TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Sep. 15, 2009 at 1:37pm

City Set to Demolish Luzon

Breaking news from the Tacoma City Council study session . . .

. . . the article will be updated as the study session continues.

comments [22]  |  posted under Downtown, Luzon, Tacoma


by Erik on 9/15/2009 @ 1:47pm
Oh boy.

I guess another comic came true:

Now the adjacent parking will be expanded making an even greater dead zone in the middle of downtown.

by KevinFreitas on 9/15/2009 @ 1:47pm
Wow, think I'll head out some evening this week on a little photo shoot. Any other takers? I'm thinking Thurs. night.

Some sad days here in Tacoma...

by Nick on 9/15/2009 @ 1:48pm
Sad indeed - at what point was this a better option than Gintz selling it to the developer that was ready to roll on fixing it? Looks like Gintz went all in and lost the pot...

by ixia on 9/15/2009 @ 1:49pm
The city had no problem restoring a parking garage....what a screwed up sense of value.

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 1:51pm
Our mystery artist better kick it into high gear.

@Erik, the CLAW sees all.

by Nick on 9/15/2009 @ 1:55pm
To expand on RR's cartoon, I think we just couldn't afford to see the dentist in time, and now the tooth has to be pulled.

by Nick on 9/15/2009 @ 1:56pm
Well, on the bright side we now have another block that could accomodate the footprint of a larger highrise. Not that we'll see that in our lifetimes but...

by KevinFreitas on 9/15/2009 @ 1:58pm
It's sure be nice to see that entire chasm filled in e.g. where the Luzon will soon have once stood and that damn parking lot next to it.

RIP Luzon.

by Erik on 9/15/2009 @ 2:08pm
Wow, think I'll head out some evening this week on a little photo shoot. Any other takers? I'm thinking Thurs. night.

Don't forget to photograph yet another demolition Kevin, one of your specialties.

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 2:48pm
Gintz was able to save the porn theatre.
win some lose some.

by NSHDscott on 9/15/2009 @ 2:52pm
Seems to me like Gintz would actually benefit from the tear-down. I don't recall the exact figure but I remember thinking they bought that building (and more importantly, that land) for a real steal. I wouldn't be surprised if the land is worth more than they paid, even after the demolition costs. Of course, the value of the land could only really be realized if something money-producing was actually built on that land ...

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/15/2009 @ 3:12pm
As much as I'd love to see the Luzon restored, maybe it's just too far gone? There is a certain point where the damage and dilapidation is just too great to overcome. Add in the safety hazard, and I can see why the city is doing this.

Normally, I'm against wanton destruction of buildings, but think about what if this thing comes down one night and causes $Millions of damage to Pac Plaza? What if it crumbles in a non-expected direction and comes down on the bLink as it goes past?

It really is a hazard, and Gintz, much like Prium, bit off more than they could chew... in addition to the worst lending environment in 80 years.

I do, however wonder if Gintz has something up their sleeves. I mean, this is the only project that I know of that they couldn't get done (unlike Prium).

It's a sad day and a sad loss... but Apathy is the cause. If someone had bothered to care, this wouldn't have gotten this bad.

by morgan on 9/15/2009 @ 3:17pm
This is a sad, sad day in Tacoma's history. Too little, too late.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/15/2009 @ 4:05pm
Why give a liver transplant to an 80 year-old alcoholic with stage 2 liver cancer?

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 4:47pm
you sound like one of obama's death panels. Say away from Trig!

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/15/2009 @ 4:55pm
No, the Death Panel is more like:

Why give a coronary bypass to a 61 year old? Their usefulness as a tax payer is over.
Disabled? Old? Homeless? Undesirable ethnicity? If you can't work, thus pay taxes, you're obsolete... please take this dose of Quietus. It's free!

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 4:57pm
cut an runner!

by The Jinxmedic on 9/16/2009 @ 7:59am
Soylent Green is people!

by morgan on 9/16/2009 @ 9:18am
This email was just sent out from Historic Tacoma:

After recent structural assessments and no owner action to stabilize or rehabilitate the building, the City has decided to take emergency action and demolish the fabled 1891 Luzon Building on Pacific Avenue due to its public safety threat. According to Charlie Solverson, director of Building and Land Use Services for the City, the building is in a state of "progressive collapse" with instability of all four exterior walls, collapse of interior beams, and a 6" deflection or bowing at the top of one wall. Because of the threat to public safety, the City plans to demolish the property soon, probably the weekend of Sept 26/27.
Solverson notes that the City does not believe it is feasible to stabilize the building given its condition unless rehabilitation could commence immediately. Gintz Group, the owner, does not have the capability to rehab and recently declined to sell to a buyer who did have the equity to stabilize and begin rehab. Demolition and asbestos clean-up expense is estimated at $600K; the City will place a lien on the property as a result.
The City is committed to trying to salvage historic elements and building materials. Historic Tacoma is working to connect qualified deconstruction and salvage firms with Mr. Solverson's office. The City also plans to document the building before demolition.

After watching and contributing to discussion of possible solutions for the past year, Historic Tacoma believes:
* Dating back to County ownership of the building, there were a number of missed opportunities to rehab the building when it was still in good condition. We know of at least one potential buyer who was turned away by the County 10 years ago, because he declined to buy the whole block.
* Salvage and re-use of building materials is an environmentally preferable solution to the landfill. Because of the fryable asbestos and delicate building condition, deconstruction will probably not be possible.
* The City Manager and staff in the Economic Development Department made strenuous efforts to find a buyer who could stabilize and rehabilitate the building. Most of the cards were in the hands of the owner. There is no joy in City Hall over this decision.
* The City should explore establishing a Public Development Authority (PDA) devoted to historic preservation, working exclusively on properties like the Luzon and other structures listed on Historic Tacoma's Watch List, which are difficult for developers to take on.

We mourn the pending loss of the Luzon, the City's most significant architectural treasure -- it was a break-through structure for the Chicago firm of Burnham & Root and commanded a striking presence on Pacific Avenue for many years.
But we must take the lessons learned from this and the demolition of 1st United Methodist Church in 2007 and put policies and incentives in place to preserve significant historic structures which have just recently come to be regarded as assets and economic development tools for the City.
Historic Tacoma continues to take a leadership role but broad-based community support is needed to embed two values among our leaders, developers, and property owners: environmental sustainability and historic preservation. Hmmm, there's an election coming up.
For more details see Todd Matthew's 9/15 article in the Tacoma Daily Index .

by The Jinxmedic on 9/16/2009 @ 10:39am
The city seems to "learn lessons" from every irreplaceable historic building that gets torn down.

Those guys must be like totally really smart by now, with all them lessons to get learned from and stuff.

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 9/22/2009 @ 1:32pm

Update here:

by ixia on 9/22/2009 @ 1:36pm
"Erik Anderson stated repeatedly, “There is no hope.”
Let's move Anderson from the manger's position to the Economic Development Department. They have been working under Andersons' motto for some time already.
On second thought: let's just send him home. He's done enough for us!


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