AKA: Grand Central Hotel, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Grand Central Mercantile Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Anderson, Ralph D., and Partners, Architects (firm); Comstock and Trötsche, Architects (firm); Ralph Donald Anderson Jr. (architect); Nelson Alanson Comstock (architect); Carl Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Trötsche (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1890

4 stories, total floor area: 84,750 sq. ft.

view all images ( of 2 shown)

208 1st Avenue South
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104-2504

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map
The Squire-Latimer Block occupied the storefronts from 208 to 220 1st Avenue South


This four-story, load-bearing brick building lines the western boundary of Occidental Park and has housed many businesses over the years, most notably the Grand Central Hotel and, later, the Grand Central Bakery. It was rehabilitated in the 1960s by the notable Puget Sound School designer, Ralph D. Anderson, who along with Alan Black and Richard White, helped to recreate Pioneer Square into an upscale area for artists, architects and other professionals in the 1960s.

Building History

The Seattle office of the San Diego architectural firm of Comstock and Trötsche (opened in 1889) provided the design for the Squire-Latimer Building, co-owned by the NY-born lawyer and investor, Watson Carvosso Squire (1838–1926) and Norval H. Latimer (1863-1923), a banker associated with the Dexter Horton and Company Bank in 1891. It measured 60 x 111 feet andwas erected just after the Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889 wiped out the entire Pioneer Square central business district. A building boom happened in the city from 1889 until about 1893, when an economic depression stymied construction across the US.

Comstock and Trötsche made the acquaintance of Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925), an energetic and well-connected booster of Seattle, who urged that they open an office in Seattle. During their short time operating in the city, they designed both the Squire-Latimer Building and the J.H. Marshall Building #2 (1889). (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, "Historical Sites Summary for 216 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800390," accessed 09/13/2018.)

In 1907, the Grand Central Hotel, managed by William Holt, President, and Albert J. Richards, Secretary, occupied the Squire-Latimer Block. The hotel's address was 214-216 1st Avenue South at this time. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1907, p. 513.)

Of his efforts at rehabilitating Pioneer Square buildings like the Grand Central Block, the architect Ralph D. Anderson (1924-2010) said in a 2007 interview: "I was confident something would happen, and it did respond very rapidly. People began to see possibilities. Richard White, for example, who later set up the Foster/White Gallery, bought an old hotel. In 1960, I bought the Union Trust Building from Sam Israel and moved my office there. So far as I know, that was the only building Sam ever sold. After that, when our two boys were in college, we moved into the Fisher Studio Building, near Pioneer Square. We converted it into living spaces and offices, and lived in three different apartments there. That was one of the first buildings to be renovated that way." (See Dean Stahl, Seattle Times, Pacific Northwest Sunday Magazine, "Taking the Long View," Accessed 02/14/2012.)

Gallery owner Richard White and the developer Alan Black owned the Squire-Latimer Block during the 1980s and 1990s. White sold his ownership stake to Alan Black and Seligmann Beckman PLLC, for $1,664,000 on 03/26/1999. Black, in turn, sold the building on 10/17/2007 to Intracorp Properties Pioneer Portfolio LLC for a substantial $17,481,000. General Electric Credit Equities, Incorporated, foreclosed on Intracorp's assets including this building on 09/16/2011, and sold it three months later on 12/09/2011 for $19,100,000 to PSQ Portfolio LP. As real estate values in Pioneer Square slumped during the early 2010s, PSQ Portfolio, LP, sold the Squire-Latimer Block to G&G Grand Central Partners LLC on 10/26/2013 for $11,495,000. G&G turned a profit a year later selling it to UPI Grand central LLC for $16,497,500.

Building Notes

Watson C. Squire was a business and political insider in Seattle, whose New York roots were useful in attracting East Coast capital to invest in the city. He was the WA Territory's 12th Governor and would become an early US Senator from the state, serving from 1889 until 1897. In 1907, He was the President of the Union Trust Company (not to be confused with the Union Savings and Trust Company owned by James D. Hoge and his associates); Shirley Squire was the company secretary, while L.T. Turner was its assistant secretary, and F.D. Powell, its manager. It occupied Room #211 of the Bailey Building in 1907. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1907, p. 1152.)

In 1926, the last year of his life, he was the President of the Squire Investment Company, with an office in the Empire Building. (See Seattle City Directory, 1926, p. 1380.) He preferred living in hotels in the city, residing at the posh Occidental Hotel in 1889 and the new Sorrento Hotel in 1910, although he did own a house at 525 17th Avenue in 1926.

In 1893, the building was referred to as "Squire's Block," and its location listed as the northwest corner of Main Street and South 2nd Avenue. (See R.L. Polk's Seattle City Directory, 1893, p. 412.)

In 2018, the Squire-Latimer Block contained 84.750 gross square feet (gsf), 70,343 net. This included 16,650 gsf in first floor retail space (16,277 net), 18,150 gsf in basement retail space (12,416 net), and 49,950 gsf on floors 2-4 (41,650, net). It occupied a 16,650-square-foot (0.38-acre) lot. Land and improvement had a taxable value of $18,174,200 in 2018, up only slight from its value in 2008, $17,481,000.


Great interest in historic preservation occurred in Downtown Seattle during the 1960s and 1970s. Seattle architect Ralph Anderson pioneered this process of rehabilitation when he moved his office to the then-derelict Pioneer Square in 1960. Anderson directed the rehabilitation of the former Grand Central Hotel in 1971-1972, and the building was subsequently renamed "Grand Central on the Park."

Some internal demolition (costing $5,300) and remodeling (costing $150,000) occurred between April and May 2002.