Historic Tacoma Facade Restoration Workshop – August 6, 2011

5415 South Tacoma Way / Photo: Lauren Perez

From a news release issued by Historic Tacoma:

Historic Tacoma and the South Tacoma Business District to host free workshop on the Economic Incentives for Facade Restoration

Tacoma, Washington: On August 6th, 2011, from 9am-12pm at Stonegate Pizza, Historic Tacoma and the South Tacoma Business District Association are hosting a workshop on Economic Incentives for Facade Restoration.

This half-day workshop showcases resources that can assist building and property owners with the rehabilitation process: the brick and mortar of facade restoration, financial incentives from the city’s special tax valuation and facade improvement programs, and case studies from property owners that have transformed their buildings. Presentations by local architectural firms including Belay Architecture, BLRB Architects, and Eysaman & Company will showcase before-and- after images of transformed commercial storefronts, illustrating how buildings that have been altered in the past can have their presence restored.  Historic buildings in South Tacoma’s commercial district will provide many of the examples. Representatives from the City of Tacoma’s Department of Community and Economic Development and the Historic Preservation Office will discuss various financial resources and incentives, including the financial benefits of listing a historic building on Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places. Concluding the workshop is a discussion with property owners who have already gone through the rehabilitation process and taken advantage of the historic preservation special tax incentives.

South Tacoma loves its cars, but a restored historic building can provide your neighborhood with all the glamour and charm of a classic car–with the added benefits of a revitalized business district.  Between 2000 and 2004 investment in historic rehabilitation projects in Washington State generated $221 million in sales, created jobs, and revitalized historic business districts.

The workshop is from 9am-12pm on August 6th, 2011, at Stonegate Pizza on South Tacoma Way. Attendance is free and participants are welcome to stay after the event for additional discussion and a no-host lunch of Stonegate’s fabulous, News Tribune reviewed pizza. For more information, contact Lauren Perez at lkp2114@columbia.edu.

Here’s a description of the building shown above from Historic Tacoma: 

5415 South Tacoma Way

Built in 1919, the Realart Theatre was one of three theatres built and owned by Radnor Pratsch on South Tacoma Way. When the Realart opened the newspaper claimed it was Tacoma’s largest theatre, with a large pipe organ and seating for 500 patrons.  The theatre had some uncommon and highly desirable features, including a nursery with large windows overlooking the screen so mothers could watch films while caring for their children, and room for baby carriage parking.  The Realart operated as a theater for 40 years.  Local movie patrons remember standing in line for the Saturday matinee and watching the soft ice cream machine in the market next door to see when a fresh batch of ice cream was ready.

In 1961 owner C.L. Therakauf turned the opened the Realart Square Dance Hall in the building.  In 1971, one year after Pratsch’s death, the adjacent Golden Dragon Restaurant purchased the Realart and expanded the restaurant.  The current main floor remodel occurred at about that time.  Although the marquee has been removed, the current first floor façade merely hides much of the theatre’s original brickwork, and possibly even the small leaded glass windows.  This building could have much of its historic fabric uncovered and restored.

The Realart was designed by the architectural firm of Lundberg & Mahon, which formed in 1913.  The firm was unique at the time because it offered architectural design and engineering services.  Many of the firm’s important commissions were associated with the Catholic Church and they were responsible for designing South Tacoma’s Visitation Catholic Church (1912).  Other major works include: St. Joseph’s Slovak Catholic (1912), Washington Theatre (1913), Lynn Funeral Home (1918), Orpheum Theatre (1919),  Holy Rosary Catholic (1920), Sacred Heart Catholic School (1924), Holy Rosary Catholic, Seattle (1937).