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December 16, 2020

Seattle Labor Temple sold for over $11M; renovation planned — with no increase in height

Real Estate Editor

Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
The old labor hall appears bound for conversion to boutique offices.

Two years after the landmarked Seattle Labor Temple went on the market, as the DJC first reported, local company Faul announced it will buy the half-block property in Belltown. King County hasn't yet recorded a sale for the two- and three-story building at 2800 First Ave.

Update: The property sold for almost $11.5 million. The deal was worth about $178 per square foot for the building. Public records indicate a loan from Cass Commercial Bank.

Faul, led by Chris Faul, will apparently keep the building as is, with renovation and restoration work but no additions. The property, between Broad and Clay streets, is zoned up to 145 feet. When the building went on the block in 2018, there was an accompanying 16-story feasibility plan for apartments. That now looks to be dead.

Instead, the complex will evidently become offices, or “a new, full-service insightful workplace,” says Faul.

Faul obtained a construction permit this fall for seismic work on the unreinforced masonry complex, which was constructed between dates 1942 and 1955. That team includes Foushee, general contractor; Bush, Roed & Hitchings, surveyor; DCI, structural engineer; and architects BuildingWork and Kenneth Wilson Architect. Faul estimates the project cost at $12 million.

This week, Faul also applied for a lot boundary adjustment to split the parcel into two.

The ownership, a consortium led by MLK Labor, landmarked the building in 2010, so the exterior must be preserved. That labor consortium, under different past names, has owned the property since it was developed. A spokesman told the DJC in 2018 that Heartland was its broker. Terms for the pending deal weren't announced.

Chris Faul said in a statement, “We intend to honor the building's history while creating a community-focused, multi-use building where talented, creative minds and culture converge to connect professionally and personally.”

The press release mentions a “membership and event model,” for future tenants and users. When renovated, the Labor Temple will offer 64,385 square feet. The project will be phased, with the upper stories slated for completion by late next year. The ground floor and basement, still home to Green Leaf Vietnamese restaurant, will take a little longer.

The pending sale also comes with 102 deeded parking stalls in the Ellington Condominiums, directly west across First.

As with other squat little landmarked buildings, the new owner may choose to sell off the air rights (development rights) to other projects. The 1940s portions of the Belltown building were designed by McClelland & Jones; Harmon, Pray, & Detrich designed the 1955 addition.

MLK Labor and other related tenants will move to a new headquarters in SoDo. The location hasn't been disclosed. MLK Labor previously told the DJC that it hoped to move near a light rail station, probably in South Seattle, with less downtown traffic. Heartland was again assisting in that search. Before moving to Belltown, the first Labor Temple was at Sixth Avenue and University Street.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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