Historic Washington Building sold for $9.6 million

The historic Washington Building, located at 1019 Pacific Ave. in downtown Tacoma, was sold this week to The Stratford Company, LLC and a group of investors for $9.6 million, according to a statement released today by Colliers International in Tacoma.

The 17-story, terra cotta, 125,000 square foot office building, constructed in 1925 at the corner of Pacific and 11th St., was sold by Washington Building Tacoma Associates, LLC on Aug. 1. Colliers International Tacoma vice president Kim Marvik and sales associate Dominic Accetturo represented the buyer.

Considered by many historians and architects to be a signature downtown Tacoma property, the building has a colorful history dating back to the early Twentieth Century.

Construction of the building was originally started in 1919 by the Scandinavian-American Bank, but was halted when the bank failed, according to information from the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room. The Washington-California Company took over construction. The building was dedicated by the city on June 30, 1925, and officially opened on July 2, 1925.

The structure was touted as the “second tallest building in the Pacific Northwest” (behind Seattle’s Smith Tower), and the Tacoma Daily Ledger reported “the greatest shipment of steel” was unloaded on Sept. 26, 1920 — after being shipped across the country from the East Coast earlier that summer.

Over the years, the Washington Building was home to Brotherhood Cooperative National Bank, Tacoma Oriental Steamship, Blyth & Company, Washington Minor Hospital, Tacoma Club, American Savings & Loan, Tacoma Merchants Credit Union, Great Northern Realty, and United Mutual Savings Bank.

According to the Northwest Room, a scientific zoo containing rabbits and pigs was housed on top of the building in 1928. And on Nov. 9, 1939, the building suffered minor damage in an earthquake that rattled the Puget Sound region.

The State Attorney General’s office currently occupies 34% off the building’s space, and The Vault, a ground floor restaurant, occupies 14% of the space. The remaining space is occupied with smaller tenants — including the Tacoma Daily Index — on short-term leases. According to Colliers, the overall occupancy is approximately 94 percent.

“This building is a Tacoma treasure,” said seller Herb Simon, a long-time Tacoma investor and developer. “It has excellent long-time tenants and reasonable rates. It’s my personal favorite building in Tacoma and we will remain a tenant and consultant on its continued success.”