AKA: Exeter House Senior Living Apartments, Tower, First Hill, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - apartment houses; built works - dwellings - housing - housing for the elderly

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

Dates: constructed 1926-1927

10 stories, total floor area: 164,120 sq. ft.

720 Seneca Street
First Hill, Seattle, WA 98101-2764

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The English-born Seattle architect John Graham, Sr., designed this large-scale apartment hotel with ornamental motifs derived from English Gothic, Jacobean and Elizabethan architecture. It opened in 1927.

Building History

The reinforced-concrete Exeter Apartment Hotel opened in 1927. Its exterior displayed Jacobethan styling, a favorite style in Seattle at the time. Its architect John Graham, Sr., (1872-1955) experienced English architecture during his youth spent in that country.

Presbyterian Ministries, Incorporated (PMI), began operation of the former Exeter Hotel as a senior living apartment building on 01/03/1963. PMI bought the building for $1.4 million from Julius Newbert, who used the money to fund a ranch in Nevada. In 2009, PMI ran 2 senior living buildings in the Seattle area: Exeter House in First Hill and Park Shore in Madison Park, with another, Skyline at First Hill, projected. In 2010, the complex consisted of the 10-story apartment tower, built in 1927, and a 1-story convalescent hospital erected the year before.

The property was held by Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest until 2016. It was sold on 05/31/2016 to Exeter Investors LLC and Portofino Development LLC for $33,217,000. It became rental apartment building called "Exeter Seattle" by 2023. At this time rents ranged from $1,150 to $2,995 per month. (See King County Department of Asssessments.gov, Property Record for Parcel 197670-0260 accessed 07/13/2023.)

Building Notes

In 2023, Exeter House occupied a 14,399-square-foot (0.33-acre) lot. It contained 164,120 gross square feet, and 161,587, net. (See King County Department of Asssessments.gov, Property Record for Parcel 197670-0260 accessed 07/13/2023.)

When the Presbyterian Ministry bought the building in 1963, the building had 171 units, most with kitchens and dining rooms. Average sized apartments were to be offered fro $8,750 and small ones for as low as $4,500. Monthly costs for utilities, laundry and other services (exclusive of meals) was $65. In 1987, Seattle City Light found that it had been underbilling Exeter House for its electricity costs since 1967; it therefore sent a bill for $54,523.29 which administrators refused to pay; the senior living center agreed to forward about $8,000 to pay for costs incurred over the previous two years. (See Don Duncan, "Proposal would limit back billing by utilities," Seattle Times. Seattle, WA, 02/18/1987. pg. D1.) An advertisement in the Seattle arts magazine, "The Town Crier" referred to the Exeter as "a castle of comfort in the heart of Seattle." (See "The Exeter," Town Crier, 23:50, 12/15/1928, p.1.)

Tel: 206. 622.1300 (2009)..


The firm of John Graham and Company renovated the restaurant space in 1963, when the Presbyterian Ministries, Incorporated, took over the Exeter Hotel and turned it into a retirement facility.

The building underwent significant remodeling in 1996.