Preservation in the News This Week: November 29 – December 3

Villa Costella in Queen Anne newly designated a Seattle Landmark / Photo: Google Maps Streetview

This has been a busy week for preservation and urban design in the news:

New Seattle Landmarks. On December 1, the Landmarks Preservation Board designated two buildings, the RKO Distributing Company Building in Belltown (2312 Second Avenue) and Villa Costella (348 W. Olympic Place) in Queen Anne. Designed by architect Earl W. Morrison, the RKO is a 1928 former film exchange building in a part of downtown once known as “Film Row.” Its high level of exterior integrity is notable for its use of Batchelder tiles, unusual for the outside of commercial buildings. The 1928-1929 Villa Costella is a Spanish Eclectic style apartment building designed and developed by architect Everett J. Beardsley. The building is currently a condominium complex. The Queen Anne Historical Society encouraged the owners of the condos to nominate the building voluntarily. Download both landmark nominations from the Seattle Historic Preservation Program’s website. Look for the RKO Building nomination listed under the address, 2312 Second Avenue, not the name.

Save Seattle’s Skyline. Is our skyline going to become a canvas for giant signs in the near future? On December 7, at 2 pm, the Seattle City Council’s Regional Development and Sustainability Committee will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed land use code text amendment to the Sign Ordinance that would allow large wall identification signs in certain downtown zones that are not currently allowed. If this amendment passes then that picture postcard view of Seattle’s skyline will feature large corporate signs advertising companies. Read this op-ed piece of Jeffrey K. Ochsner in the Seattle Times.

Neptune Theatre. Looks like the historic University District movie theatre has been saved from the Sound Transit wrecking ball, but will live on as a venue for music and live shows. Check out the Crosscut and Seattle Times articles about the change.

Old City Hall in Tacoma Endangered. One of Tacoma’s most iconic historic buildings suffers a burst pipe that floods the mostly vacant building. Preservationists, City officials and citizens are concerned about the building and its future if it’s left to deteriorate. The Tacoma News Tribune takes a strong stance on this issue.

How to Revive Pioneer Square. Yet another article about revitalizing Pioneer Square. But it offers good food for thought and is written by neighborhood resident, architect and urban designer Mark Hinshaw, so check it out in Crosscut.

Seattle Digs into its Past. Knute Berger urges us to think about urban archaeology and why what’s underground is important to document in his article for Crosscut.