Spanish Steps 2.0

The City of Tacoma announced on its Twitter feed Nov. 15 that Spanish Steps in the Old City Hall historic...

The City of Tacoma announced on its Twitter feed Nov. 15 that Spanish Steps in the Old City Hall historic district has re-opened after being closed for renovation and rehabilitation.

After years of preparation, Tacoma City Council awarded a $394,992 contract to Pease Construction, Inc. in May for the project, which repaired, restored, or replaced the urns, baluster, newels, post, railing and streetlights along the staircase, and installed pedestrian furnishings, signage, and a new retaining wall to support the steps.

Located near South Seventh Street and Broadway, Spanish Steps was built in 1916 and connects Commerce Street to Broadway. Shoddy patchwork, deferred maintenance, and vandalism have contributed to its decline over the past 60 years. Decorative urns have been toppled and smashed. Several years ago, a driver lost control of his vehicle and drove down the steps. And police officers have long complained the steps serve as an entry point for homeless people seeking shelter inside the adjacent and abandoned Elks Temple building.

The City received nine bids for the project. They ranged from $394,992 to $772,694. In May 2007, the City received a Transportations Enhancement grant totalling $944,000 from the Washington State Department of Transportation for design and repair work. Additional federal funding brings the total purse to $1.2 million.

Developers recently announced the Elks Temple building would be restored and renovated by McMenamins into a combination brewpub, music venue, and hotel. Construction is slated to begin this year, with an opening scheduled for the spring of 2012. Similarly, the City announced it will build a public garage of approximately 280 stalls, in conjunction with a private mixed-use development above the garage that will include a grocery store, retail space and apartments.

Although Spanish Steps has re-opened, work on the hillside landscaping still needs to be completed.

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of the Spanish Steps, click here:

Moving forward on Spanish Steps rehab (08/24/10) —

Contractor selected for Spanish Steps rehab (05/20/10) —

Opening doors to history (05/03/10) —

Open Houses this weekend for historic sites competing for preservation grants (04/28/10) —

Tacoma’s Spanish Steps to vie for $125K historic preservation grant (04/15/10) —

Tacoma moves closer to Spanish Steps rehab (04/01/10) —

The Notes of Spanish Steps (09/30/09) —

Momentum continues for Spanish Steps rehabilitation (07/27/07) —

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