Tacoma Urbanist

Dec. 5, 2007 at 12:23am

Exclusive: Pre-Opening : Bank of California Transformed into: The Forum

The Bank of California Building is about to make a grand re-entry in downtown Tacoma.  There is nothing subtle about the lobby.  It is beyond grand and is downright awe-inspiring.

Offices have been used upstairs for months but no activity in the lobby.  Today, I  was allowed in and they turned the lights on for a couple of shots.

The business running the event hall is called The Forum.  Tomorrow, Thursday December 6th, The Forum will be having a kick off event which is sold out (even though the tickets are free).  I regrettably declined a ticket to it but I am going to guess a blogger or two obtained one.  I will try to sneak in anyway.

The former Bank of California Building has the potential to have great events in it.  It needs to as the place is so large.  There is simply nothing like this in the city.

Walking through the lobby takes one back to a time where Tacoma perceived of itself as first rate, beholden to no one with no holds barred.

Here some shots off of their web page:

Here's their web page:

The Forum currently resides at 1011 Pacific Avenue in beautiful downtown Tacoma, Washington. The Forum is located near the Puget Sound area with beautiful sounds of Commencement Bay to the back side of the Forum. The Forum's building is built with Greco-Roman pillars sculptured from Wilkenson Sandstone into a grand hall lined with marble, gold flake and rich walnut wood. This building originated as a banking hall with dimensions at 105 feet by 70 feet, encircling an open space that rises 45 feet at its peak. It also boasts Roman head casts line the perimeter near the coffered ceiling and four magnificent chandeliers highlighting 18 hand-blown Belgian glass globes that expand the length of the hall.

The Actual design of the Forum was overseen by architect John Graham, in which he was nicknamed "The Commodore" for his nautical expertise. John Graham emigrated from England to the Puget Sound area becoming the area's foremost architects whose designs included Seattle's Dexter's Horton Building, Frederick & Nelson and Bon Marche' stores, and the Virginia Mason Hospital. Graham took on the challenge of building the Bank of California, now The Forum, with the idea of transplanting an Athenian temple crossed with the 1893 Columbian Exposition building in Chicago.

comments [6]  |  posted under bank of california, downtown, tacoma, washington


by KevinFreitas on 12/5/2007 @ 9:08am
Wow, thanks for sharing Erik. Doesn't matter if a blogger or two got tickets to the opening event -- you got in there already! Nice work fellow blogger and I hope to attend an event there someday.

by Erik on 12/5/2007 @ 11:50am

When we have the FeedTacoma retreat at the beginning of the year, we can discuss having the FeedTacoma "meet ups" here rather than at PSP as membership increases.

by morgan on 12/5/2007 @ 10:41pm
Nice scoop, Erik!

A wedding/event rental hall?! THAT is unexpected!

I checked out their website. They should really consider getting a professional to design their website- especially at the rates they are asking to rent out the hall! It's nice to see they have Gallucci's as a featured caterer though - they do good work. I've been to a couple of events catered by them.

by Erik on 12/6/2007 @ 12:07am
I checked out their website. They should really consider getting a professional to design their website- especially at the rates they are asking to rent out the hall!

Your right. They did get a couple of good shots in.

They need to follow the model of the Landmark Convention Center who is really booking alot of events and flooding the Stadium District. (That's good by the way).


Hmm. Didn't realize they had such a photo archive.

by Erik on 12/6/2007 @ 12:09am

by Erik on 12/6/2007 @ 12:10am