Hastings Building pulled off auction block

Judge gives owners seven-week reprieve

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The owners of Port Townsend’s iconic Hastings Building have been given an additional seven weeks to line up financing that would prevent a foreclosure sale of the Port Townsend landmark.

Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper approved an order that postponed the trustee’s sale of the Hastings Building until May 21.

The Hastings Building — a Victorian three-story structure in Port Townsend’s historic downtown that The Leader called “the most elegant building in the city” when it was under construction in 1889 — had been scheduled to be auctioned off on the courthouse steps on April 2.

In a hearing the day before, Harper agreed to push back the sale for seven weeks.

During an earlier hearing, attorney Malcom Harris said the owners of the building were expecting to get a loan commitment from a new lender.

The foreclosure auction was ordered by Harper in 2020 after the owners of the building fell behind in payments on a $3.3 million loan  from Pender West Credit that was made to its owners, Hastings Estate Company and Hastings Master Tenant.

Last July, the primary debt on the property to Pender West Credit was estimated at $3.8 million. According to a legal notice published in advance of the foreclosure sale in March, the total owed on the property stood at
$4.1 million.

The Hastings Building, previously described as the “crown jewel” of historic downtown Port Townsend, is still owned by the family that built it and for which the landmark is named.

For the past 15 years, the present generation of the family have been working to restore the building at the corner of Water and Taylor streets, and construct a new building next door that would allow the historic building to be restored.

Harry Dudley, the president of Hastings Estate Company, is the great-great-grandson of Lucinda Hastings, the widow of Loren B. Hastings (one of Port Townsend’s four original pioneers in the 1850s).

Dudley, along with Lucinda Eubank, a great-great-granddaughter of L.B. and Lucinda Hastings, are the sole owners of Hastings Estate Company, which was formed in 1890 by Lucinda Hastings. They began working to save the historic building in 2006 after a storm damaged the pilings supporting the adjacent Surf Restaurant & Bar in 2005.

The family has invested more than $1.1 million of their personal funds toward the project and permits for Hasting Landing Inn, a 79-room boutique hotel that would be built behind the existing building next to Port Townsend Bay.

Members of the Hastings family have declined to comment on the foreclosure sale, citing the current lawsuit.

The project would be a “destination resort,” and the restored building would also be a tourist attraction, the family said in court documents filed for the foreclosure case.

Despite the family’s efforts, Dudley said a series of negative events brought the project to “a temporary standstill.”

Those setbacks included the Great Recession, as well as a property-line lawsuit from a neighboring business owner and challenges over claims of environmental impacts from the project — “even though [the Department of Ecology] and other local, state and federal agencies had fully vetted the project,” Dudley noted in court documents.

Dudley said the COVID-19 pandemic has also “caused lenders to be very circumspect about real estate development loans.”  

According to the family, the restoration project is at risk if the adjoining inn can’t be built and the property is sold.

“Without the additional new structure providing both economic and structural support, the iconic interior of the Hastings Building would need to be modernized to gain back areas that are presently unusable due to the design. That modernization would destroy its historic significance,” Dudley said in court papers.

“Gutting the interior to make it economically efficient would be the only economically viable alternative for the property if the adjacent modern building cannot be built,” he added. “A ‘teardown’ is probably the most likely result if a Trustee’s Sale results in a change of ownership from the Hastings family members (who view the property as a significant part of their heritage) to some business entity looking only to make a profit.”

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HarveyW

Good news to see the possible continuation of a family's legacy. Hope it works. I would be interested to know what the layout of the new building that would anchor the historic building is. With the addition of 79 rooms in the already parking challenged Historic District, is there a parking garage built into the plan? Shuttles? Is the original plan based on today realities?

Due to the City of Port Townsend being in denial of any parking reality at all, the addition of 79 more needed parking spots along with staff to run the new building and existing one must be accounted for.

Sharing this information should gain support for the important project. The "soul" of Port Townsend would be bolstered by the continuity of the continuation of a family legacy. Best of luck working with "the City". And the less palatable issue of fair access for all. Today, right now as things are, fairness and reality is not in the City's planning.

Tuesday, April 20