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By Virginia

Image source: The Seattle Times 

The Smith Tower has always been one of my favorite landmarks. It’s beautiful…

I have always loved the Smith Tower. It’s beautiful, striking, and most importantly, holds many fascinating pieces of Seattle history, including the “Chinese Room” which contains beautiful furniture gifted from the Empress Cixi.

That’s why I am so happy to hear that the Smith Tower’s somewhat rocky fortunes finally appear to be on the upswing! It is getting a big re-branding and is re-opening the public observation deck on the 35th floor, this time with some really interesting changes.

But first, a little backstory:

The Smith Tower has been an iconic point on the Seattle skyline ever since it was built by typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith in 1914.

It was the original Seattle skyscraper and the tallest building on the West Coast until it was surpassed by the Space Needle in 1962.

However, the Smith Tower has gone through a bit of a roller coaster ride the past two decades, beginning with the dot-com bust, when many of its tech startup tenants moved out, and culminating in a foreclosure auction in 2012. I covered that foreclosure auction in this blog post at the time. (Can you believe I’ve had this blog for four years now?? Time flies!)

Now onto the re-branding:

Check out their great looking new logo and website – of course the website is just a small piece of the changes, but I love the historic feel and details they put into the new brand.

Smith Tower New Logo and Website | Virginia Calvin | Seattle Real Estate


The Smith Tower sold for $37 million in its foreclosure auction in 2012. The current owner, Unico, paid $73.7 million for it in 2015 and enlisted the help of Graham Baba Architects (designers of the beautiful Melrose Market) for the Observatory redesign. (Source: Seattle Eater.) I am so looking forward to seeing the results of their work!

I’m glad and can’t wait to check out the new changes soon. For now, here’s the basic info on the 35th floor Observatory:

Open as of August 25th, 2016, the 35th floor of the Smith Tower now boasts a “speakeasy” bar called Temperance offering a mix of cocktails and appetizers, in addition to the gorgeous classic wraparound open air observation deck.

To get to the 35th floor though, you’ll need a ticket – either $10 for a “straight up” ticket or $19.14 (get it?) for a self-guided tour including various exhibits about Seattle or Smith Tower’s history. You can get both tickets here. Keep in mind that the Observatory closes at 6pm though, and I think last call at Temperance is 7:30, so your experience will be of a Happy Hour variety.

Click here to view the Seattle Eater write-up of Temperance including the delicious-sounding menu.

Want to visit and check it out for yourself? Here’s the address:

506 Second Avenue, Ste. 220
Seattle, Washington 98104

And contact info for general inquiries according to their website:

I’m hoping to see it myself soon, and will update this post with photos and a review when I do. Until then, here’s to Seattle having one more cool new/old space to enjoy! I’m so glad this is one of the icons Seattle has decided to save, while updating it in a new and creative way. Nice juxtaposition with this recent Seattle Times article about how Seattle is bulldozing down an average of one house a day, to make room for a new house triple the size.

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The Redesigned Smith Tower Observatory!