West Seattle history: Alki Homestead listed for sale, again

(WSB photo, taken this morning)
Thanks to Richard Hesik for spotting the listing and sending the link: Almost five years after the electrical fire that damaged and closed the historic-landmark Alki Homestead, it’s listed for sale, again. It had been on the market before the fire; a year and a half afterward, owner Tom Lin said he would put it back on the market, but no listing ever appeared. He then engaged a team of local architects to pursue a restoration plan that went before the city Landmarks Board Architectural Review Committee four times (reports are in our archive of Homestead coverage) before the project went dormant. Now, the 110-year-old former Fir Lodge, a city landmark on a 14k-square-foot lot, is listed for $1,850,000, with Paragon Real Estate Advisors‘ flyer declaring that the Homestead is “now waiting for a new owner to bring it back to life and carry on the legacy,” while also noting, “The list price does not include the cost of rehabilitation of the structure.”

11 Replies to "West Seattle history: Alki Homestead listed for sale, again"

  • David December 6, 2013 (11:13 am)

    I’m no real estate expert…but does that seem crazy? $1.85 million…for a damaged neglected property that needs hundreds of thousands to million of repairs to be legally usable as a commercial interest again. I mean GOOD luck if you can get it, but that seems a bit nuts. Everything about this place makes me mad and sad. It was a thriving business for 100 years, until a stupid overuse of Christmas lights and resulting fire caused it to sit abandoned for years. Then cutting down all the old trees in front. When I moved to Seattle I loved going do dinner there with my folks. The damage done to this wonderful property is just horrible.

  • wetone December 6, 2013 (12:21 pm)

    Not to far off on price. It’s all about location and zoning. 14,000 sqft lot gives a builder a lot of options. Would be neat to see it restored but cost would be huge. Worked there as a young teen pan frying chicken it was the best.

  • David December 6, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    Fair point. I’d understand the price if you were just buying the “lot” for the traditional rip down and 6 story mixed use condo development. But I ASSUME since this is a historic registered building you can’t just bulldoze it to build a condo, you’d HAVE TO keep/use the building. I’m assuming.

    • WSB December 6, 2013 (1:02 pm)

      David: That was a point that never got to the Landmarks Board to settle – whether it could be “re-created” or “restored,” with expert opinions on whether any of the original logs were reusable – the contention at one point was that the prior ownership had allowed deterioration even before the fire, as detailed in our coverage of the discussions with the board’s architecture-reviewing committee, such as this story from July 2011: https://westseattleblog.com/2011/07/alki-homestead-3-ideas-outlined-for-restorationreconstruction – TR

  • Guy December 6, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    Turn it into a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell or a gas station/fireworks stand.

  • MrB December 6, 2013 (1:36 pm)

    When it sells let’s get an angry mob together and welcome the new owner.

  • pupsarebest December 6, 2013 (1:51 pm)

    Alki Homestead was a community treasure, a truly charming, unique and beautiful ambience.
    All-you-can-eat, family-style fried chicken dinners there, with friends and family, are memories I cherish.
    I hope someone with vision (and, obviously, lots of $$$) can do something to save this structure, regardless of the impossibility of returning it to its glory days.

  • Bob December 6, 2013 (6:07 pm)

    Log houses are cool, but nature has typical ways of recycling after predictable periods of time. Do we really need to ‘save’ this building?
    Maybe the fun, park-like neighborhood of Alki would be better served with some healthy urban renewal versus continuing to put up with this litter repository/ attractive nuisance.
    If a nostalgic West Seattle philanthropist hasn’t yet stepped in to reverse Mother Nature, then I nominate we let our risk-taking neighbor create some jobs, housing, and tax base. Lots of new Amazon/SBUX migrants that want to live in Alki..

  • David December 6, 2013 (11:00 pm)

    That was funny, good sarcasm. :)
    But yeah, this is one of the oldest original Seattle buildings. Most cities try to preserve a handful of their original buildings, not all, but a few specific unique examples. Outside of the log house museum and Homestead, how many original “log houses” are left in (West) Seattle? That’s why it’s historic. For that matter, why not tear down the “old” Smith Tower, the top 1/3 isn’t really useful. And while you’re at it, get rid of Pike Place market and replace it with some condos and a shinny mall with even floors? I think folks tried this in the 70s…THANK GOD they failed, or Seattle would have no character at all. Most of Seattle is newer buildings, witness the endless debates over the “Whole Foods” buildings. It would be nice to keep ONE or TWO of our original buildings, just for kicks. Or why DO we have a historic society and historic designation of buildings at all?

  • Bob formerly of west seattle December 9, 2013 (1:26 pm)

    I agree that Alki Homestead should somehow be saved, but wood does rot with age unless there is ongoing preservation. Someone needs to really get a focus on how to preserve and maybe get grant funding to restore the Homestead. Check with Preservation Magazine, maybe they can offer assistance. Too many historic homes are being torn down for the sake of property values.(greed?)
    While I am at it, If anyone is interested in tearing something down, how about tearing down the house behind West Seattle Nursery, now THAT is an eyesore if ever there was one, why does the city allow that home owner to continue the eyesore? I heard through the grapevine, the owner is “intimidating” not sure what that means. It is an old house not restored properly and a blight to the neighborhood. Just my two cents worth,

  • KayK December 10, 2013 (8:10 am)

    There is so much community goodwill towards this building that one wonders if that could be considered an asset just as much as the real estate itself. Maybe a creative new owner or group of owners could generate the energy to get this restoration done so the building could be enjoyed again by all. There must be grant monies available out there to help, 4Culture, National Trust, etc.

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