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Support grows to make Admiral’s House a landmark

June 28th, 2010 · 44 Comments

More people are joining the push to bring historic landmark status to the Admiral’s House that sits above Smith Cove in Magnolia.  King County Councilmember Larry Phillips recently sent a letter to Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board.


I urge you to approve this nomination for historic landmark status. This is an important step in ensuring preservation not only of the historic Admiral’s House building, but also in helping to preserve public access to the sweeping views afforded by adjacent public parkland.

The house is currently owned by Pacific Northwest Communities, a company owned in partnership between the U.S. Navy and Forest City Enterprises.  The Navy fully supports landmark designation and is also nominating the house for the National Register of Historic Places.  The house will eventually be sold with proceeds going toward privatized military housing in Western Washington.

The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider this nomination at its meeting on Wednesday, July 7 at 3:30pm in the Seattle Municipal Tower.  The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments.  You can also write to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA 98124-4649.  You can see the full nomination here.

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  • robinfairchild

    What does landmark status mean? And if it is not granted will the house be sold in the private market?

    There are buildings in Discovery Park that have landmark status and they are, many of them, just sitting there, boarded up, appearing very non-descript and not particularly attractive. And they serve no purpose. Beyond, of course, requiring periodic maintenance at taxpayer expense.

    Just asking.

  • Elizabeth Campbell

    The Admiral’s House is to be sold on the private market with or without landmark status. If it is City of Seattle landmark status that is close to a nothing designation, if it is national, there are still loopholes; but either way, the City has ignored repeated entreaties to demand that the Navy return this property that was donated to the Navy during the WW II years.

    Nickels and now McGinn on the advice of the former Parks Supt. Gallagher have refused to seek the return of the parcel/with house.

    Instead they are setting it up, just like the officers’ housing at Discovery Park, to be private property, in the middle of not one, but two public parks – Ursula Judkins Viewpoint and Smith Cove Park.

    This is part of Seattle’s maritime and war time legacy, not to mention, the City took this property in 1911 from its private owners to establish a park at this site.

    It is very shortsighted on the City’s part to let one of the last shoreline based properties that it has a legitimate claim to slip through its fingers.

    To show you how corrupt this whole situation has been, the process for transferrring this property into the private domain has been going on for years, only select people were told that it was going on – certain community and historical organizations, like the Magnolia Historical Society, certain people, i.e. those that wouldn’t oppose the transfer, and those that did find out and try to stop the transfer, they were not notified of meetings, not given access to process documents, and threatened – you heard it threatened, by none other than the State Historical Preservation Officer, Allyson Brooks. So much for “preservation”, much less for transparency and good governance.

    Elizabeth Campbell

  • Elizabeth Campbell

    And for clarification’s sake, Forest City has a lease on the house, does not own the property, it gets to sell it in exchange for a cut of the proceeds, the amount of which it will not disclose. Instead it carries on about how the money from the sale of the house will go for Navy housing, and how patriotic that is, how could anyone not be against that?

    However, Forest City is not in this for their health, they expect to realize profit from the sale. In addition, both the City and the State have made extensive agreements with Forest City that the new private owner will be compensated for the construction of the Magnolia Bridge, if that ever happens, all the while not entering into similar agreements with other property owners that will likewise be affected by the bridge’s construction.

    No one has addressed either the impact of the slope above the house should it give away again – recognizing once more that we live in the City that is made of bucks, that doesn’t need to indemnify itself against such eventualities.

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