Landmarks Board committee to review Homestead restoration plan

For the first time in more than a year, the city Landmark Preservation Board‘s Architectural Review Committee is about to be briefed on the proposed future of the fire-damaged Alki Homestead (historically known as the Fir Lodge). A review is set for this Friday morning at the city Municipal Tower downtown; that’s the first step toward the approvals required to alter the structure, since it’s a city landmark; the Homestead was last brought before them in November 2009. Shortly after the recent 2-year anniversary of the accidental fire that shut down the Alki Homestead restaurant, the language regarding the project changed on the project’s city webpage; instead of mentioning “reconstruction,” it now reads “Restoration of the Historic Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead Restaurant, removal of the non-historic accessory structures, and new construction of an attached facility at NW portion of the site.” Before finding out about this review, we had in fact just checked on this project at city Department of Planning and Development headquarters downtown, and they told us the plans haven’t been submitted to DPD yet, so this Friday may be the first official look. (Added: Since we’re still downtown, we’re going over to the Landmarks Board office to take a look at what they have on file.)

ADDED 5:35 PM: The restoration project’s description, according to what we subsequently found on file at the Landmarks Board office downtown – read on:

Key excerpts that we transcribed from the application for a “certificate of approval,” which the Landmarks Board would have to approve before work could proceed on a landmarked structure like the Homestead:

The proposed work consists of the restoration of the historic Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead Restaurant, the demolition of the non-historic accessory structures at SW portion of Homestead, and the new construction of an attached kitchen/storage facility located at the NW portion of the site. Existing parking (21 stalls) to remain. In addition, the existing entry sequence and surrounding landscape will remain or will be restored as required …

The proposed work is being presented to the Architectural Review Committee in order to reach agreement on all issues pertaining to the development of this site. The following determinations have been agreed upon as necesary for approval of this project:

*Maintain location, massing, and aesthetic character of the Homestead …

*Maintain existing entry sequence and landscaping
…The walkway will be retained and the landscaping will be replaced as needed (many trees are considered unhealthy and may need to be replaced). …

*Maintain existing parking court (21 stalls in all) …

*Demolish accessory structures on south and southwest wall of Homestead
Two accessory structures were added … in 1980s prior to its historical designation. These structures as cited in the reports disrupted the structural integrity of the primary Homestead structure. In addition, they significantly affect the overall appearance of the Homestead particularly when viewing the south and west facades …

*Construct new accessory structure at rear in place of demolished accessory structures.
In order for the Homestead to continue operating as a restaurant, which it has been since the 1950s, a substantial kitchen area is needed. In an effort to restore the southwest portion of the structure, where most of the kitchen facilities are housed, a new kitchen will be built in the rear of the site directly adjacent to the alley (see site plan). This new structure will be attached to the Homestead and will house the kitchen facilities that previously existed in the accessory structure additions. Placing the new structure at the rear of the Homestead will greatly enhance the overall aesthetics of the Homestead, since the new structure wil be almost entirely out of sight when approaching the Homestead’s front door. …

*Maintain/restore signage located on the roof.
The neon sign that sits atop the Homestead is of significant historical importance and will be restored back to working condition.

Also of note, a different lead consultant is on the project, compared to last year – Alloy Design Group is listed; Jeffrey Smith, the architect who led briefings in 2009 and was still on project documents we saw in the LPB file from early 2010, is no longer mentioned. This Friday’s hearing, by the way, will be on the 40th floor of the Muni Tower downtown.

9 Replies to "Landmarks Board committee to review Homestead restoration plan"

  • dawsonct January 24, 2011 (6:37 pm)

    Sounds a lot better than “dig a big hole, figure out what to do with it later.”

    Seriously, I’m really looking forward to what sounds like WAY more than a fix-up. I am certain the restoration will be met with deep appreciation from the community.

  • Guy January 25, 2011 (12:36 am)

    Awesome!!! Can’t wait for the next step!!!

  • Cami January 25, 2011 (11:27 am)

    Tracy, this is quite different than the presentation long ago, correct?

    • WSB January 25, 2011 (11:54 am)

      Yup. Completely different. We’ll be there Friday morning to hear firsthand. What is in the file I reviewed yesterday has nothing about additional businesses on the site as was in the 2009 proposal. – TR

  • Jo January 25, 2011 (11:44 am)

    Yeah, Cami, that’s how I’m reading it, also.
    I thought the earlier presentation whs that the Homestead COULD NOT be restored.
    What’s your take on it, Tracy/Patrick

  • Cami January 25, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    Thanks for keeping all up to date, Tracy.

  • MISTER January 26, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    what time is the meeting Friday morning?

    • WSB January 26, 2011 (1:40 pm)

      Meeting at 8:30 am, this item is scheduled for 8:45.

  • kathy January 27, 2011 (12:36 am)

    I hope that all of our community will patronize the new Homestead to show our appreciation for the time,effort and expense that will be going into this project

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