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Summary for 2119 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200720 / Inv # HSG001

Historic Name: El Rey Apartments Common Name: El Rey Apartments
Style: Commercial, Vernacular Neighborhood: Belltown
Built By: Year Built: 1910
Building permit records indicate that owner R.A. Schuchard constructed this large brick apartment building in 1909-10. The four-story apartment building featured three retail storefronts on the ground level below three floors of apartments. County assessor records indicate that Gordon Vorhies acquired the building in 1911. Nothing is known at this time about these early owners. The building was constructed during a period of rapid expansion in the population of Seattle and at the beginning of twenty-year period of widespread brick apartment construction. During the previous decade, Seattle had tripled its population from 80,671 to 237,194. This population explosion pushed the business district north from Pioneer Square into a previously residential neighborhood of wood frame homes and small multi-family dwellings. The population increases resulted in a greater density in housing, especially in the downtown commercial district, and the construction of fireproof brick apartment buildings. There is a great concentration of these older brick buildings in the vicinity of the El Rey. Most of these buildings were constructed in the ten years during and shortly after the first two phases of the Denny Regrade between 1898 and 1911. Lasting a year from 1898 to 1899, the first phase leveled Denny Hill along First Avenue north from Pine Street to Denny Way. Moving from west to east and from south to north, the second phase began four years later and lasted eight years. It incorporated an area from Second Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from Pike Street to Cedar Street. A high embankment remained along Fifth Avenue until December 10, 1930, when the third and final phase of the Denny Regrade was completed after two years of work. This building was occupied as an apartment and store building for over seventy-five years before the City of Seattle acquired it in 1985 for use as a mental health residence and treatment facility. The city acquired and converted the building with assistance from the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services and from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. After a substantial renovation was completed in 1988, the Community Psychiatric Clinic opened as a 60-unit residential treatment facility for mentally ill adults, providing treatment programs, vocational opportunities and medication monitoring. This simple vernacular building presents little exterior ornamentation with the exception of the patterned brick cornice. However, it is significant as an example of an early housing type and for its association with the development of the central business district during and after the initial phases of the Denny Regrade.
Completed in 1910, this four-story brick building faces east and occupies a midblock lot on the western side of 2nd Avenue between Blanchard and Lenora Streets. The flat roof structure has a rectangular plan, which measures 60 feet by 108 feet. Substantial renovations in the late 1980s significantly altered the appearance of this Commercial Vernacular building. A low parapet wall encircles the building’s roof and steps up on the north and south elevations to the principal east elevation, which features a corbelled cornice with decorative brickwork. The five-bay east elevation displays a two-part façade composition with three floors of apartments above the two storefronts at the ground floor level. Each of the three upper floors has two windows at either end flanking a canted bay window at the center. The three-story bay has a hip roof and three windows at each level. Originally, a fire escape extended the full height of the center bay with iron balconies covering the large recessed openings on each floor. All of the original double hung wood windows have been replaced by modern equivalents. A modern metal marquee covers the building’s center entrance and the two contemporary storefronts at the ground floor level. The storefronts have transom windows above the recessed entrances and the adjoining plate glass windows with tiled bulkheads. Originally, there were three storefronts, which featured multi-paned wood transoms above the recessed entrances and the adjoining plate glass sash with paneled wood bulkheads. Windows line the light wells on the north and south elevations. The rear west elevation has a painted brick wall at the third and fourth story levels above a reinforced concrete wall on the lower levels. The window configuration on the upper three floors of this elevation is similar to that of the east elevation. However, the center bay on this elevation has three windows set flush to the wall at each level with metal spandrel panels above and below each story. The metal parapet wall at the top of this bay has a shallow arch. Originally, this bay contained a recessed light well, which measured 15 feet by 13 feet. A second fire escape was installed within this opening. The first floor and lower basement levels have window openings of various sizes in various configurations. A chain link fence with a gate covers a large recessed opening at the center of the basement level. This modest building retains only fair physical integrity after the 1980s renovation.

Detail for 2119 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200720 / Inv # HSG001

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Metal, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
HistoryLink Website (

Photo collection for 2119 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200720 / Inv # HSG001

Photo taken Jul 04, 2006
App v2.0.1.0