The historic Eitel Building is located at the intersection of the commercial corridor along Pike Street, which extends from downtown Seattle to Pike Place Market, and 2nd Avenue, a main pedestrian, bike and vehicular thoroughfare. The adaptive reuse and restoration of one of Seattle’s most prominent and vulnerable unreinforced masonry structures has revived and transformed the corner of Second Avenue and Pike Street.
Built in 1904, it was one of the first high-rise office buildings constructed in downtown Seattle. The 7-story structure features elaborate terra-cotta and brick ornamentation, a marker of the economic prosperity the gold rush brought to the city. After the Great Depression, the area surrounding 2nd Avenue and Pike Street declined. The building’s upper stories were slowly vacated, boarded up and completely abandoned by 1978. By the 2000s, the ground-level retail spaces were derelict and attracted illicit activity.
In 2006, the building received a Seattle Landmark designation, preventing the construction of a new tower in its place. Hopes of restoring it were challenged by finding an economically viable program that would work with the building’s limited floor plates. Analysis of the buildings floor plates and regular punched openings indicated that a boutique hotel program would be an appropriate fit. However, to improve its economic viability, the existing lightwell was in-filled and an additional story added to increase the guest-room count. In total, 91 guest rooms are organized along a central double-loaded corridor.
The building suffered significant damage during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and the building needed to be stabilized prior to its renovation. As a part of the required seismic upgrades to the structure, the western wall was carefully deconstructed and rebuilt. New stair and elevator cores accommodate the building’s circulation and egress requirements and provide lateral resistance. New braced frames and shear walls provide additional stability. A new rooftop pavilion, set back from both facades rendering it almost invisible from the street, accommodates six large suites and a rooftop terrace with views to the Sound.
Significant character-defining features on the exterior facade were restored or replaced in-kind, greatly improving the pedestrian experience. The hotel lobby is located at the street level and utilizes the historic archway as its main entry. A new minimalist glass marquee extends over the sidewalk and into the entry vestibule, providing protection from the elements and preserving views to the elaborate terra-cotta detailing above. The exterior tan brick cladding with terra-cotta ornamentation was repaired, and original and missing windows were replaced with new, energy-efficient ones that replicated the size, shape and configuration of the originals.
In April of 2019, the newly restored Eitel Building reopened as the State Hotel, supported by the Ben Paris Restaurant, its name paying homage to one of the building’s previous restaurant tenants. Large windows along both frontages address the street and welcome a constant flow of pedestrians passing to and from Pike Place Market.
Architect: Weinstein A+U
- Ed Weinstein, design principal
- Daniel Goddard, principal-in-charge
- Tania van Heerden, project manager
- Sean Reagin
- Thayer Wild
- Peter Gray
Client: Lake Union Partners
Interior Designer: VIDA Design
Contractor: Exxel Pacific
Civil and Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Photos: Andrew Nam, Lindsey Koehler
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