Tacoma architect Jim Harris was reading Tuesday’s News Tribune story about the upcoming auction of the former Bon Marche department store when it reminded him of another well-intended Tacoma project on Broadway that turned sour.
The building involved was 1122 Broadway, between the former Sears building at South 13th and Broadway and the Broadway hillclimb. That building was the one that the Tacoma Public Library leased when it was renovating it Tacoma Avenue building.
“Three business men who were active in the Downtown Tacoma Association saw an opportunity to help the redevelopment of downtown and acquired the building.
- Larry Clark, Tacoma Travel Center
- Jim Harris, Architect
- Bud McIvor, Dankens
The building was fully occupied when the library had the two Broadway level floors. Hillhaven leased the top two floors connected to the floors in the old Sears Building.
When the library and Hillhaven moved, the building was empty and subsequently was returned to the mortgage company. (the three owners lacked the personal capacity for the heavy financial commitments to carry an empty 36,000 sq.ft. building)
So three civic minded individuals risked personal net worth to help downtown.
The adventure ended in:
- Losing the building
- Losing the equity in the building
- Paying Uncle Sam a six figure tax.
So goes the life of the entrepreneur ! Win a few…….lose a few ,” said Harris recalling the venture into downtown development.