Monday, September 11, 2006

Wanted: Responsible Owners for the Winthrop Hotel

Tomorrow evening, the members of the Tacoma City Council may put the final touches to a transfer of ownership for Tacoma's long-debated Winthrop Hotel. While there are many aspects to the public debate that has surrounded this pending sale, one issue is of particular concern to downtown property owners--that the sheer size of the 190-unit complex makes it critical that it be well-managed.

It's been well documented that the area around the Winthrop requires an inordinate amount of attention from BIA security patrols and the Tacoma Police Department. A key principle in addressing public disorder is the need for organizations and programs to mitigate their community impacts in cooperation with other stakeholders. This principle has gained greater recognition from the larger community through deliberations of such groups as the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the Service Tax Task Force, among others. The Tacoma community is becoming increasingly demanding that the impacts of service providers of any type be borne by those providers; this has long been the standard imposed by the community on for-profit operations.

Coast Real Estate Services, the current managers of the Winthrop, have been egregious in their failure to mitigate the community impacts engendered by their complex. They have been unwilling even to allow their representatives to take part in community dialog.

Many community members, including members of the Tacoma City Council, have taken solace from their sense that A.F. Evans Development, the Oakland-based non-profit in line to purchase the complex, will be a better manager; yet the Lake Washington Apartments in Rainier Beach, co-owned the past 10 years by Evans, are reportedly plagued by drug dealing, shootings, beatings, syringes on lawns, stolen mail, feces and urine in the hallways, and discarded condoms in the laundry rooms.

The third party to consider as possible managers for the Winthrop is the group being organized by Tim Quigg, a principal in Quigg Brothers, Inc. Quigg is currently partnering on the restoration of the Morck Hotel in Aberdeen with Seattle developer Chester Trabucco, who also rehabilitated the Hotel Elliott in Astoria, OR. Will Quigg and his partners offer better management for the Winthrop than either of the current parties? This is a critical question that deserves investigation by City of Tacoma leaders before they close out other options.

4 comments:

  1. There is a growing interest to have a hotel in north end of downtown Tacoma and the Withrop Hotel restored.

    Now Quigg and his team is ready to do this and address low income housing issues and parking issues.

    Please make sure and attend the hearing at city council on the Winthrop Hotel at city hall 747 Market St. first floor at 5:00 p.m. Monday 9/12 to let them know your preference for the Winthrop.

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  2. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Channel 13 morning news just ran a story about Evans and the Lake Washington Apartments. I would advise everyone to watch this and make sure that the city council is aware of Evans' reputation as slumlords. Or better yet take a trip to Seattle and have a look- talk to the residents.

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  3. I work across the street from the winthrop. I am excited to see something happen with this property, yet I feel sorry for all the crazy people living there.

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  4. Here's the results of the poll conducted by Kevin Freitas:

    Restoring the Winthrop Hotel: 43

    Investing in keeping the Winthrop as low-income housing: 2

    Total Votes 45

    Percent voting to restore Winthrop Hotel = 95.5 percent.

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