KFnet in T-Town

Mar. 11, 2008 at 1:04pm

"There's no market"

No love for the Elks

So the Biz Buzz is reporting the latest in a series of disappointments regarding downtown's aging gem Elks building. Market conditions will have the prospective developer shoving the building back out for sale. From the post:

"There's no market," said Williams & Dame principal Homer Williams. "That pretty much sums it all up."

Williams said his company explored a variety of adaptive reuses for the four-story former fraternal gathering place and lot north of the building, but found no use that made economic sense under present market conditions.

"We looked at condos, apartments, offices, you name it," he said. "Nothing could be financed in the current market."

So what do you think should be next for the Elks building? Is it, dare I ask, finally time to scrap it and use that space for something different entirely? If the recent booming real estate market wasn't right for this building to see some love then when could it be? I fear it will take someone with deep pockets and an unabashed love for Tacoma's renaissance without regard for ROI to make it happen. Believe me, if I had the cash flow, I'd be all over it.

comments [15]  |  posted under development, elks building, tacoma, urban renewal

Comments

by Erik on 3/11/2008 @ 1:10pm
So what do you think should be next for the Elks building? Is it, dare I ask, finally time to scrap it and use that space for something different entirely?

A frustrating but expected development. The Elks is one of the hardest to re-use into something else compared to other properties because it has few windows.

The adjacent lot is available for something. The momentum of Stadium will hopefully spill down this way one day. Right now the Elks sits by Winfields.

I can't think of much to add other than I own the Elks Tacomic "Zimmerman's Legacy" the most popular Tacomic of all time:



www.feedtacoma.com/tacomic/?tid=814

by KevinFreitas on 3/11/2008 @ 1:12pm
You think windows is the issue? Really? I would imagine it has more to do with the state of disrepair of the inside of the thing. I imagine the old Eagles Lodge collapse has got developers scared to take on any similar properties. Such a shame.

by Erik on 3/11/2008 @ 1:22pm
You think windows is the issue? Really? I would imagine it has more to do with the state of disrepair of the inside of the thing.

Both. The windows make it difficult to convert it into something with commercial value to justify the renovation cost. The "state of disrepair" certainly makes it expensive.

by KevinFreitas on 3/11/2008 @ 1:35pm
Though certainly not as majestic if a purpose can be found for the Woolworth's building (e.g. huge communication equipment hub) then I'm sure something could be done with the Elks. Not that I'm advocating that sort of use but a creative idea can be applied to any space. I still vote McMenamin's and let's do a pub and theater since Gintz gave up on the Mecca.

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2008 @ 1:52pm
The developers weren't entirely worthless as fixing the roof and knocking down the kitchen has bought us some time atleast to enjoy the sight of the building in a freestanding state. The Zimmerman plan of demolition through neglect must not be allowed to succeed. His ghost is to strong now, and pines to be free of it's prison.

also cowboy wisdom: "If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being 'discovered' by some big shot, your plan will probably fail."

by jenyum on 3/11/2008 @ 3:45pm
Children's Museum!

Winfield's is kinda crumbly, also, I wonder if there'd be much opposition to knocking it down and putting in the green space/parking the museum wants.

Picture a rehabbed Elks as a museum, with a few floors of parking garage in the old Winfield's space, (accessible from Commerce) a green space on the roof, (accessible from Broadway) and a sky bridge to the museum.

That satisfies all their criteria I think, except that it might be fantastically expensive.

by Erik on 3/11/2008 @ 5:06pm
Winfield's is kinda crumbly, also, I wonder if there'd be much opposition to knocking it down and putting in the green space/parking the museum wants.

Good idea. However, why not re-hab David's on Broadway a bit and have the children's museum there?

by KevinFreitas on 3/11/2008 @ 5:11pm
That's a great idea Jen. Some color and activity there would help make that off-ramp/gateway to town more inviting. It's also an org that has a vested interest in wanting to stay here without needing to turn the same kind of profit margins as regular business. That's got my vote!

by NineInchNachos on 3/11/2008 @ 5:14pm
a museum would be a good fit with the 'no windows' problem.

by KevinFreitas on 3/11/2008 @ 5:16pm
Or small ones at least. Don't want tots falling from them anyway. Plus, better control of environment that way.

by jenyum on 3/11/2008 @ 7:52pm
Good idea. However, why not re-hab David's on Broadway a bit and have the children's museum there?

That was my original Children's Museum suggestion, but then with the Elks club back on the market, it seems like that is a much cooler building and would be an asset to downtown. Plus, if you put it in David's/Winfield's and the Elks stays empty you're ruining their "perception of safety" criteria.

by jenyum on 3/11/2008 @ 7:55pm
Here's their criteria, for anyone who is interested. The Elks would be perfect if some green space could be built in.

Building Feasibility
• Ownership or very favorable long term lease
• Accommodate 25,000 sq ft custom construction
• Direct access to green space for outdoor play

Accessibility
• Adjacent or on-site parking, 35-50 stalls
• Easy access from major roads, mass transit
• Perceived as safe

Visibility and Impact
• Prominently located in Tacoma's downtown
• Near cultural or entertainment districts
• Unique family destination

by Erik on 3/11/2008 @ 9:27pm
That was my original Children's Museum suggestion, but then with the Elks club back on the market, it seems like that is a much cooler building and would be an asset to downtown. Plus, if you put it in David's/Winfield's and the Elks stays empty you're ruining their "perception of safety" criteria.

No doubt you are right. However, The Elks needs a ton more work than Davids on Broadway. Millions more.

by KevinFreitas on 3/12/2008 @ 8:07am
My question: How much more money (if any) would be needed to revive the Elks versus building a new space for the Children's Museum? I can't believe that renovating that building would cost more than a brand new facility.

by fredo on 3/12/2008 @ 11:18am
There are many good ideas here regarding the Elks Building. My opinion is that the current economic climate is going to prohibit any immediate renovation but it's certainly not too soon to start thinking "what if?"

There is another property in Tacoma which is rarely mentioned regarding rehabilitation and I think is highly deserving. I'm writing about the old Pacific Brewing Company buildings just up the hill from the Pink Elephant carwash. Almost nowhere in the US will you find an almost intact set of brewery structures from the late 1800's-the heydey of local breweries. The city of Denver refurbished the old Tivoli brewery (a little bigger, I think, than the Pacific buildings) and I would like to see the same thing happen in Tacoma.
Unlike the Elks, it does seem to have some tenants, but I'm afraid it is going to take some TLC to improve it's long term prospects. Tacoma's already lost the Marinoff Brewery across the street from Brown and Haley, and now the Heidelberg is going to be torn down. Where will it stop? Do the readers of this blog know the property I'm referring to, and will you share your opinions if you have any?

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