Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers (firm); John Graham Sr. (architect/engineer)

Dates: constructed 1922-1923

15 stories, total floor area: 331,003 sq. ft.

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710 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-1742

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Northeast corner of Second Avenue and Cherry Street;

Building History

Banker Dexter Horton's daughter, Caroline, erected this large office building with her cousin, Charles. They named it in honor of Dexter Horton (1825-1904), who established a reputation as a fair and honest businessman in early Seattle, WA, and began the city's first bank in 1870. The 1923 building was built on property owned by her father, where his New York Building (1892) had stood on the northeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Cherry Street. To also make way for the Dexter Horton Building, that stretched from 2nd to 3rd Avenues on the north side of Cherry Street, another building, the Occidental Hotel #4 (northwest corner of Cherry and 3rd), was also torn down. In total, the huge Dexter Horton Building took up the south half of the block bounded by 2nd Avenue, Cherry Street, 3rd Avenue and Columbia Street.

The Horton Family commissioned the Seattle architecture firm of John Graham and Company to design this modern and prestigious office block; in the 1920s-1930s, it was one of the most prestigious business addresses in Downtown Seattle. Graham liked his results so much that he moved his offices there in 10/1923; for an architect, moving into a successful building of one's own design was the best form of advertising.

The Washington, DC, Carlyle Group, and Goodman Real Estate of Seattle bought the Dexter Horton Building from the City of Seattle in 2000 for $46 million. Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management purchased the property for Napi REIT Incorporated, a subsidiary of the insurance company, Prudential UK, for $81 million in 2006. It was again for sale in 02/2013. The Portland, OR, investment firm, Gerding Edlen,acquired the building in early 03/2013, for $76.6 million, $231 per square foot. At this time, the Dexter Horton Block was over 90% occupied. According to report in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Gerding Edlen, which focused on renovation of historic properties, sought to update the building to attract new tenants: "The goal of the project is to make the building attractive to creative companies that are driving the commercial real estate market in Seattle." (See Marc Stiles, "Gerding Edlen enters Seattle office market with acquisition of Dexter Horton Building,"Accessed 04/05/2013.)

Gerding Edlen sold the property two years later, in 11/2015, for about $124.4 million to Great Eagle Holdings of Hong Kong. (See Daily Journal of Commerce.com, "Dexter Horton price up $50M since 2013," published 11/10/2015, accessed 09/04/2018.)

Building Notes

The Dexter Horton Building was long considered one of the best, most prestigious office buildings in Seattle's central business district. Light wells broke the office block in three places, allowing daylight and natural ventilation to reach most offices. In a general way, the Dexter Horton Building resembled, on a smaller scale, Albert Kahn's General Motors Building in Detroit, MI, (1922), completed a year earlier. Architect Graham had worked with Kahn in Detroit during the 1910s on commissions for the Ford Motor Company, and was likely to have known the new GM headquarters. While the GM Building had larger spaces set aside for light courts, the overall plans and elevations of the two buildings were consistent. Each building contained multi-floor bases upon which four towers sat atop, each separated by light courts, and each possessed similarly segmented elevation compositions. The Dexter Horton Building lacked the huge scale and some of the details of the GM design; most notably, the Seattle building did not possess the GM's Tower's arches on its lower floor colonnade and the colonnade just below the roofline. Above the grand lower floor, however, each building had a similar second level demarcated above and below by belt courses, and both had similar courses emphasizing the upper floor section of each design.

At one time, an A and P Supermarket operated in the Dexter Horton Building, one of the few such businesses operating in Downtown Seattle, WA, during the 20th century. It closed at this location c. 1973.

Square footage of the Dexter Horton Building was listed as 336,371 in a 2015 article in the Daily Journal of Commerce. (See Daily Journal of Commerce.com, "Dexter Horton price up $50M since 2013," published 11/10/2015, accessed 09/04/2018.)

Between 1855 and 1898, the Methodist Episcopal Church #1 stood on a portion of the ground occupied by the Dexter Horton Building.

Alteration

The Dexter Horton Block had $34 million worth of renovation work done from 2000-2006, managed by its owners Goodman Real Estate and the Carlyle Group.

Seattle Historic Landmark: ID n/a

PCAD id: 5343