chrism39's Blog

Jun. 5, 2008 at 11:13am

10,000 square foot monstrosity

 About two years ago I was on a familiar run, down stevens, down 46h around that crazy corner when I was struck immobile by a vast pile of rubble where a beautiful brick tudor used to sit. At that point I had been running by that gorgeous house for two years and I was shocked to see it gone. After some detective work I found out that Frank Russel's son bought the house and tore it down. To my knowledge he never told anyone his plans and offered no opportunity to salvage. Now I know that it is his property and he can do whatever he wants, but the house is ugly! It doesn't look like it belongs in the neighborhood, it has no symetry and as i mentioned before it is 10,000 square feet. I have a large degree of animosity for this man and I don't even know him. I wonder why? Could it be the garish display of wealth? Or is it the fact that their was a stairway from a historic building that was just demolished. I don't know, but today I talked to one of his contractors and apparantly many of his neighbors share my sentiment. So should people be able to just blithely tear down beautiful old houses and put up ugly huge mcmansions or should we strive for preservation 

comments [17]  |  posted under 000 square foot monstrosity, 10


by fredo on 6/5/2008 @ 1:10pm
Agreed. A number of trees on public right of way were removed to accomodate this construction. Don't know if the removal was permitted.

by Erik on 6/5/2008 @ 1:11pm
Can you post a picture?

by Twisty on 6/5/2008 @ 1:23pm
There was some coverage in the TNT back in 2004-05, in case anybody is interested enough to pay for it.

by thriceallamerican on 6/5/2008 @ 1:56pm
Or search the blogosphere, where the story broke (at least outside the confines of concerned folks in the immediate neighborhood). The story is too old for the FeedTacoma search function to find it, but some early stories:

ThriceAllAmerican (I got the story because Derek was out of town and Jake–thanks again for the tip–needed someone to mention it)

Another of my posts with several links to other sites

This and this on Exit133...

Unfortunately all of the TNT blog posts apparently no longer are accessible, at least at their original permalinks. I'm too lazy to dig for more.

by TopsyTurvyTTtown on 6/5/2008 @ 2:02pm
I'm new to that neighborhood so I never saw the original building, but I do agree, the house is kind of ugly... and planting trees to block people's view is not cool at all!

by KevinFreitas on 6/5/2008 @ 2:04pm
I snapped some pics of the immediate aftermath of demolition as well. A shame -- and you can tell the neighbors haven't been happy. They had signs made up specifically to tell the contractors not to park in front of their houses. The new place is gigantic and eats up nearly all the good views from that neighborhood. To get the same effect one can only now brave traffic along the nearby curve.

by thriceallamerican on 6/5/2008 @ 2:36pm
Sorry Kev, didn't mean to sleight you there...

by KevinFreitas on 6/5/2008 @ 2:49pm
Haha, no worries at all. I kinda' forgot I'd written about it too. Seems like so long ago...

I'm sure it would make the new resident unhappy but it would sure be cool if some kind of public viewpoint could be made from that corner. It's such a stunning view that everyone should be able to enjoy. Maybe something like a mini version Crown Point's Vista House in Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge?

by chrism39 on 6/5/2008 @ 3:35pm
Now that I have read the other posts i'm left feeling even more angry. They had a paintball party? what a bunch od A holes. Don't they know that this area has many salvage lots ( second use, reharvest) and that people could have used the windows, doors, door knobs, cabinets, hardwood flooring, trim, mantles. It fills with such longing to think about what could have been done with the contents of that house. I highly doubt it was in ruin. What a bunch of jerks. My aunt lives in this small town in marin county, lots of old houses well they have an ordinance against things like this and that is what I would like to see happen in tacoma.

by fredo on 6/5/2008 @ 6:52pm
Twisty said the TNT stories were from 2004-2005 but I think It's much more recent. The tear down and rebuild was within the last year, I would estimate last fall.

by Twisty on 6/5/2008 @ 7:13pm
Mmm... I was living around the corner from there at the time, in 2005. I'm pretty sure that's when it all went down (sorry for the pun).

Say... what happened to the thread about the crosswalks, fredo? I can't find it now.

by jcbetty on 6/5/2008 @ 7:24pm
I'm conflicted. Is it ugly? Possibly. Was the old house amazing? Oh yeah. WIll the new trees obstruct views and piss neighbors off? Yep. --Even still, it's their land, and it was their potentially mold-infested house to take down. I have to say, as the house was being built (I think it's been two years in the making) I was feeling sick to my gut. Now, I see it as somewhat garish and more suited to, like, Gig Harbor or something. But ultimately, I have to be a bit pleased they didn't build a high-rise crazy thing with a 10 foot stone wall and completely screw the 'hood.
And ultimately ultimately? ...well... they bought the property. They followed zoning ordinances, they did what they needed to to get through the building red tape. Power to the people (with the cash.)

by fredo on 6/5/2008 @ 7:27pm
Twisty, the crosswalk thread is under eastside neighborhood. Thanks for commenting.

by Twisty on 6/5/2008 @ 8:08pm
OK, I guess I was off on the year. Peter Callaghan wrote an article on May 21, 2006. PC Assessor shows year built as 2007 -- probably year completed, I would say.

Parcel # is 9805000170, for those feeling nosy. And good grief, look at the #s!

SF - 7708
Bedrooms - 6
Bathrooms - 6.5
Fireplaces - 3
Total assessed value - ~$1.6M

An ironic note:
"Zoning: R2-VSD - One Family Dwelling, View Sensitive"

'Sensitive'? Hmph.

by Jake on 6/5/2008 @ 8:20pm
I am pretty sure the new house is sunken down to be a lot lower then the old house. They could have gone up about 35' from the N 46th Street frontage. Right now you can barely even see the thing from North 46th. I think they were thinking of the neighbors views a little bit.

by escaping slave on 6/10/2008 @ 7:18pm
"So should people be able to just blithely tear down beautiful old houses and put up ugly huge mcmansions or should we strive for preservation"

Beautiful, old, ugly, huge...all relative terms. And it is their land, as I believe others have pointed out, so it's theirs to do with as they please, so long as they are not harming anyone else or anyone else's property.

I concur, it is a monstrosity, as are many other houses being built in the area. You can't really blame the owner though for what the city permits them to do, now, can you? They had to get it checked off first, so someone could have told them no. Plus, the money they pay for the permission of building on their land goes to this "wonderful" city and county, and then it's up to our elected officials and their appointees to properly use that money to best benefit us, the people. So hopefully with that monstrosity came their fair share of taxes paid to our city and county that will in turn help the general welfare. Unless of course it's owned by a corporation, then no such luck.

And what is worth preserving? That also is in the eye of the beholder.

by Erik on 6/10/2008 @ 7:23pm
The loss of a historic house was sad.

And it is their land, as I believe others have pointed out, so it's theirs to do with as they please, so long as they are not harming anyone else or anyone else's property.

Have to agree with that. What is the "problem" with a large expensive house in the city. Seems reactionary without any identifiable problem.

Its better they put it in the city than in a 5 acre plot in the suburbs. I am not going to morn the loss of a meaningless fertilized suburban buffer that is mowed twice a week.


community matters, my kids, running and whatever pops in my head

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