The Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is considering whether to purchase the Winthrop Hotel building downtown, according to the agency’s executive director.
On Wednesday, THA Executive Director Michael Mirra met with a small group of Winthrop residents, as well as representatives from the Tacoma Police Department, Safe Streets, the City of Tacoma, and the building’s management company to address the issue.
“Rumors are flying that we have made a deal,” said Mirra. “THA was asked if we want to purchase the Winthrop. We don’t know if we can buy it. It’s preliminary at this point.”
Mirra added that THA and the building’s owner, Tacoma-based Prium Companies, “haven’t even entered negotiations yet. We’re looking the building over to try and tell us the condition of the building and what it would mean to own it.”
According to Mirra, THA has discussed the idea with City officials because the city has invested $2 million in the building in the form of a federal Urban Development Action Grant and THA would need the city’s help in order to complete any purchase.
“The city is aware that there is an interest and THA has been doing a vetting process, but the city hasn’t been involved at this point,” said City of Tacoma spokesman Rob McNair-Huff.
If THA does purchase the Winthrop, it would consider two uses for the building:
- Address decades of deferred maintenance by fixing up the building and keeping it in its current use as affordable low-income housing. Mirra estimates the building needs tens of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance and rehabilitation “or at some point the pigeons will move in.”
- Or convert the building into a mixed-use property consisting of low-income housing, market-rate housing, and commercial office and retail space, and lease the ballroom to the public.
THA is expected to conclude its assessment of the building and make a decision in late-summer.
Prium purchased the building in 2007 with plans to restore it to a historic hotel and provide replacement housing for current tenants.
“I hope that we fall under THA,” said Winthrop resident Glenn Grigsby, who has lived in the building for more than 15 years. “I hope it works out.”
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Winthrop Hotel, click on the following links:
- A Building on the Brink: Add nuisance report, falling debris to Winthrop’s woes (Tacoma Daily Index, August 19, 2011)
- A Building on the Brink: A line-item look at Winthrop’s hefty deferred maintenance bill (Tacoma Daily Index, August 10, 2011)
- A Building on the Brink: Property report puts $15.7M price tag on Winthrop Hotel’s deferred maintenance (Tacoma Daily Index, August 9, 2011)
- Leaving The Winthrop (Tacoma Daily Index, August 17, 2010)
- 7-year prison sentence for Winthrop arsonist (Tacoma Daily Index, April 23, 2010)
- Accused Winthrop arsonist pleads guilty (Tacoma Daily Index, February 2, 2010)
- Year In Review: Winthrop Hotel (Tacoma Daily Index, December 29, 2009)
- Living On Edge: Inside the Winthrop arson investigation (Tacoma Daily Index, October 23, 2009)
- Winthrop resident accepts Safe Streets award (Tacoma Daily Index, September 16, 2009)
- Winthrop resident named Safe Streets Superstar (Tacoma Daily Index, September 10, 2009)
- Cleaning up a neighborhood, battling a building’s reputation (Tacoma Daily Index, August 25, 2009)
- Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 reward for Winthrop serial arsonist (Tacoma Daily Index, August 21, 2009)
- Historic hotel or housing? Tough economy shines realistic light on Winthrop development plan(Tacoma Daily Index, August 4, 2009)
- Winthrop history, development ideas equally storied (Tacoma Daily Index, June 4, 2009)
- Inside the Winthrop (Tacoma Daily Index, June 2, 2009)
- THA weighs Winthrop building purchase (Tacoma Daily Index, May 29, 2009)
- One dead in Winthrop Hotel fire (Tacoma Daily Index, March 25, 2008)
- Resolution would sell City-owned property for mixed-income housing (Tacoma Daily Index, October 29, 2007)
- Developer eyes City surplus property for Winthrop Hotel project (Tacoma Daily Index, September 26, 2007)
- Winthrop vote illuminates citys affordable housing concerns (Tacoma Daily Index, March 22, 2006)
- Council resolution on Winthrop rehab expected tonight (Tacoma Daily Index, March 21, 2006)
- Council may vote on whether it supports Winthrop rehabilitation plan (Tacoma Daily Index, March 20, 2006)
- Winthrop repairs mean no evacuations (Tacoma Daily Index, December 19, 2005)
In 2009, the Tacoma Daily Index published a series of interviews with many residents of the Winthrop Hotel. To read the complete series, click on the following links:
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Glenn Grigsby (Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Otha Adams (Tacoma Daily Index, June 26, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Nanette Colby (Tacoma Daily Index, July 15, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: John Heffler (Tacoma Daily Index, July 30, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Allen (Tacoma Daily Index, August 13, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Miller (Tacoma Daily Index, August 20, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Kerry Hudson (Tacoma Daily Index, August 27, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Jessica Creso (Tacoma Daily Index, September 1, 2009)
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 third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also 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.