AKA: Unico Properties, LLC, White-Henry-Stuart Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Howells and Albertson, Architects (firm); Howells and Stokes, Architects (firm); Metropolitan Building Company, Developers (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Stone and Webster, Incorporated (firm); Unico Properties, Incorporated (firm); Abraham Horace Albertson (architect); William James Bain Sr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); John Francis Douglas Sr. (developer); John Mead Howells (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (architect)

Dates: constructed 1908-1915, demolished 1974

11 stories

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4th Avenue and Union Street
Seattle, WA

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Located on the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street.

Building History

This office building and its conjoined neighbors, the Henry and Stuart Buildings, were built for the Metropolitan Building Company, a major developer of downtown Seattle, WA, in the 1910s. Metropolitan created an ambitious Beaux-Arts master plan for a tract vacated by the University of Washington, which moved to its lakeside, Montlake location in 1895. As devised by the New York architecture firm, Howells and Stokes, the Metropolitan Tract Master Plan consisted of a theatre, auditorium, stores and several office buildings set in a symmetrical plan, with a park, University Plaza, gracing its center. The Metropolitan Building Company, a concern funded by Chester F. White and envisioned by John Douglas, Sr. (b. 1874), developed portions of the Metropolitan Tract, between 1908-mid-1920s. The tract was bounded by Union Street on the north, 6th Avenue on the east, 3rd Avenue on the west and Seneca Street on the south. The White Building was the first office block erected on the 10-acre site during 1908-1909. Next, the Henry Building was put up in 1910, while the Stuart Building, the third of the triumvirate, was erected in 1914-1915. Although they were built at different periods and cost varying amounts, the exterior compositions of the three were conceived as a unified ensemble. All shared steel and reinforced concrete skeletons for seismic resistance, as well.

Building Notes

In 1960, the Crown Zellerbach Corporation, a large, San Francisco-based paper distribution company, had its Seattle offices in Room #719 of the White-Henry-Stuart Building. At the time, W.R. Richardson was the company’s Resident Manager. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1960, p. 357.)

The important local manufacturers' group, the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, occupied Office #4403 in the White-Henry-Stuart Building in 1963.

In 1966, the Seattle City Directory listed the White Henry Stuart Building's address at 1318 4th Avenue. The stylistically-related Cobb Building (1909-1910) was located across the street at 1301 4th Avenue. In 1950, the combined White-Henry-Stuart Building with its Annex stretched 340 feet on both 4th and 5th Avenues and 250 feet on Union and University Streets. The skyscraper plus its four-story annex contained 394,408 net square feet; of this 59,635 was set aside for retail, 276,434 for offices and 58,339 for the basement and garage. The parking garage below the White-Henry-Stuart Building could accommodate 125 automobiles in 1950.

The Seattle 1st National Bank maintained its "Metropolitan Branch" in the White-Henry-Stuart Building c. 1935 to serve customers in the Metropolitan Tract area.


Annexes for this building were completed for the White and Stuart portions in 1922-23. Howells and Albertson, Architects, supervised this work.

Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson (NBBJ) did work on the White-Henry-Stuart Buildingin 1954.


Unico Properties had the White-Henry-Stuart Building torn down in 1974 to make way for the Rainier Plaza shopping area and the Rainier Bank Tower designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson, Architects.

PCAD id: 6081