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Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: Jafco Co. Store Common Name: Guitar Center
Style: Modern - Contemporary Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1963-64

See 333 Westlake Ave N. [Pande Cameron Building – Durant-Star Co./Dunn Motors Showroom] for Westlake Avenue N. – Historic Context Statement.

Constructed in 1963-64 as a new building for Jafco Distributors. [Prior to occupying this building Jafco Distributors had been previously located nearby at 411 Westlake Ave. N. from 1960-1963.] It was designed by the Seattle architecture firm of Bittman & Saunders. The design included innovative rooftop parking, as well as retail showrooms and warehouse and delivery bay spaces. The building has functioned for various retail purposes since its construction. The exterior is relatively unaltered and well preserved; thus, this property is worthy of additional research and comparison with other similar mid-century modern concrete commercial/retail buildings constructed in the early 1960s and buildings also designed by Bittman and Sanders.

Information regarding the evolution of the firm of Bittman & Sanders:

Henry W. Bittman (1882-1953) is know to have designed over 250 new and/or remodeled building projects in Seattle, Washington State and Alaska. Bittman studied engineering at Cooper Union and then worked briefly in Chicago as a bridge engineer.  He came to Seattle In 1906 and practiced briefly with architect William Kingsley.  By 1908 he had established an independent structural engineering practice where he specializing in the design of structural steel skeletons constructed in Seattle. In 1923, Henry Bittman became a licensed architect in Washington State went on to become a successful and highly respected commercial architect.  During the late 1930s and early 1940s he followed the Streamline Moderne style, and later moved into the international style and shunned ornament altogether.  One of his last major commissions was as associate architect and resident engineer for the new Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building 1947, altered; now in use as an office building), designed by Lockwood & Greene Engineers of New York City. Bittman practiced until his death in Seattle on November 16, 1953.


Dean Harris Sanders, (November 15, 1914) was born and raised in Tacoma and earned a B.Arch. at the University of Washington in1940. He was employed by Bois Payette Lumber Company, 1941; by Boeing Airplane Company, 1941-45 and then began to work for Henry W. Bittman from 1945 to 53. The partnership of Bittman, Sanders & Adams occurred in c.1953. The partnership of Bittman & Sanders Architects was established in 1953 with Herbert Jay Bittman (Henry W. Bittman’s nephew) and continued until 1969. The firm is known to have designed Langendorf Bakeries Distribution Building, Tacoma (1954), Richfield Building addition, Seattle (1956), 2000 Fifth Avenue Building alteration, Seattle (1956; destroyed), Sinclair & Valentine Ink Manufacturing plant, Seattle (1958) Friedman, Lobe & Block Building, Seattle (1959), Prager’s Men’s Store alteration, Seattle (1961; altered). The firm became Bittman, Sanders, Hasson & Associates in 1969 and continued in practice under that name until 1979.


Description: Two stories w/ basement, reinforced concrete structure, ‘Marblecrete’ façade treatment, aluminum storefront display windows, innovative precast concrete façade members – 8 bays w/ low pointed arches at Westlake Ave. façade, open stairwell to rooftop parking,  rooftop parking ramp from Westlake Ave N. Distinctive low pointed arched features are currently obscured by a modern awning that extends along the length of the Westlake elevation.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Other Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.

Photo collection for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Feb 27, 2014
App v2.0.1.0