First Historic District Nominated in Seattle in Over 20 Years
On February 2, 2011, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board unanimously nominated the former Naval Air Station Seattle (commonly known as Magnuson Park in Sand Point) as a landmark district. This is huge news because this is the first district to be nominated in Seattle since 1988 when Fort Lawton was designated. Friends of NAS Seattle Historic District (led by Lynn Ferguson) submitted the nomination to the City Historic Preservation Program. Most of the content of the nomination was borrowed from the National Register of Historic Places district nomination prepared by Artifacts Consulting for the City in 2009. The district was listed in the National Register at the national significance level in July 2010.
The district was nominated based on meeting four standards which are highlighted on the Friends of NAS Seattle Historic District’s website. At the nomination meeting, local preservation groups including Historic Seattle, the Queen Anne Historical Society, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation spoke in support of the nomination. Other supporters of the nomination included former Navy officers who worked or lived on the base. Their testimony was important because they offered direct ties to the historic significance of the site. Seattle Parks and Recreation (as a property owner) cautiously supported the nomination but would like to see flexibility in design review and controls and incentives in the future. The University of Washington submitted a letter to the City objecting to the nomination and would like to see the buildings it owns removed from the district, citing lack of jurisdiction by the City over State-owned property. This is not a matter to be decided by the Landmarks Preservation Board and is not part of the consideration of whether the district should be nominated or not. The designation hearing for the district is scheduled for March 16, 2011. Download the nomination on the City’s website.
Update on the Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead–Headed Toward Restoration?
Last fall, Historic Seattle worked closely with investors on plans to purchase the Alki Homestead. During our due diligence phase, we retained the services of Leavengood Architects to conduct a building condition assessment on the property, which concluded the building can be rehabilitated. Funding for the assessment report was provided by 4Culture’s Real Estate Action Fund. Unfortunately, we did not come to terms with the owner despite our best efforts, which included exploring various transaction structures.
On January 28, 2011, the owner of the Alki Homestead and his new project architects presented plans for restoring the Alki Homestead Building to the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. This is a big change from over a year ago when the owner submitted a Certificate of Approval application for demolition of the Alki Homestead with the City’s Historic Preservation Program. At the ARC meeting, all four organizations of a preservation coalition (Southwest Seattle Historical Society, Historic Seattle, 4Culture and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation) stated publicly their support of the restoration of the Alki Homestead, which is consistent with what has been said for almost two years. Because the process to obtain Board and City approvals and permits will take awhile, the coalition urged the owner and City to ensure proper protection of the building from the elements in the meantime. Stay tuned for more good news in the future.