Article Date: February 1st, 2011
Category: Heritage Briefs
After front-page publicity, pressure from state and local preservationists, and intervention by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Washington State Department of Transportation has backed off from its initial plan to demolish a Pioneer Square warehouse to make way for the waterfront tunnel project.
The 619 Western building, a century-old warehouse, currently hosts over 100 artistsâ€™ studios. According to Crosscut.com, early last month those artists thought they were going to have to find new work spaces due to the buildingâ€™s date with a wrecking ball. By monthâ€™s end, they had won a reprieve â€“ of sorts.
DOT planners are reconsidering their options, and while it appears that demolition is off the table, the various types of repair and reinforcement now being looked at are going to be substantial enough that building inhabitants still will be required to vacate the building. Once improvements are made, the rents will likely go up, making the space less affordable.
The DOT plans to bore beneath Pioneer Square in the fall of 2013, giving it less than three years to reconcile the condition of 619 Western.