Perks and Downfalls of Keeping old Facades in New Construction

A number of the architects and developers involved in planning new apartment and condominium buildings around the city have voluntarily kept old facades from previous structures to incorporate in their new designs, but most often just divert the decision to the city’s landmark board for the final decision. Many seattleites have almost come to expect historical structures to be saved with all of the new development and future project plans, but why would a developer want to keep a facade when the landmark board deems the older building not historically significant? There was an interesting article today in the Daily Journal of Commerce, that pinpointed similar projects like the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex building on 2nd and Virginia, which will integrate the front of the annex in the base of a 38 story building that has plans to possibly include 190 condos, 154 hotel rooms, and 6,100 sf of ground floor retail space.

Location if the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex Building

Location if the 1915 Terminal Sales Annex Building

In the past 20-30 years, there hasn’t been alot of interest in saving the older buildings, but within the last few years, there has been recent changes to city rules, allowing developers to build larger projects if they preserve the facades of their previous historical structures, that are at least 75 years old. In turn, alot of the new apartment developers trying to take advantage of the rule could run into extra costs, as keeping some of the older facades that aren’t as structurally sound as the new construction could pose issues. For more information on those new apartment projects incorporating historical structures, visit the DJC.

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