Commonly dated to 1892, the Metropole Building in Pioneer Square is about to be transformed in the city’s newest boutique hotel. The building’s finely proportioned façade, articulated in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, has been boarded up since a fire extensively damaged its interior in 2007. While some restoration work was carried out inside the building following the fire, today, the Metropole resembles a ruin.
In 2015 Seneca ventures purchased the Metropole building for $4 million, planning to turn the dilapidated historical building into a boutique hotel with dining and retail space on its first floor. BuildingWork, a Seattle-based firm, has been hired to undertake the transformation. Matt Aalfs, the owner and principal of BuidlingWork, told the Daily Journal of Commerce that the hotel will have 36 guest rooms, about half of which will be “micro private rooms” geared towards single travelers and those on a budget. The micro rooms will be 120 square feet, but will have private, ensuite bathrooms. Standard rooms at the hotel will be 220 square feet.
If the permitting process runs smoothly, construction could begin on the Metropole as early as September. Before any work can begin though, the development team is seeking approval from the National Park Service in order to procure federal historic preservation tax credits, which will provie vital in the financing of the project.
On Saturday, May 21st, join Historic Seattle on a tour of the Bloxom Residence. The home was designed by Arthur Loveless and completed in 1928. Loveless was a local architect who moved to Seattle in 1907 after dropping out of Columbia University, where he had studied architecture. During the 1920s, Loveless became highly regarded locally for a series of impressive residential commissions he completed in a distinctive Tudor Revival style. With its half-timbering, hanging tiles, projecting gables, massive chimney blocks, and asymmetry, the Bloxom residence fits tidily within Loveless’ oeuvre.
The Bloxom Residence was built in a planned community developed by David Whitcomb, Sr., which is today known as Woodway. Whitcomb’s vision was of a woodland residential community with easy access to the city along Pacific Highway. The sales of lots came with setback requirements, a prohibition on subdividing lots to less than two acres, and a prohibition on building more than one home on each two-acre lot. The intent was to maintain breathing space and the country-like atmosphere in perpetuity, preventing the kind of development that inevitably destroyed that peacefulness in city homes.
Whitcomb’s original vision can still be seen today in the Bloxom Residence and its grounds. Despite changes subsequent owners have made to the property, the house retains its original English-manorial character and still sits in a landscape of ponds, formal and cutting gardens, and a great lawn that spreads out to a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. Lindsey and Carolyn Echelbarger, present owners, have enlarged the kitchen, relocated the dining room and repurposed the original dining room into a den, added custom oak paneling and built-ins and made other improvements both indoors and out. The walls showcase an outstanding collection of work by early 20th century Pacific Northwest regional artists.
For more information about this event – http://historicseattle.org/event/bloxom-residence/