Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Luzon Rescue?

The Luzon Building might have got a metaphorical and physical “boost of support” to its walls thanks to Tacoma contractor Igor Kunista, owner of Serpanok Construction Inc. Kunista told the City Council this past Tuesday that he would like to begin shoring up the leaning brick walls of the six-story building this week if he can buy it from its present owner, local developer the Gintz Group.

The north wall of the building is leaning 5 inches toward South 13th Street, an ominous sign of eventual collapse. This threat of collapse prompted the city’s Public Works Department to close South 13th Street and one southbound lane of Pacific Avenue adjacent to the building in order to protect the public.

According to The News Tribune, Kunitsa’s plan calls for him to invest $2.33 million in cash in the historic building. The remainder of the $6 million in construction cost would be paid with a $2 million loan from Wells Fargo Bank and a $1.65 million low-interest loan from the City of Tacoma. The city had offered that same loan to the building’s owner, The Gintz Group, but the Tacoma developer has been unable to find tenants to rent the offices in the rehabilitated structure.

A consultant to Kunitsa, however, claims that several tenants have shown strong interest in signing up for office space if Kunitsa is the one to rehabilitate the building. In addition, Kunitsa thinks he may be able to rehabilitate the Luzon more economically than Gintz because he could be the building’s developer as well as its general contractor as opposed to an outside contractor that Gintz would need to hire.

Also in the Tribune, there is mention that the city may be able to step in to install reinforcements to keep the building intact if Kunitsa’s plan falls through or if Gintz can’t find new financing to rehabilitate the building.

For a more detailed article on this exciting new downtown news, read The News Tribune article. [link: ]

1 comment:

  1. Update: The Gintz Group rejected Kunista's offer, but the TNT reports that the two developers are still discussing their options. In the mean time, the City has proposed anchoring metal stilts to S. 13th St. to support the deteriorating North wall of the Luzon. Read the TNT's report here: