By Meghan Hall
The Seattle Quilt Building grew out of the Klondike Gold Rush, and was originally designed by W.E. Boone and James Corner in the early 1900s for Cyrus Walker, a successful lumberman in the area. The building became one of many typical warehouse buildings in the “burnt district” of Seattle, and in the late 1920s, became home to The Seattle Quilt Company, which moved from the Globe Building in 1924. The trade warehouse remained the site of The Seattle Quilt Company, which made down jackets and sleeping bags for many years, but is now a mixed-use building with office and apartments—a valuable asset in Seattle’s current real estate market. In a transaction that closed on August 26th, Nicola Wealth Investment, the prior owner, sold the property to an entity known as 316 First LLC for $13.58 million, or just under $271 per square foot, according to King County property records.
Located at 316 1st Ave. S., property records also state that the 50,120 square foot building is worth $10.8 million in the current market. The building was refurbished by architect Charles Bergmann in 1979 when it was converted to mixed-use. The six-story building features exterior brick walls, as well as an interior structure of heavy timber. Ornamentation in cast stone and terra cotta also adorn the exterior of the building and the storefront bays are clad in granite block. According to Seattle public record, the design of the building clearly fits into the Chicago School model for warehouse structures of the time, with Beaux Arts ornamentation.
The property was again renovated in 2006, when it underwent a complete seismic renovation. Today, according to Nicola Wealth’s website, the property features retail at grade, three floors of office space and two floors of residential apartments. Nicola Wealth had first acquired the building in 2011, and current office tenants include Hemlock Printers, Chrono Therapeutics, Linda Hodges Gallery and ArtForte Gallery.
The property is very well located, just outside of Pioneer Square and within walking distance to downtown Seattle, the Colman Dock and King Street transit station. Numerous attractions from Temple Billiards to the Klondike Gold National Historic Park to restaurants such as Grand Central Bakery and Salumi are located nearby. The Quilt Building is also very close to both CentruyLink Field and T-Mobile Park, home to the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, respectively.
Other historic assets have sold across Seattle in recent months, including the Apex Building. Built in 1905 like the Quilt Building, the Apex is also located just outside of Pioneer Square at 201 S. Washington St. The two-story masonry retail store was purchased by Pasadena, Calif.-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities from Mercer Island, Wash.-based Robert A. Masin for $12.3 million. The transaction closed in July. In August, Hunters Capital spent $21 million to acquire the 7-story Sorrento Hotel, a 76,631 square foot building constructed in 1909, and an adjacent parking garage. According to the Sorrento Hotel’s website, the hotel also grew as a result of the gold rush, whose first clients were prospectors, entrepreneurs and tourists who attended the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The hotel is located not far from both the Apex and the Quilt Buildings at 900 Madison Street in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.