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Condition of downtown Tacoma’s Old City Hall on council’s Tuesday study session agenda

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Nov. 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
November 29, 2010 12:51 pm
Robert Moore with Halo Construction, a tenant in Old City Hall, watches water flow from a broken water pipe from the green house at the top floor of the old Tacoma City Hall on Wednesday. The third floor was mostly flooded with extensive water damaged to the building. (Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer)

Several Tacoma city council members have asked for an update on the condition of Old City Hall and what response the city might have to damage done by a burst pipe last week.

The city doesn’t own the building but could use enforcement of building codes as a way to force the owner to take action. That owner, George Webb of the Stratford Co., said he is assessing the damage and developing a response. Meanwhile it is without heat or power and two remaining tenants in the once-full building cannot use their space.

The building showed signs of neglect even before the flooding caused by frozen pipes.

In an e-mail to City Manager Eric Anderson, council member David Boe cited the loss of the historic Luzon Building a year ago.

“Unless we want another Luzon on our hands, I think some immediate dangerous building/code enforcement review is necessary as well as contacting the building ownership about the status of the building,” Boe wrote.

Councilman Marty Campbell requested the briefing Tuesday so council members can understand what actions the city could take, if necessary, to prevent deterioration of the iconic building.

Anderson was mindful of the legacy of the Luzon as well in his response to residents asking for city intervention in Old City Hall.

“I have no desire to place some future City Council and City Manager in the position we found ourselves in with the Luzon, in which the actions of others over thirty years forced me to take an action I was loath to take,” Anderson wrote.

“We are documenting tenants and preparing to take any and all actions that we are permitted to take under the law.”

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