Only way to “save the Luzon”

The Luzon issue is really starting to get old. How many different groups do we want to look at this before we move in one of many new directions? Personally, I would’ve given up on it long ago. Unlike most of you reading this, I’ve been here my whole life and the massive void in the middle of downtown created by the DaVita parking lot and the Luzon building has long worn out its welcome with me.

On the news of Igor Kunista moving in to try and save the day, I will wait a small while longer before calling for the outright demolition of this dangerous, useless structure. If we DO want to continue pondering ways to salvage the Luzon building, then I will offer my final idea on this matter.

Are you familiar with The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House in downtown Seattle? It is a rather upscale restaurant in a rather small, very old building adjacent to the relatively new and magnificent Washington Mutual Tower on 2nd and University (The WaMu Tower may now be called the Chase Tower, but you won’t ever hear me call it that). The old building that houses this fine restaurant reminds me a lot of the Luzon building.

When the WaMu Tower was built, they kept the little old building on the corner and even incorporated it into the new building, providing it with STRUCTURE and PARKING and a PURPOSE!! Anyone who wants to save the Luzon should take a close look at the Brooklyn.

In the picture below, you can see the Brooklyn’s old building incorporated into the base of the new super structure. From the street level, it works seemlessly, and the precious architecture from yesteryear is preserved.

Brooklyn in downtown Seattle

Tacoma Union Bank of California building for sale

The Bank of California Building at 1011 Pacific Ave in downtown Tacoma is for sale. I had the privilege of meeting owner Jay Yi last week and he allowed us a full tour of the historic site. The impressive structure is packed with an arsenal of equally impressive contents. Never having been used for anything other than a bank, the facility is uniquely tailored for a certain purpose. Like housing millions of dollars in cash, jewels and other valuables for decades.

You pass through the giant, classic pillars on the outside and into an expansive lobby where your eye is immediately drawn 40 feet upward to the cathedral ceiling. The ornate wood and plaster detail overhead is unlike anything you will find in new construction today. Gold carvings tell a story that wraps around the top of the room. Solid granite walls line the staircase leading downstairs.

An old bank manager’s office at the front of the building is luxuriously decorated with gorgeous wood paneling and feels like something out of Scooby-Doo. We could not find any of the secret compartments in the walls, but I’m certain they are there somewhere. If I had an office, I would want it to look just like this one.

We took the old world elevator to the basement and that is where things really got interesting. Exiting the elevator, I suddenly felt as though I were thrust headlong into the middle of a scene from Ocean’s Eleven. I’ve never had free run of a giant vault before. Have you? There were thousands of old, empty safety deposit boxes and multiple safes for the storage of exactly who knows what.

Movie set. That’s all I kept thinking. Well, that and the fact the building may have access to the old tunnels under Tacoma. Stay tuned.

Building fire on Ruston Way

I went down for takeout on the waterfront this evening and stumbled upon a large fire. The old building just south of Harbor Lights on Ruston Way was an inferno around 6:30pm. The road was closed, fire trucks and firemen everywhere. They had been there for awhile, so the sirens were off, and the entire image was very surreal. Giant flames were shooting 25 feet in the air out of the building and dark yellow/grey smoke billowed up and out over the water. An Amtrak passenger train passed about 30 feet from the flames and the travellers were given a great fire view as a vivid memory of Tacoma. Aside from the train, everything seemed eerily quiet. Suddenly I realized I had headed down the hill sans camera. This was a helpless, frustrating moment. You would have loved to see the photos I would have snapped. I even scanned the crowd of onlookers to find nobody taking pictures (I would have asked for them to email me). So instead of great photos of a really big fire in a cool old building on a nice evening on the charming Tacoma waterfront, you only get to read this.