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Summary for 2332 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000250 / Inv #

Historic Name: Buena Vista Film Distribution Co. Common Name: Marrakesh
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Belltown
Built By: Year Built: 1918
This is one of the buildings remaining from Belltown’s film industry days. It was built in 1918, of solid brick construction with a tall false front. It was originally a store, with display windows with divided light transoms on the front (west). The north side had five groups of four 12-light windows with six-light transoms. In 1938, a folding garage door was added in the center of the west façade, and it became a garage for the Pacific Truck Express. In the 1950s, the building became the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company. In the 1990s it was altered for a restaurant. The northernmost of the three storefronts has been significantly altered, with the windows filled in and decorative ceramic tile added around the entry and on the north façade. From the 1920s until the 1960s, Belltown was the center of the film industry in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle was a major film center, more than fifty theaters in the 1920-40s, and more than 400 in the state. All the major studios and many smaller ones had distribution centers, called film exchanges, in Belltown. Films were shipped by rail from Los Angeles, and were shipped from here to local theaters in Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana by truck, ship, rail or auto. Each distributor had salesmen who would preview the films and go on the road to describe the new releases to theater owners. Many theater owners came here themselves to view the films and select the ones they wanted to feature. “Film Row” originated at 3rd and Lenora, but moved to the 2nd and Battery vicinity in the mid-1920s. The major film exchange buildings, built in 1928, were across from this site at 1st and Battery, now the location of Belltown Court condominium. These buildings housed Columbia, Warner's, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and many others. Others built their own film exchanges, such as the MGM/Loew’s building at Second and Battery. They included special vaults to store the highly flammable nitrate film, and often had small theaters to screen the films. Surrounding buildings included theater furnishing suppliers, poster companies and other supporting businesses. Nearby was the Lorraine Hotel (now the William Tell), where many in the film industry stayed on their business trips. In 1952 the payroll on Film Row alone was estimated at more than $1,000,000, not including profits from theaters, equipment or advertising.

Detail for 2332 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000250 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Ceramic tile, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Sheridan, Mimi, “Historic Context Statement, Belltown," 2007.

Photo collection for 2332 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 0656000250 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 18, 2007
App v2.0.1.0