The 1972 renovation of this prominent building provided a catalyst for further renovations in Pioneer Square. It was built in 1889-90 as the Squire-Latimer Block, an office building. During the 1897 Gold Rush it was converted to the Grand Central Hotel to accommodate the flood of people coming to Seattle on their way to the Yukon.
The hotel became quite dilapidated by the 1930s and continued to decline until 1971, when a group of local developers purchased and renovated it. The building has been restored to its original office use, with shops on the lower levels. It is clad with smooth red brick and rough sandstone details, with wood and cast iron storefronts.
The office entry is particularly notable with its large archway of sandstone. A public atrium connects First Avenue with Occidental Park, a former parking lot transformed in 1972 to an urban open space with trees and benches. Occidental Mall, lined with art galleries, continues the pedestrian corridor to the south.
To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle’s historical sites page.
Occidental Avenue S. and S. Main Street (2.19mb mp3)
Find this building on our walking tour map. (680kb pdf)
This site is dedicated to the history of Seattle's downtown and waterfront, especially the State Route 99 / Alaskan Way Viaduct corridor. It was developed by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration as an educational resource and as part of a Memorandum of Agreement for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (pdf 1mb).
Copyright 2011 Washington State Department of Transportation