Year In Review: Historic Hilltop Buildings

Two century-old buildings in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood received renewed interest this year.

The Kellogg-Sicker Building, located at 1114-16 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and the Pochert Building (both pictured), located at 1110-12 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, date back to 1906 and 1904, respectively, and were designed by pioneer Tacoma architect Carl August Darmer. Both properties were purchased by the City of Tacoma in 2005 and sat vacant for years.

Last year, Historic Tacoma, a non-profit organization that advocates for historic preservation, nominated the buildings to Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places. After an extensive review by Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and a series of public meetings, Tacoma City Council approved a resolution in June to add the buildings to the local historic register.

Two months later, councilmembers approved a plan to sell the buildings as part of a larger development proposal that aims to bring housing, commercial, and retail spaces to the neighborhood. According to City of Tacoma staff, the half-acre, City-owned properties will be sold for $100,000 to a development partnership that includes Tacoma Housing Authority and MLK Rehab. MLK Rehab plans to preserve the historic buildings and develop them for market-rate housing on the upper floors and retail spaces on the ground floor. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Tacoma Housing Authority plans to develop the remaining two parcels, located at 1120 and 1124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, as new construction of three to five floors and about 40 to 50 units of workforce affordable housing. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.

The historic Kellogg-Sicker Building and the Pochert Building in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. (PHOTOS COURTESY CAROLINE T. SWOPE / HISTORIC TACOMA)
The historic Kellogg-Sicker Building and the Pochert Building in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. (PHOTOS COURTESY CAROLINE T. SWOPE / HISTORIC TACOMA)

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Kellogg‐Sicker Building and Pochert Building landmark nominations, click on the following links:

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