Sunday, March 7, 2021
March 7, 2021

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Pike Place Market hotel in doubt after historic site designation

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SEATTLE — The proposed development of a 14-story hotel across from the entrance to Pike Place Market now is doubtful after Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board on Wednesday reversed two earlier decisions and declared the Hahn Building a historic site.

Demolition of the 134-year-old building at the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street was opposed by an unusual coalition of preservationists and owners of condos at Newmark Tower, which sits directly behind the proposed hotel.

For some, views would have been blocked by the proposed 145-foot building.

The vote was 6-1 to designate the building historic.

Now, says Sarah Sodt, the city’s landmarks coordinator for downtown, owners of the property would need “a certification of approval to make any alterations to the property, and that includes demolition.”

One of the condo owners opposing the development is Ruth Danner, president of Save the Market Entrance.

“I’m delighted,” she said of the decision. “It was a nail-biter, for sure. We were a broad coalition of downtown residents, preservationists, visitors to the market. We had over 90,000 sign our Change.org petition.”

Stellar Holdings, the Kirkland company that is part of the LLC that owns the building, on Thursday released this statement:

“We are disappointed with the Landmarks Board’s decision to designate the Hahn Building, which is a departure from the two previous times the Landmarks Board denied the same building for landmarking. The Board’s vote was contrary to City staff’s recommendation not to landmark the building. We are exploring our next steps.”

The old structure certainly isn’t the prettiest edifice in town, with common bricks and concrete blocks for the first floor. Over the years, various businesses had altered it.

It currently houses the Seattle Shirt Co. (“Buy any 3 t-shirts for $10!!”), a smoke shop and the Green Tortoise Hostel in the upstairs. Over the years, it was the location for a saloon, barbershop, drugstore, shoe store and cafe.

But, as Lisa Connolley, a board member of the Pike Place Market Constituency, open to anyone in the state over 16 years old who pays $1 yearly dues, wrote to the board about why the building was outstanding: “What could be more outstanding than a brilliant, modern city that has grown from humble logging, fishing and port labors? What could be more outstanding than the simple handwork created to accommodate the many working poor, coming to a new city, for many a new country in hopes of prosperity?”

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