Photo: Sydney Parker
When you drive across the Fremont Bridge, it’s hard to miss the Bleitz Funeral Home at 316 Florentia Street. The iconic property is located near the northeast corner of Queen Anne Hill, across the Ship Canal from the commercial core of the Fremont neighborhood. The original building on the site, which dates from 1921, had single-story addition constructed in 1989.
The property recently sold for $4.2 million to Warm Springs Investors LLC, owned by Bill Pollard and developer Doug Waddell. Pollard told DJC that they plan to preserve the exterior of the building, renovate the interior and rent it out as office space for small to mid-size companies that want “an authentic and creative facility.” They may also construct a new office building on the adjacent parking lot, complete with ground floor retail, but the size or timing of that project is undetermined.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board is considering Bleitz Funeral Home as a site to receive city landmark designation. According to the nomination report, the original owner, Jacob J. Bleitz established the Bleitz Funeral Home in 1904. Bleitz was born in Sandwich, Illinois, around 1865. He received his training from the Chicago College of Embalming in Illinois, graduating in 1900, and practiced for several years in Kansas. He came from Wichita to Seattle in 1904, and continued working as a mortician in the funeral industry.
Photo: Sydney Parker
In a twist that is strikingly similar to the plot of the Seattle-based HBO show, Six Feet Under, Jacob Bleitz died suddenly of a heart attack. After his death his widow, Irene, continued to own the business until her death in 1952, while his sons, James and Lawrence Bleitz, maintained and operated the business, as the funeral director and mortician respectively, along with other family members.
The board will vote on Wednesday, March 1 at 3:30 p.m. The public meeting will be held in Seattle City Hall (600 4th Avenue, Floor L2) in the Boards and Commissions Room L2-80. Written comments are due by February 28th to Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
Seattle has already converted one mortuary into the bar, Pine Box. Why not get even weirder and add an office space?