Eldridge Tire building receives landmark status

Seattle landmark status has been given to the Eldridge Tire Company Building on Broadway. This will need some innovative design work for its redevelopment.

The Seattle Landmark Preservation Board nominated the building to landmark status on February 1. This was based upon its historic importance and mission-revival style. Any future changes will now require the board’s blessing.

The decision wasn’t unanimous, as some board members worried about the building’s character lasting once development occurs in its enclosed parking lot, which was part of the landmark status nomination. 

Seattle Central has been in discussions with Sound Transit about purchasing surplus land north of its campus. This property was left over from the development of the Capitol Hill link light rail extension. Site D can be purchased by the college at its first refusal

ST3 was passed to establish affordable housing near light rail. Sound Transit is currently working with the college to meet that need elsewhere. Site D development will remain college-only.

Seattle Central plans to use the Eldridge Tire site at 1519 Broadway — currently occupied by a barbershop and Tacos Guaymas — and its 1515 Broadway property for developing that affordable housing through private partnerships. Redevelopment is being looked at for the South Annex/International Programs Building located 907-909 Pine Street.

Developers were invited to submit letters of interest via the college in December. They had until February 14th.

1515 Broadway, which is occupied by burger spot Freddy Junior’s and also used by Seattle Central for storage space, did not receive a nomination for landmark status on Feb. 1.

Ellen Mirro (project architect for The Johnson Partnership) provided Wednesday’s board with the history and architecture of Eldridge Tire, its owner A.S. Eldridge, and A.H. Albertson’s designs, which can be found in many buildings throughout Seattle.

“As I said at the nomination, it wasn’t the kind of building that they used in their portfolio,” Mirro said of Albertson and his partners.

The landmarks board did agree the Eldridge Tire building had importance in the neighborhood — Seattle’s historic Auto Row — and a maintained mission revival-style character. The mission revival architectural movement began in California in late 19th-century and spread to the Southwest later.

“This is a very small building that actually has architecture to it,” said Rob Ketcherside, landmarks board member and Capitol Hill Historical Society cofounder. “This is a unique structure. There wasn’t 500 others just like it. It’s a gem of its own.”

Ketcherside said he likes how the Eldridge Tire building connects to Seattle’s economic history.

Board member Deb Barker said she supported the designation, but was concerned about the volume to the west, that being the rear parking lot that is accessible through a porte-cochère between the north and south building spaces.

Jordan Kiel, Landmarks Board Chairman, stated that the lot had not been nominated and that a developer could construct on it right up to Eldridge Tire Building. That would render the porte-cochère inaccessible, Barker added.

Russell Coney was appointed to the board as a member. It could look “atrocious,” said board member Kathleen Durham.

Seattle Central College recognized the possibility that Eldridge Tire could achieve landmark status. It sent this message through its Request for Letters of Interest.

“Most of them are responding to that under the assumption that it would be nominated,” said Lincoln Ferris, consultant to Seattle Central president Sheila Edwards-Lange, regarding letters the college has received from interested developers.