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Can someone force historic status on your property?

Post by News Tribune Staff on Feb. 25, 2009 at 8:59 am |
February 25, 2009 8:59 am

We’ll find out. Historic Tacoma filed an application this month with the City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to put the former University-Union Club on the Tacoma register of historic places.


The 1890 colonial revival building, 539 Broadway, clearly deserves historic status. But the owners, the family of David Smith, don’t want the historic designation while it has the property up for sale.


Tonight the city commission will set a date in March for a public hearing on the extensive application by Historic Tacoma, a non-profit group formed in 2007 amidst a civic debate of Multicare Health System’s purchase and eventual demolition of a historic First United Methodist Church.


The University-Union Club went on the market in 2007.


“Realizing that the building lacked demolition protection, community members feared that the property might be purchased by someonje who valued the land more than the history,” said Brent Santhuff, a local architect and Historic Tacoma vice president.


“Historic Tacoma thought a nomination overdue but also an appropriate means to both safeguard the building and attract a buyer interested in its preservation,” Santhuff said.


By being on the historic register, a potential developer could qualify for tax relief and grants to help with a restoration.


The nomination marks Historic Tacoma’s first attempt to unilaterally preserve a historic treasure.

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