Former tallest building in Tacoma sold off to Seattle developer

Jan 4, 2017, 12:43 PM | Updated: 12:52 pm
The Washington Building in Tacoma was sold and will eventually be converted into an apartment building. (Visitor7/WikiCommons)
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A tower that once held the title of tallest building in Tacoma will be converted into apartments.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the 18-story Washington Building was sold to Seattle’s Unico Properties.

Unico, which owns and operates more than 13 million square feet of office, medical, and multifamily buildings throughout the western United States, spent $9.8 million to acquire the tower that opened in 1925. The seller spent $9.6 million on the building in 2005, according to the Business Journal.

Related: Former Kenmore seminary could become a hotel

The building has had its share of issues. In May, the Tacoma News Tribune reported that the building was slowly falling apart. One tenant who had an office there told the Tribune that there are heating and cooling issues. The Tribune reported that “plants grow from the ledges … and cracks snake through the terracotta tiles.”

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Now, Unico will begin the process of transforming the 124,200 square-foot office building into apartments.

The purchase of the Washington Building continues the trend of developers snatching up aging properties and re-purposing them. In Tacoma, the McMenamin brothers are aiming to open a new hybrid hotel, restaurant, music venue and brewpub in the old Elk’s Lodge by this summer — the first McMenamins opened in Bothell.

Elsewhere, developers are either turning old buildings into apartments, or, in some cases, parking lots.

Unico is aiming to open the Washington Building apartments by summer of 2018.

What are they building?

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Former tallest building in Tacoma sold off to Seattle developer