Profile: Northcliffe Apartment Building

January 4th, 2008 @ 2:31 am by Cliffe | Sorted Historic Buildings |
Another week goes by, another vintage Seattle landmark goes down. This time though, it’s a “borderline landmark” — the term that’s as good as a death sentence for a structure. The Northcliffe Apartment Building at 1119 Boren Avenue is a 1920′s era brick building looming over Boren Ave surrounded by a number of historic First Hill
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buildings that have faced and will face extinction.
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As you can see from the photos, she is being prepped for demolition but the scheduled tear down of December 29th came and went. Consider this a “stay” of sorts and your chance to see the building before it’s just a memory. The building, designed by Lake Union Steam Plant architect Daniel Huntington, was considered for landmark status in 2004 but deemed “borderline.” You know what that means… future home of another generic Virginia Mason medical building. Click on the images for larger views or feel free to see the building in person before she goes.
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The Northcliffe Apartments on a clear day at the corner of Boren and Seneca. This large brick building was constructed in the 1920′s. Alternate angle of the building, also showing the south face. Security fencing surrounds the site as it awaits the wrecking ball.
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The north face of the building and back stairwell. The building features a few decorative steeply pitched gable roofs with brick timber-framing.
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The front entrance of the building is on the east side. The ornate entryway had been covered up by a less impressive green canopy.
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The south face of the building borders an empty parking lot and is without bay windows. Another view along the front of the building. Old doors have been placed into windows to thwart squatters.
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Looking up toward a lone bay window with paint chipping away. A view of the back of the building along the alley.
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Virginia Mas on signage is a stark reminder of the medical complexes that threaten many early 20th century buildings on First Hill. A 2 by 4 boards up a window with an old radiator just inside.
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A close-up view of the brick and window on the south face. A different stucco bay window deteriorating.

7 Responses to “Profile: Northcliffe Apartment Building”

  1. Zee says:

    This building is in my neighborhood and I walk by it just about every day. It’s a shame they’re tearing it down. I realize its interiors were probably not in the best shape but I think the building could’ve/should’ve been modernized. I hate to lose another cool old First Hill building.

  2. Holly says:

    I walk by there just about every day going from work to school and have been watching the process.

    My hind brain seems to think that before the demolition process started, Virginia Mason was housing some offices there?

    I am so disappointed that VM didn’t decide to rehab the building — I love the architecture, particularly the gabled roof.

  3. Didi says:

    The craftsmanship is amazing. Cliffe, it’s got your name on it. They should have considered it in preservation.

  4. Lisa says:

    For all of my childhood growing up in Seattle, my Grandmother lived in this building – one of the units facing east with a bay window. I have such fond and vivid memories of the lobby, the elevator, the halls, and her very large 1 bedroom apartment. Even as a child I knew this building was unique and special. Her 1 bedroom apartment had an amazingly large living/dining room with the bay window and a very large closet. The period kitchen also had a cute eating nook. My sister and I loved to have sleep overs at her apartment. It was a special building and I hate to see it demolished and not renovated.

  5. Holly says:

    I think it may be about ready to come down; there were “Road Closed” signs on the sidewalk this morning by the building.

  6. Sally Mayer says:

    I lived in that building and that’s where I met my husband of 48 years. I just wish there were pictures of it back then. Sally Mayer

  7. Nita Baldo says:

    Ahhh, good old house of bricks:) Your pictures just made me nostalgic. Thank you!

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