Historic Seattle has kicked off the restoration of Washington Hall’s historic performance and event spaces, the culmination of several years of work to stabilize the building, reactivate it with community use, and raise the funds needed to continue to restore the property.
Washington Hall, located in the Central District, is home to three organizations with a focus on arts and social justice – Hidmo, 206 Zulu, and Voices Rising – that have partnered with Historic Seattle in planning the building’s future. King Khazm of 206 Zulu said, “This renovation is a lifelong dream becoming a reality. We’ve all worked so hard for this, and now, a continuation and rebirth of a legacy is amongst us. We can only hope our ancestors are looking down proudly.”
The rehabilitation of Washington Hall is a $9.9 million, multi-year, phased project. Historic Seattle purchased the building in 2009 with help from 4Culture, saving it from demolition. Phases One and Two involved stabilization, critical repairs, and upgrades that were needed to make the building available for limited rental and use.
Phase Three will be completed in 2016. Team members for this phase include Ron Wright & Associates/Architects, Rushing, Coughlin Porter Lundeen, and Lydig Construction. The $3.5 million project will involve seismic retrofit of the entire building, ADA compliance, a new fire sprinkler system, and buildout for performance and operating space, including a catering kitchen and small café. For the first time in its history, the Hall will be fully accessible with the addition of an elevator.
New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing generated $2.6 million in equity for the building’s current phase of rehabilitation. The purpose of this federal tax credit program is to stimulate and encourage investment in low-income areas. Partners in the NMTC financing included the City of Seattle and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.
“Washington Hall is an important community landmark with a rich history. We look forward to the building re-opening and providing a fantastic updated space for arts and cultural exhibitions as well as nonprofit groups,” said Maria Bustria-Glickman, vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, which provided the tax credit equity.
“The Seattle Office of Economic Development and Seattle Investment Fund are proud to partner with Historic Seattle and provide NMTC financing to Washington Hall. When complete, this historic performance hall will be a valuable amenity for the Central District and Seattle, preserving a neighborhood landmark and contributing to economic vibrancy in the community,” said business finance specialist AJ Cari with the Office of Economic Development.
Photos by Dan Hawkins