Historic Preservation and the Illogical Dangers of Hyperbole

I prepared this article in response to a misleading article published on December 22, by the Sightline Institute. A link to the article appears below. Today, January 17, 2018, the Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) voted not to impose Controls and Incentives on the Wayne Apartment the recently landmarked building discussed by Mr. Bertolet and me. The vote effectively makes my arguments weaker. Even though the building is part of Belltown, I share the article so as to give our readers a sense of the obstacles we face protecting the historic fabric of Queen Anne.

The LPB’s vote is the result of the property owner’s claim that preserving the building would be an economic hardship. It frees the property owner to sell the building with nothing in the way of its demolition. Part of the argument for the vote, which resulted from a rigorous review of all the options by the staff of the city’s Preservation Program and its recommendation to oppose Controls and Incentives that might have protected the building from demolition, rested on the huge disparity between the amount of money owners could realize from selling the Wayne and the cost of repairing and restoring it. It is a very dangerous argument in this time of incredibly high land values throughout the city. The Queen Anne Historical Society plans to begin redrafting the landmark ordinance in cooperation with other preservation organizations and lobbying the city council and the mayor for its eventual adoption, so stay tuned.
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Grand Preservation Victory at State Supreme Court

For people who care about preserving Seattle’s historic fabric, the State Supreme Court decision against the University of Washington is a phenomenal victory. The university can no longer disregard city laws when it comes to the historic fabric of its campuses. Eugenia Woo, the Preservation Advocate at Historic Seattle, one of the parties that sued the university, has written a helpful article explaining the decision. You can read it here.

Gargoyles Saved at Mercer Arena

Check this out. Historian Feliks Banel saved two of the four surviving gargoyles hidden since the 1962 World’s Fair until this week’s demolition uncovered them. http://www.king5.com/mb/news/local/seattle/demolition-unearths-gargoyles-historic-architecture-at-seattle-center/426646185