Virginia CalvinVirginia Calvin

By Virginia

It’s not just houses and condos whose values have dropped in the last 4 years—even our iconic SmithTower, whose Chicago-based owner has a $42 million dollar mortgage, has dropped to an assessed value of $21.3 million. Ouch! It’s headed for a foreclosure auction on March 23.

It’s been a mess for so long now that you probably don’t remember the good old days – like when Ivar Haglund bought the tower and hoisted a 16-foot windsock (the “rainbow salmon”) from the flagpole at the top, and successfully fought off the Seattle Building Department with bad poetry.

Remember?….the tallest building west of the Mississippi, until the Space Needle was built in 1962…the elevator operators, who would pull the brass grills closed across the glass door of the elevator…the dizzying ride up to The Chinese Room at the top (like being car-sick, only vertically, as each floor flashed by).

The Samis Corp., owners after Ivar, kicked all the businesses out in the late 1990’s to renovate, but by 2001 the “dot-com bubble” had burst, and demand for offices in Pioneer Square had evaporated. The current owner (since 2006) wanted to do condominiums, but we all know what THAT’S been like the last few years.

I have high hopes for this foreclosure auction: let’s get a new owner, a correct market value, and bring new life to the SmithTower and this great part of town!

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Smith Tower Foreclosure Auction