Tacoma Landmarks Commission briefing planned for historic Winthrop Hotel

Are you interested in learning more about the future of the historic Winthrop Hotel in downtown Tacoma? If so, a public meeting next week at Tacoma City Hall could offer some insight.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will be briefed Wednesday on the latest property condition report for the 12-story, 90-year-old former hotel, which is located at 776 Commerce St. in the city’s Old City Hall Historic District, and listed on Tacoma, Washington State, and national historic registers. At one point, the grand hotel boasted a penthouse suite (see “Inside the Winthrop,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 2, 2009) and offered live entertainment in the Crystal Ballroom.

The building was converted to apartment housing for seniors 40 years ago (see “Winthrop history, development ideas equally storied,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 4, 2009), and currently offers nearly 200 apartment homes that serve residents in need of low-income and affordable housing. Tacoma-based Prium Companies purchased the Winthrop Hotel in 2007. Three years later, the building was back on the market after the company’s co-founders declared bankruptcy. Burlingame, Calif.-based Redwood Housing Partners purchased the property last year.

A property condition assessment report prepared nearly six years ago showed the building was in need of nearly $16 million in repairs and upgrades (see “A Building on the Brink: Add nuisance report, falling debris to Winthrop’s woes,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 19, 2011; “A Building on the Brink: A line-item look at Winthrop’s hefty deferred maintenance bill,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 10, 2011; and “A Building on the Brink: Property report puts $15.7M price tag on Winthrop Hotel’s deferred maintenance,” Tacoma Daily Index, Aug. 9, 2011).

Les Tonkin, a principal architect at Tonkin Architecture, is scheduled to brief Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on the latest assessment during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Weds., Jan. 28, at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Conference Room 248, in downtown Tacoma. Copies of the agenda, meeting materials, and property condition assessment report are available online here.

***UPDATE*** Tues., Jan. 27 @ 2:40 p.m. – If you have followed news surrounding the former Winthrop Hotel, the latest property condition assessment report will probably pique your interest because it provides a glimpse inside two areas of the building typically off-limits to the general public — the penthouse suite and the Crystal Ballroom. Here are some interesting details.

Regarding the penthouse suite, here are some images from the report:

Here is the report’s “Description of Existing Condition and Proposed Work” for the penthouse suite:


Regarding the Crystal Ballroom, here is a photo from the report:


Here is the report’s “Description of Existing Condition and Proposed Work” for the Crystal Ballroom:


In 2009, the Tacoma Daily Index published a series of interviews with residents of the Winthrop Hotel. To read the complete series, click on the following links:

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Winthrop Hotel, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and author of A Reporter At Large: A decade of Tacoma interviews, feature articles, and photographs and Wah Mee. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.