TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Jan. 10, 2011 at 2:15pm

Last Call for Heidelberg Brewery Buildings?

What's this? Another old Tacoma building faces demolition by wrecking ball and neglect? That is indeed the case for the former Heidelberg Columbia Brewery Building in downtown Tacoma's Union Station Conservation District. 

But before you start to plan a save-the-Luzon-style vigil or fire off e-mails to your city councilmembers, you should keep in mind that decades of re-modeling and new construction followed by fires and neglect have left the brewery complex stripped of most of its historic significance, according to several studies. An historic buildings inventory report completed in 2003 noted "expansion has totally destroyed any traces of the old brewery." An historic property report completed in 2008 notes "the Heidelberg Brewery has suffered from fires and has decayed to a point where it is not economically feasible to save or restore most parts of its several adjoined buildings. The building complex is in very poor condition. A large number of problems and concerns . . . are the result of age and lack of maintenance over the past years, and some concerns are the result of the poor quality of the original construction." And a dangerous building citation issued by the city in November doesn't help matters.

The property owner (the same group that plans to build a 160-room Holiday Inn Express on an adjacent parcel) has submitted a demolition application to the city's permitting department. It also submitted the application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission -- a requirement because the former brewery sits within the Union Station Conservation District, adjacent to the Union-Depot Warehouse Historic district. 

I wrote about the proposed demolition on Friday for the Tacoma Daily Index. To read the article, click here.

The commission will discuss the matter on Weds., Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 728 St. Helens, Room 16. 

P.S. The gorgeous photograph above is courtesy of Kevin Freitas.

comments [13]  |  posted under Downtown, Heidelberg, Historic Preservation, Tacoma


by jenyum on 1/10/2011 @ 2:45pm
The Pacific Brewery Building at 25th and S Holgate is not far behind. (Not the one in the same complex that Rainier Connect restored, but the one across the street) No one has really given that building any love since prohibition ended.

by dolly varden on 1/10/2011 @ 2:51pm
Better news on the local brewery front:

by jenyum on 1/10/2011 @ 3:26pm
Oh, nice! Wish they'd add a sorghum or rice beer for the wheat and barley impaired.

by The Jinxmedic on 1/10/2011 @ 3:55pm
Sigh. Yet another Ocryx and Joe setting will soon be gone...

by NineInchNachos on 1/10/2011 @ 8:10pm
didn't they loot the signs and door freezes recently? at least a small portion will live on in some rich man's trophy room.

by KevinFreitas on 1/11/2011 @ 6:55am
Bummer to see that water tank/tower go but I'd echo Jen about the Pacific Brewery Building. That's one beauty of a our brick building legacy I'd hate to see go.

So does this mean the Holiday Inn is a go or are the owners just limiting their liability with this demolition?

by Reuben McKnight on 1/11/2011 @ 10:01am

Slight correction: I don't believe the hotel group is the owner of the Heidelberg Building. They do own the parcel to the north, which is the planned location for the hotel.

The issue is confusing, because initially, the hotel was proposed to occupy both the parcel to the north and that on which the Heidelberg currently sits. That plan changed, and the hotel now has a smaller footprint.

The ownership of the Heidelberg has not changed.

For more information, the agenda packet for the Jan 12 meeting of the Landmarks Commission is posted here:

by Reuben McKnight on 1/11/2011 @ 10:30am
The above link has a typo.

Here is the complete web address:

by NineInchNachos on 1/11/2011 @ 10:43am

by Dave_L on 1/11/2011 @ 6:38pm
I wish we had a MOHAI(existing or future)-type facility to house and display things, like they do the old Rainier "R". I hope some things from the brewery days will be saved.

by Jesse on 1/12/2011 @ 3:30pm
Who owns the rights to the Heidelberg recipe?

by The Jinxmedic on 1/12/2011 @ 3:35pm
It's the secret ingredient to Bimbo's sauce...

by Dave_L on 1/12/2011 @ 6:02pm
Hey, related article on historic industrial sites in Seattle.
(Tip courtesy Historic Tacoma newsletter)


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