The Alki Homestead has yet more hoops to jump through before its final destiny is determined. A process is now underway to determine if it can provide a viable path forward.
Alki Homestead meeting was focused on the future; But it will be at least a year before anything changes
Next step will take place Sept. 20 with a new appraisal of the aging structure
A group of select people and at least one public official met with the owner of the Alki Homestead, Tom Lin on Aug. 28 to go over the options for the aging, historic building and attempt to gain an understanding of where to go next.
Present at the meeting, held at the Stimson-Green Mansion, Nicholas Vann (Historic Architect) Allyson Brooks Phd. (State Historic Preservation Officer) both with the Washington State Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Karen Gordon (Historic Preservation Officer, City of Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods), Kathleen Brooker (Director, Historic Seattle), and Jennifer Meisner (Director, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation) and previously unannounced Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and his assistant Ed Murray. Reid Severson, a financial intern accompanied Lin to the meeting.
A primary issue in the meeting was the federal tax credit qualification and it was outlined by Vann.
The three criteria for getting a federal tax credit, which could be worth up to 20% of the qualifying expenses of rehabilitation of the building are:
1. It has to be on the national register of historic places (the Homestead is not currently listed this way).
2. It must be economically self sufficient
3. It must get the approval of the Dept. of the Interior.
It was decided in the meeting that a new appraisal should be done to determine a different method of creating a new foundation.
During the week of Sept. 20 that meeting will take place between Todd Perbix of Perbix-Bykonen, structural engineers, Nicholas Vann and someone from the Department of Planning and Development for Seattle. They will be looking at safety and code issues and look at foundation construction options. Once a method has been settled upon, a cost estimate will be sought from a construction company.
On Sept. 25 another meeting between those that met on the 28th will evaluate that plan and those costs.
To get certified by the Dept. of Archaeology to get the tax credit, that process will take at least one year.
Another aspect of getting that credit, according to Allyson Brooks, is that the building must remain essentially as it is for a minimum of five years, after it is rebuilt/or restored. Changes are possible but they must conform to federal standards.
Part of the evaluation of the project is the economics of it and that falls to Lin. There's some insurance money (from the fire) and the tax credit he could use toward restoration but exactly how much left to pay is at this point unclear. The source of that funding is also unclear. Lin is not hopeful about financing the difference, "Banks are not lending. They haven't been lending for the past couple of years to commercial projects. It's very difficult to get money right now," he said. He's hoping economic conditions will change. Other sources of funding might also be sought he said.
They must have all the components of deal assembled before they can seek financing.
"Allyson and Nick did a great job of putting all the key players in place and now all of them are there to make a decision quickly," said Lin.
The ARC and the Dept. of Archaeology have worked with each other previously which should make getting the recommendations from them a little easier.