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Summary for 1800 8th AVE / Parcel ID 0660000705 / Inv #

Historic Name: Ray Hotel Common Name: Ray & Bonair Apartments (1800 8th Avenue)
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1909
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The building was originally constructed in 1909. According to a Baist Map from 1912, the building then operated as a hotel, but its name is not noted. By 1928, Amelia Hemrich, who had also commissioned the neighboring Bonair Apartments, built in 1925, was the owner of this building. (The Hemrick Family was associated with the Hemrick Brewing Company, originally located at 1275 Mercer Street in the Cascade neighborhood and no longer standing). By at least 1936, the building was known as the Ray Hotel. The ground floor storefronts contained several businesses, including a furniture store and a grocery at the corner, which became a tavern in 1948. The building had fallen into great disrepair by the early 1980s. Kovalenko Architects restored this building along with the former Bonair Apartments as low income housing, and also designed the contrasting addition. Together the buildings are now known as the Bonair Ray Apartments. Original drawings do not appear to be available, so the details of the original design are best understood from a 1936 historical photo. It suggests that the lower three floors have been carefully restored, with transom lites probably restored in kind, (although they are perhaps not as high), and the possible addition of storefronts, on the 8th Avenue elevation, adjoining the Bonair Apartments. The upper floors have always had double hung windows. The brick detailing at the parapet level is intact, although the historical photo suggests a very slightly raised triangular parapet at the center of the east elevation, facing Olive Way. The upper level addition from the 1990s, designed to contrast with the original historical building, was probably intended to conform to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, in that the difference between the original building and new addition is made very clear. In terms of integrity, however, this addition may also be considered a drawback. Aside from this addition, the restoration of the building was in the spirit of the original design and its most essential exterior elements remain. The building has retained important details of its exterior brick and terra cotta cladding, as well as subtle brickwork and ornamentation at the parapet level. The building can be considered significant within the Denny Triangle, although it has lost some integrity and could not be considered a City landmark. The building’s original design also clearly contributed to the later design of its neighbor, the Bonair Apartments and together, these two buildings continue to form an important ensemble.
The building is sited on the corner of 8th Avenue and Olive Way and adjoins the Bonair Apartments, sited to the north along 8th Avenue. There is a façade along 8th Avenue and another facing Olive Way, as well as Howell Street. Before the 1990s addition of what at first appears to be a two story “penthouse,” but is, in fact, a one story addition, this was a three story building. Despite the addition, the original building has retained its essential characteristics and overall appearance. The ground level, clad in cream colored terra cotta, is characterized by storefronts with one row of vertical transom lites. There are four storefronts along Olive Way and four narrower storefronts along 8th Avenue. Above the ground level, the Olive Way elevation has five bays, with, at each floor, a single double hung window. There are also five similar bays along 8th Avenue. In general, in terms of composition, the upper level bays do not correspond to the bays at the ground level. At the ground level, as part of the terra cotta surround, engaged pilasters separate the storefronts. The pilasters have uncharacteristic capitals that include, at the face of the pilaster, a horizontal band, crossed by a vertical shape, which melds with a wider rectangle above. Repeated throughout the ground floor, this distinctive motif provides the only major ornamentation outside of the subtle band toward the top of the street facing elevations: a continuous soldier course runs along the top of the original parapet; below this are small, inset concrete shapes, which include rectangles above each window bay and smaller diamond shapes set symmetrically between these rectangles. This surmounts a lower, continuous brick soldier course. The additional fourth floor is designed to show that it is part of a much later and contrasting addition. It reads as a concrete clad block, which is set back a few feet from original building parapet. There are taller openings which lead out onto the roof; these are surmounted by a string of punched, square openings. Enclosing the block, and set along the perimeter of the original parapet, is a new colonnade, which includes short double pillars, which are square in plan, have minimal ornamentation and no capitals. They are set in pairs, each on top of a common, concrete plinth. Above the short pillars, the continuous lintel is punctuated by repeated dark blue diamond shapes, set symmetrically on the centerline between each pair of pillars. The continuous string of punched, square openings, although set back from the parapet, hovers above the top of the colonnade.

Detail for 1800 8th AVE / Parcel ID 0660000705 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Stone - Cast, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: five
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: 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.
“Final Environmental Impact Statement for the New Federal Courthouse, Seattle, King County, Washington,” U.S. General Services Administration (Region 10), March 27, 1998, p 56-77

Photo collection for 1800 8th AVE / Parcel ID 0660000705 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 24, 2006
App v2.0.1.0