TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Feb. 25, 2009 at 8:53am

Gentlemen's Club. Pool Hall. Historic Landmark?

1890 University-Union Club building nominated to city's historic register

The non-profit preservation advocacy group Historic Tacoma announced today it has nominated the 1890 University-Union Club building (a.k.a., David's On Broadway, Winfield's) to the local register of historic places.

I wrote a story for today's edition of the Index. It's online here.

Earlier this month, I met with Historic Tacoma's Brett Santhuff to discuss the nomination he wrote. The building, located at 539 Broadway, has been for sale for $3.5 million since 2007. In recent years it has been a restaurant, rock club, bar, and pool hall. Santhuff told me Historic Tacoma submitted the nomination because the building "lacked demolition protection and community members feared the property might be purchased by someone who valued the land more than the history." Last year, Historic Tacoma put the building on its Watch List of endangered properties.

The nomination is scheduled to receive a preliminary review by Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission March 11.

I shot this photograph of the building a couple weeks ago . . .

comments [6]  |  posted under Historic Preservation, Tacoma


by intacoma on 2/25/2009 @ 9:47am
I hope it becomes a gentlemens club again, its not fair that women get to have all of these spas and nail places...what do us men get...?

Vote yes to convert this back to a place for gentlemen!

by NSHDscott on 2/25/2009 @ 10:03am
I'm in full support of this effort. This is a civic treasure in need of protection. I only wish the city could somehow enable its renaissance through some sort of incentive. Maybe it'll happen when the project next door involving the Elks Temple gets completed.

Sure would be nice to see those power lines moved underground, wouldn't it?

by Erik on 2/25/2009 @ 11:36am
The Tribune is reporting that the owners are resisting the effort.

The 1890 colonial revival building, 539 Broadway, clearly deserves historic status. But the owners, the family of David Smith, don't want the historic designation while it has the property up for sale.

Not evey old building in Tacoma should be preserved. But preserving the University-Union Club building and placing it on the register is certainly appropriate.

Placing a building on the register with resistant owners will be a good test of historic registry system in Tacoma.

by morgan on 2/25/2009 @ 11:48am
I can't believe this building isn't already on the list!

A couple additions to Todd's article: by having historic status, new avenues of funding for renovation work become available. That's the incentive. It should also be noted though, that simply having historic status does not necessarily prevent a determined owner from demolition their building.

by NineInchNachos on 2/25/2009 @ 5:20pm
the TACOMIC does not support this communist endeavor. Demolition through neglect is an important tool for capitalist entrepreneurs.

by fredo on 2/25/2009 @ 6:58pm
My friends had a little rock band back in the 80s that had a gig there. The guy who owned the place, David, insisted that all men working in the building wear ties. This precipitated quite a confrontation, but eventually the band was all wearing ties. If this place returns to use as a men's club I think we should honor Davids spirit by requiring some common item of apparel, though a Fez would be better.


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