Condo conversions and new condo construction dropped off in 2008, due in part to condo-specific liability issues that discouraged developers. State legislation has since been passed in an attempt to stimulate more condo development, but new condo starts in Tacoma since 2008 have been limited to the buildings at Point Ruston. The condos at Point Ruston certainly have their appeal, but the price point is well beyond the means of most condo buyers.
Given the limited supply of affordable, high quality condo buildings in Tacoma, the historic conversions of the early 2000s remain a very attractive option. Below are a few of our favorites.
Designed by the architectural firm of Russell & Babcock, the Perkins was built in 1907 as a newspaper plant for the Tacoma Ledger and Daily News. At the time of construction, the Perkins was the tallest reinforced concrete building in the Pacific Northwest. In the early 1990's, the building served as a temporary home for UW Tacoma while its downtown campus was under construction.
When the Perkins was converted into condominiums in 2004, many of the original features of the building were left intact, including beautiful double height windows and exposed brick. The 33-unit mixed use building now features an atrium, a fitness room and a rooftop deck with spectacular 360 degree views. Pets are allowed, and most of the units come with parking. The building has a strong homeowner's association, and its downtown location offers easy access to the Pantages Theater, the Tacoma Art Museum, the light rail and local bars and restaurants including En Rama, Matador, McMenamins and Alma Mater.
Designed by local architect George Bullard and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 714 Market St was built in 1909 to house the Tacoma chapter of the YMCA. The Y provided its members with athletic facilities and a robust vocational education program that transitioned to Tacoma City College in 1919. The YMCA eventually vacated the building in 1977, and it was converted into condominiums in 2005. The amenities of this 19-unit building now include a secure lobby and parking garage, a common outdoor deck with grill, a fitness room and a guest suite.
The Vintage Y is located in the heart of Tacoma’s historic theater district where the Pantages and Rialto theaters house the city’s core performing arts organizations, attracting first rate talent from around the country and around the world. The theater district is also home to the Grand Cinema, which offers an excellent selection of first run independent films. 27-acre Wright Park is in close proximity.
Designed by local architect Frederick Heath and built in 1915, The Ansonia offers dramatic views of Commencement Bay and iconic Stadium High School. The building was home to many of Tacoma’s civic and social leaders in the early 1900s, with Henry and Pearl Rhodes owning a penthouse unit at one time. The Ansonia underwent an extensive renovation when it was converted to condominiums in 2008. The amenities of this 26-unit building now include a fitness room, a guest suite and a common deck with gas grills.
The Ansonia’s convenient location offers easy access to downtown Tacoma, Wright Park and Stadium District shops and restaurants including Stadium Thriftway, Tacoma Wine Merchants, Indo Asian Street Eatery and Gilman House. The soon to be completed light rail extension will connect the Stadium District to the Tacoma Dome transit station in one direction and to St Joseph’s Medical Center and the Hilltop in the other.
Additional historic condo conversions can be found throughout Tacoma, including Engine House 3 (1912) in the historic North Slope District, The McCormick (1900) and the Dorothy (1928) in the Stadium District and Cliff Street Lofts (1907) downtown. Some of these conversions were executed more successfully than others, but each building offers its own unique blend of historic character and modern amenities. Contact me directly for additional information about any or all.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Chambers Bay, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923