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Sidewalks around Old City Hall in Tacoma to reopen

Geeking out on Tacoma’s Old City Hall as architectural gem

Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Tacoma, talks lovingly about the Italian villa style brick building built in 1893 to be the city’s “grand old municipal building.” McKnight considers it the town’s jewel.
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Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Tacoma, talks lovingly about the Italian villa style brick building built in 1893 to be the city’s “grand old municipal building.” McKnight considers it the town’s jewel.

Chain link fences and concrete barriers surrounding Old City Hall north of Tacoma’s downtown core could come down after some much-needed TLC.

Next week contractors will shore up third-floor window arches of the 123-year-old building.

They will return next month to tie in temporary netting to hold ornamental copper flourishes, called a cornice, in place, said Tacoma historic preservation officer Reuben McKnight.

The city will reroute pedestrian traffic during the work, McKnight said. The city hopes to complete the project by the end of July.

“All of the work that’s going to be done is temporary to hold things in place anticipating a much bigger rehabilitation project to come,” McKnight said.

The city installed the barriers around Old City Hall early last year after engineers determined pieces of the facade were at risk of falling off and striking pedestrians.

The city of Tacoma bought Old City Hall in May 2015 for $4 million from Seattle real estate speculator George Webb of The Stratford Co., which also owns the Washington Building on Pacific Avenue, to prevent further neglect of the historic structure.

Portland-based McMenamins and the city have been in negotiations for months on a lease and purchase agreement and a development agreement. Three other companies bid to redevelop the property.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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