Tacoma's historic Perkins Building rededicated

With a local orchestra providing music and caterers supplying food, visitors enjoyed a relaxed and classy atmosphere at yesterday’s grand opening of Tacoma’s historic Perkins Building.

City and business officials, those connected with the project and members of the public got a chance to tour the upgraded Perkins Building during the ceremony, where members of the Tacoma City Council rededicated the brownstone landmark.

Renovations include a new roof, restoration of the building’s brick facade, an entry with a historic feel and on site parking in the basement.

Owners Gary Bodenstab and Bob Hollister of Seattle, who bought the building in March 1997, originally wanted to turn the building into office space. They decided to change their focus last year when the high-tech office market sagged, instead going with a mixed residential, office and retail space plan.

Floors five through seven of the 8-story, 88,000-square-foot (gross floor area) are one-and-two-bedroom luxury apartments, many with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and Commencement Bay.

The fourth floor is home to Optic Fusion, a high-speed telecommunications company. The second and third floors are commercial office space, with Optic Fusion possibly expanding to occupy the third floor, Bodenstab said.

As for the first floor, he stated, “We’re looking for restaurants or retail establishments.”

The eighth floor, which is not completed yet, will also contain apartments, or perhaps condominiums, Bodenstab explained.

The Perkins Building was recently placed on the National Historic Register, so maintaining the building’s old-style was important.

“This is my signature,” Bodenstab said of keeping the building’s historic feel.

Construction on the Perkins Building, located at 1101 A Street, was completed in 1907, and it was one of the first reinforced concrete buildings built in the world. It was home to two of Tacoma’s daily newspapers, the Ledger and the News, owned by early 1900s icon and building namesake Sam Perkins. The building also served as the original interim home of the the University of Washington Tacoma in 1990.

The cost of refurbishing this Tacoma fixture ran between $8 million and $9 million, Bodenstab said. The project’s general contractor is Mountain View Construction Company of Tacoma. Seattle-based Sclater Partners Architects is the project’s architect.

For more information on the Perkins Building, visit their Web site at:


Bodenstab has high hopes for the building, which is within easy walking distance of Tacoma’s Central Business District, museums, parks and Broadway Theater District.

Of the 31 apartments available, which run from just under $1,000 a month to almost $1,900 a month, about one-third of them have been leased already, with the rest expected to go quickly.

“We’re really excited about it,” Bodenstab said.