architectural firm Bullard and Hill, which also designed the historic J. B. Stevens Garage, otherwise known as the “Graffiti Garage,” in downtown Tacoma, according to the nomination, which was also prepared by Johnson. The building’s original owner, Frederick Mottet, operated the Hunt Mottet Company, a wholesale hardware distributor serving the local logging, farming, and mining industries.

The nominations were submitted by Horizon Commerce Partners, a Tacoma-based commercial real estate and investment company that owns both buildings. In 2005, the developer renovated another historic building in the neighborhood — the seven-story, 20-unit Hunt Mottet Lofts at 2125 S. Commerce St.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed the nominations in December to determine whether the buildings met criteria required to be nominated to the local historic register. A public hearing on the nominations was held in February.

“Both [of these buildings] are emblematic of the type of development that occurred in this industrial area at the early part of the 20th Century,” said City of Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight during a city council meeting Tuesday. Tacoma City Council approved a resolution during the meeting to place the buildings on Tacoma’s historic register.

McKnight noted the owner plans to use tax incentives available to historic properties in order to rehabilitate both buildings.

Nominations to place the former J. E. Aubry Wagon & Auto Works Building, built in 1910 and located at 2015 S. C St., and the former Hunt Mottet Warehouse, built in 1907 and located 2109-2115 S. C St., were prepared by Susan Johnson, an architectural historian at Tacoma-based Artifacts Consulting, on behalf of Horizon Commerce Partners, which owns both properties. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Nominations to place the former J. E. Aubry Wagon & Auto Works Building, built in 1910 and located at 2015 S. C St., and the former Hunt Mottet Warehouse, built in 1907 and located 2109-2115 S. C St., were prepared by Susan Johnson, an architectural historian at Tacoma-based Artifacts Consulting, on behalf of Horizon Commerce Partners, which owns both properties. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of the former J. E. Aubry Wagon & Auto Works Building and the former Hunt Mottet Warehouse, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengerssecond-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.