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Summary for 201 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 5247800885 / Inv #

Historic Name: Apex Building Common Name: Apex Building
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1928
The Apex Building’s footprint and distinctive flatiron shape are emblematic of the far-reaching changes to urban spaces and buildings along the edge of the Pioneer Square- Skid Road National Historic District, wrought by the Second Avenue Extension. At the same time, the building has lost a significant amount of its exterior cladding and architectural detailing and does not really contribute to the historical nature of the district. The site where the Apex Building was built in 1928 was profoundly affected by the Second Avenue Extension of 1928-29. This public works project cut a huge swath from Yesler Way to past Jackson Street, near the train terminals, obliterating the remains of the earliest Chinatown and slicing into buildings in its path. Some buildings, simply lost a façade, but, in all, five buildings were destroyed. The Extension apparently sliced the site, where the Hoffman House sat, in half. As newspaper article of the time wrote, the original Hoffman House, “long a symbol of easy days and overflowing hospitality, passed out.” The Hoffman House appeared on Sanborn maps from as early as 1888 and it was removed by March of 1928. This dictated the flatiron shaped footprint of the new Apex Building. The Apex Building , completed in 1928, retains its original massing and some of the basic architectural features of its original design at the second level. Even at the second level, a few details have been lost: The parapet originally boasted spandrels of applied Gothic arch detailing and ball-shaped finials. These had been removed by the 1950s. There was also a simple cornice at the roofline, with the words “Apex Building” in raised letters in the short spandrel facing north. Ground floor alterations included a 1938 stucco cover-up of the original storefronts, which had transom windows. The primary entrance was also moved from the north elevation to the east elevation, with forty feet of structural steel applied at the new entrance. An exterior entrance to the basement was also added in the 1938 remodel. Since then, at the ground level, the building exterior has lost almost all of its original fabric and detailing.
The Apex Building is sited on a triangular block, created by Second Avenue and Second Avenue Extension, a public works project begun in 1928 and completed in 1929. The Apex Building, as its name might indicate, occupies the north end of this block. It has a trapezoidal footprint, with frontage that is 60 feet along Second Avenue Extension, 70 feet along Second Avenue and 11 feet along the north elevation on Washington Street. It is two stories high and has a basement. What remains of the original exterior walls, at the second level, is mainly brick, while the interior structure is of heavy timber construction. Buff colored brick contrasts with the cast stone coping and trim at the second level. Here, above a painted belt-course, especially on the Second Avenue elevation, unaltered wood sash windows are arranged in groups of three and set between brick pilasters. At the center of each window grouping, is a taller window opening, with a transom light. The north elevation has one wide rectangular window, also with a transom light. The Second Avenue Extension façade, wider than the others, has end bays, each with one single window opening with a transom light. Brick in contrasting colors, buff and darker brown, is used to set off some of the openings. The building also retains unaltered marble window sills on the interior. At the ground level on all the elevations, nothing is left of the original building fabric and the storefronts, if not boarded up, have been modernized.

Detail for 201 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 5247800885 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Triangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
Lentz, Florence. “Apex Building, 200-201 S. Washington Street, Historic Certification Application, Part 1,” 24 August 2003.
Chin, Doug. Seattle’s International District: The Making of a Pan-Asian American Community. Seattle: International Examiner Press, 2001.

Photo collection for 201 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 5247800885 / Inv #

Photo taken Jun 09, 2004

Photo taken Jun 09, 2004
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