firestone-1-compressed Photo: Seattle.gov

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the Firestone Auto Supply & Service Store Building at 400 Westlake Avenue N. next week. Developer Martin Selig bought the property last year and plans to build about 150,000 square feet of office and 17,500 square feet of ground-floor retail. At least two floors will be designed for biotech use. The building could open in late 2017 or early 2018, reports the Seattle Times.

If the Firestone building is granted landmark status, Selig’s plans may be changing.

Harvey Firestone founded the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in 1900. At that time, Akron was also home to two other tire companies, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and B. F. Goodrich. Akron came to be known as the rubber capital of the world. Firestone retired in 1932 and died on February 7th, 1938 at the age of 69 in Miami Beach. The company was later sold for $2.6 billion to Japan-based Bridgestone Corporation.

Seattle may not be the rubber capital of the world, but we sure do love our Firestone tires.

The original Seattle Firestone was located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and only sold tires. The automobile industry was booming and there was a hot market for rubber on South Lake Union’s auto row. When the company relocated to South Lake Union in 1929, they expanded to offer auto services and gas pumps as well. The Austin Company, a California-based architecture firm was commissioned to design the building in the art deco-style with a terra-cotta exterior.

According to a Landmark Nomination report prepared by the Johnson Partnership, the building was remodeled in 1937 by notable northwest architect Victor Voorhees, who altered the enclosed display room at the main floor. Voorhees designed over 110 buildings including Seattle’s Washington Hall and Old Georgetown City Hall. He is best known for publishing Western Home Builder, a plan book published in several editions, each containing plans for several dozen residences, ranging from small bungalows to large American four-square houses, known locally as “Seattle Boxes.”

firestone-2 Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikimedia

Selig controls around 4 million square feet of buildings in Seattle and has about 1.5 million square feet in various stages of development, reports the Seattle Times. If the Firestone building receives landmark status, how will it effect Selig’s real estate empire? If the building doesn’t receive landmark status, how will it affect the city of Seattle? If you have strong thoughts on the matter, make your voice heard at a public hearing on Wednesday, April 20th at 3:30pm in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Floor L2, Room L 280 “Boards & Commissions”.

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