This commercial building was constructed in 1941 and housed an auto rebuild shop (King County Property Record Card, 1942). It was owned by William O. McKay and located one block north of the dealership he opened in 1922, called the Ford McKay Auto Sales and Garage Building, and the elaborate terra-cotta showroom he built in 1925 next to the 1922 building, called Pacific McKay Ford Building (both buildings are designated City of Seattle Landmarks). The earlier McKay buildings were constructed during the immediate post World War I era, industrial land use patterns began to change as the South Lake Union area attracted commercial business, particularly automobile showrooms and auto-related products or maintenance. While most of Seattle’s earliest auto showrooms and auto-related businesses had been located in the Pike-Pine corridor, the presence of the Ford Motor Assembly Plant and Showroom, the central location and still undeveloped land in the neighborhood appears to have caused a shift. By the mid-1920s, a string of automobile related businesses, several housed in architect-designed and elaborately decorated terra cotta buildings, had been erected along Westlake Avenue. Westlake Avenue quickly became Seattle’s urban “auto-row.” By 1939 some 40 automobile related businesses could be found on the 12-block stretch of Westlake near South Lake Union (History Link.org Lake Union Walking Tour).
The building currently houses Urban City Coffee (drive through) and serves as a parking garage for Cask & Trotter, a bar located in an adjacent building. Although the building retains some original industrial-scale mulit-pane windows with aluminum sash, it has been fairly significantly altered for its new uses. Two historic garage door openings have been altered for the drive-through coffee shop. A new bubble-type vinyl awning wraps one of the corners and other new sloped vinyl awnings shelter a pedestrian entry and roll-up garage door.
King County Property Record Card (1937-1972), Washington State Archives
HistoryLink.org Lake Union Walking Tour: http://www.historylink.org/cybertour/pdf/luwalkingtour.pdf, 2012, p. 5.