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Summary for 1915 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200950 / Inv #

Historic Name: Northwest Building Co Garage Common Name: Second Avenue Parking Garage
Style: Spanish - Eclectic Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1926
This property is also associated with the early twentieth century era (1920-1930) when the modern downtown commercial district was fully established as additional high-rise commercial buildings were built. The economic prosperity of the 1920s stimulated the development of numerous major high-rise commercial buildings, as well as smaller-scale bank and specialty retail stores, major hotels including apartment hotels, club buildings and entertainment facilities designed by leading local architects. The regrading of Denny Hill and the commercial redevelopment of the former University Grounds (University/ Metropolitan Tract) were major factors that facilitated northward and eastward commercial expansion. In 1919, when the new Frederick and Nelson Department Store opened at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, the location of the future downtown retail core was solidified. Beginning in the mid-1910s, the use of private automobiles changed the way downtown Seattle functioned. Surface parking lots – many of which included a small gas station building - became a part of the commercial core or were located nearby on its periphery. By mid-1920s, large parking garages – some that could store hundreds of automobiles – were a lucrative and essential part of downtown commerce. During the 1920s, due to lower property values to the north of Virginia Street and close proximity to the commercial, entertainment and retail core numerous parking lots, garages and service centers were constructed in the vicinity of this property. This garage building was constructed in 1926 by Strandberg & Robinson for the Northwest Building Company. The Northwest Building Company was owned by James W. Clise (1855-1939) a prominent Seattle business man and real estate developer. Clise was the president of J.W. Clise Investment Company and managed several downtown commercial properties along with his brother, Charles. James W. Clise was also the president of the Washington Securities Company, the developer for the Securities Building at Third Avenue and Stewart Street. This 12-story terra cotta clad office building was constructed in 1912-14 and was the earliest and most major commercial building to be constructed after the competition of the initial regrading of Denny Hill and the defeat of the Bogue Plan. The design of the Second Avenue Garage building included two retail storefronts and an office space for the parking operations. The upper two floor levels were devoted to parking facilities accessed by seven reinforced concrete ramps. The building was used continuously for parking and automobile service operations up until the 1990s. By 1930, one of the retail spaces housed the Admiral Electric Company, which sold and repaired vacuum cleaners and other small electric appliances and remained a tenant until 1975. In1951, a tailor shop was located in the other retail space. A 1959 era wall sign advertised the sale Richfield automotive products. This architecturally unique garage building was designed in the Spanish Eclectic style by Stoddard & Son, an architectural firm composed of Lewis M. Stoddard and his son, George Wellington Stoddard (1896-1967) who practice in partnership from 1918 until the death of the elder Stoddard in 1929. The firm is known for having designed the Winthrop Hotel in Tacoma (1926-27) and the Central Tire Company garage building (600 Olive Way, 1925). After his fathers death, George W Stoddard practiced on his own and in partnership with others (Francis Huggard as Stoddard, Huggard & Associates) and is particularly well known for distinctive residential design work from Colonial Revival designs, depression-era small homes to large post-war era minimal tradition and ranch style residences. He was also responsible for the design of Memorial Stadium (1947) now part of the Seattle Center, the south stands at the University of Washington Stadium (1950), and the Green Lake Aqua Theater (1950). This is a partly intact and somewhat unique example of a commercial parking garage, an important downtown property type. It was designed by a notable Seattle architecture firm, Stoddard & Son. Other generally intact downtown garage buildings include: the Grand Central Garage (719 4th Avenue, 1919); the nearby White Garage (1915 3rd Avenue – altered interior, 1928); the nearby Donahoe Garage (1907 3rd Avenue, 1921 – altered interior); and the Grand Opera House that was converted for garage use in 1923. [It was formally determined by the HPP in mid-2006 that this property does not meet local landmark criteria.]
[For additional information regarding this property refer to an in-depth report prepared by Beth Dodrill-Rezghi and submitted to the City of Seattle Historic Preservation Program in February , 2006.] Located mid-block on the west side of Second Avenue between Stewart and Virginia Streets, this three-story building was designed and constructed for retail and commercial parking garage purposes and continues to be used for those purposes. It measures 121’ x 108’ and exhibits a two-part façade composition and remnant Spanish Eclectic stylistic design features. The reinforced concrete structure has a concrete foundation and is finished with fieldstone-textured stucco and cast stone details. The façade is divided horizontally between a base composed of retail storefronts and garage openings, and upper floor parking levels. The eight bays at the storefront level correspond with those above although fenestration and architectural elements vary considerably. The entire façade is organized in a symmetrical manner around a central bay flanked by side and end bays. Due to alterations and cosmetic changes to the original façade this composition is difficult to discern. At the base there are two central bays with round-arched openings flanked by a round arched opening and a rectangular two-bay wide opening to each end of the façade. The wide rectangular openings are accentuated by ornate cast stone friezes of dragons with coat-of-arms at the head of each opening. The southernmost opening retains the original storefront display windows with multi-pane tripartite mezzanine level windows. The two adjacent arched openings also retain original multi-pane tripartite mezzanine level windows. Two of the three remaining openings continue to function for auto access and egress within the garage and the third opening appears to have always been enclosed by a recessed panel built within the arched opening. At the upper floor levels the central bay is defined by a set of four tall narrow window openings (at the upper floor the windows have arched heads and are separated by twisted columns), flanked by two sets of two tall narrow window openings that are further flanked by a single window bay (at the upper floor the windows have arched heads) to each end of the façade. The arched windows at the upper floor level remain and are accentuated by original wrought iron balconies. Original multi-pane industrial steel sash windows remain in place at the upper floor levels of the façade and the entire rear alley elevation. Due to the removal of the highly distinctive Spanish Eclectic design elements at the parapet, the unique original design character of the building has been seriously diminished. The parapet was originally highly articulated with raised and decorated sections at the central bay and outside bays. Within the side bays between the raised parapet elements were ornate pent roofs clad with barrel tile and supported by a prominent cast stone corbel table. The façade does not include a cap and is abruptly terminated above the 2nd floor windows. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 1915 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200950 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Dodrill-Rezghi, Beth. "Second Avenue Parking Garage" Historic Resource Assessment, submitted to City of Seattle February 2006.

Photo collection for 1915 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200950 / Inv #

Photo taken May 24, 2006
App v2.0.1.0