AKA: TRA Columbia Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Pacific Northwest Title Company Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Abacus Mechanical Engineers (firm); Bayley Construction Company (firm); Rounds - Clist Company, Incorporated, Building Contractors (firm); Schack, Young and Myers, Architects and Engineers (firm); Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire, (SWMB), Incorporated, Engineers (firm); The Richardson Associates (TRA) Architecture, Engineering, Planning, Interiors (firm); Thomas, Harlan, Architect (firm); Arthur J. Barkshire (structural engineer); Robert E. Bayley (building contractor); Walter Mark Clist Sr. (building contractor); James Daly (architect); Pat Fry (building contractor); Douglas Hofius (architect); Jon Magnusson (structural engineer); David John Myers (architect); Edgar J. Rounds (building contractor); James Hansen Schack Sr. (architect); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); Irving Harlan Thomas (architect); William D. Ward (structural engineer); Arrigo Mazzucato Young (civil engineer/mechanical engineer)

Dates: constructed 1924

view all images ( of 2 shown)

219 Columbia Street
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98104-1511

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map
The Chamber of Commerce Building #2 was located at 3rd Avenue and Columbia Street. The address is also given as 215 Columbia Street.

Building History

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce operated in this Romanesque Revival office building from 1924 until 1983. A brief historical description of the building produced for the City of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods, described the history of Seattle Chamber of Commerce buildings: "The Seattle Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1882 to promote Seattle’s commercial and economic interests and undertake activities in support local and regional commerce. The organization was originally housed as a tenant in an early mansion that still stood near the site of the new building. By 1924, the organization had outgrown its tenant space in the Central Building and embarked on the construction of a new building that would be the 'embodiment of the Seattle spirit, a highly useful monument to civic progress and a realization of the dreams of the city’s courageous pioneers.' The Chamber organization originally occupied the upper floor levels with offices and exhibit space for the promotion of Northwest products. Public spaces included a spacious dining room that could accommodate over 700 people, several private dining rooms and a large club room/lounge. The Seattle Real Estate Board, the Seattle Chapter of the American Association of Engineers, and the Merchant’s Exchange were also housed within the building. As of January 1, 1925, chamber membership was 3,151 and it was hoped that the new building would arouse more interest in membership and further the goals of the organization." (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods.gov, "Seattle Historical SitesSummary for 215 Columbia ST / Parcel ID 0939000245," accessed 07/23/2019.)

Seattle architect Irving Harlan Thomas (1870-1953) designed the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Building #2 in association with the local architectural firm of Schack, Young and Myers. They collaborated with the Rounds-Clist Company, building contractors, to erect the small-scale office and retail edifice in a rapid time frame, about 3-and-one-half months, between 10/1924 and 02/1925. It cost approximately $275,000 to complete. (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods.gov, "Seattle Historical SitesSummary for 215 Columbia ST / Parcel ID 0939000245," accessed 07/23/2019.)

The architecture firm, TRA Architecture, renovated the building and moved into space here in 1969-1970. The Chamber moved out of the building in 1983 (relocating to the 1 Union Square Office Building), and TRA purchased it. TRA maintained the building as its headquarters until 1997, when the partnership dissolved. Interestingly, TRA also designed 1 Union Square, completed in 1981.

Building Notes

This Romanesque Revival office building was said to be Seattle's first done in cast stone. In 1926, the Seattle Real Estate Board occupied offices in the Chamber of Commerce Building.


The City of Seattle's Historical Site Database noted a mid-1950s alteration to the Chamber of Commerce Building #2: "Storefront portions of the building were modernized c.1955." (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods.gov, "Seattle Historical SitesSummary for 215 Columbia ST / Parcel ID 0939000245," accessed 07/23/2019.)

TRA Architects supervised the restoration of the first floor commercial spaces and the exterior cast stone which had been covered during previous renovations. Associated Sand and Gravel of Everett, WA, was involved in this renovation effort of the exterior cast stone. When it moved into the building, Pacific Northwest Title Company completely remodeled the interior, restoring a few notable architectural details. Additional seismic bracing occurred at this time. Bayley Construction Company participated in the renovation work. The list of subcontractors consisted of: Nuprecon, demolition; SME, electrical; Air Systems, mechanical; and Mehrer, drywall.