Hastings Building to go on the auction block

Posted 3/17/21

The crown jewel of historic downtown Port Townsend will go up for auction at the Jefferson County Courthouse in April.

The Hastings Building, an iconic …

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Hastings Building to go on the auction block

Posted

The crown jewel of historic downtown Port Townsend will go up for auction at the Jefferson County Courthouse in April.

The Hastings Building, an iconic Victorian three-story structure that The Leader called “the most elegant building in the city” when it was under construction in 1889, will be sold to the highest bidder at 11 a.m. Friday, April 2.

The foreclosure sale was ordered by a Jefferson County Superior Court judge last year after the owners of the landmark fell behind in payments on a $3.3 million loan that was made to its owners, Hastings Estate Company and Hastings Master Tenant.

The Hastings Building, located at the corner of Water and Taylor streets, is still owned by the family that built it, the Hastings family.

The present generation of the family have been working for the past 15 years to restore the building and construct a new building next door that would allow the Hastings 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 Hastings 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 declined to comment on the upcoming sale, citing the current lawsuit.

But in court papers, Dudley said a series of negative events brought the project to “a temporary standstill.”

Those setbacks include the Great Recession that ended in 2013, 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.”  

The restoration project is at risk if the adjoining inn can’t be built and the property is sold, Dudley added.

“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 a declaration to stop the sale.

“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.”

Dudley said the family also had a substantial equity in the building that would be lost if it were sold. At the time of Dudley’s declaration last July, the primary debt on the property to Pender West Credit is $3.8 million, but the property had been appraised for an “as is” value of $6.8 million in October 2017.

Saving the Hastings Building would also give an economic boost to Port Townsend, Dudley noted. 

Between 45 to 60 people would be needed for the construction project for up to two years, and after the Hasting Landings Inn is finished, the hotel, restaurant and bar would bring another 15 to 18 jobs. A restaurant would mean another 20 or so jobs, he added.

The project would be a “destination resort,” and the restored building would also be a tourist attraction.

Others involved in the preservation of Jefferson County history have voiced support for saving the Hastings Building and giving Hastings Estate Company more time to secure funding to pay off its lender.

JoAnn Bussa, a trustee for the Jefferson County Historical Society, said in a court filing that she personally was concerned about the fate of the Hastings Building.

It was the only structure in the Downtown Historical district that was designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as “pivotal,” Bussa explained, “which is the most important designation for an historic structure.”

“It is an outstanding example of Victorian architecture and can be considered the ‘crown jewel’ of Port Townsend’s many historic buildings,” she continued.

The total owed on the property is $4.1 million, according to a legal notice published in advance of the April 2 sale.

"If the property is sold at a foreclosure sale, it seems to me quite unlikely that the buyer at the sale is going to be personally or financially motivated to restore the building to the same high standards as the Hastings family," Bussa added.

Comments

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  • !LovelyPTWa#49

    Please, someone, save this beautiful, beautiful building!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    A major project such as the Hastings building hinges on accessibility which is parking availability. Any municipal government understands that. Except one. Port Townsend. What considerations were made for the "79 room boutique hotel that would be built behind the existing building next to Port Townsend Bay"? Surely a project of this scope and PT's well known permitting process had to have included some sort of parking garage.

    Parking enforcement and education ended about 7 years ago. The damaging results range from rude folk taking advantage hogging parking and real estate values being established without parking consideration or lack of it.

    No names were given regarding "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,”

    I believe that other party just purchased a building in the Historic District for 6 million dollars. Again this is a major investment, and no one lays out that kind of money without a firm understanding of parking limitations and realities. It hamstrings or enables development and potential sale of condo's or value of any rented space. Accessibility is key. I believe that person who paid 6 million for a building in the Parking Anarchy impacted Historic District and elsewhere is president of Main Street. They work closely with the City Manager.

    Pay no attention. Port Townsend is GRRRREEEATTTT!!!! Just ask folks like anonymous Sheila.

    We all want the Hastings building to be restored and placed on a firm foundation. Firm foundations include access. Welcome to Port Townsend. A game of monopoly is in progress. There is no Park (ing) Place.

    Some cheer and cheer. Ripple effects of John Mauro City Manager being as unqualified and controlled as he is go on and on. Where is that City Manager review that evaporated? This of course will not be dealt with. Who has the opening bid on the Hastings building? The amount is chump change for many. Foundations kids. Foundations. Or conveniently the lack of them sometimes.

    Still waiting on an answer from City Council and BOCC regarding the conversion in stages over years of what was parking at Water and Adams to a "parklet" with funds approved by the BOCC. The important thing to report for this paper is that Commissioner Heidi broke her leg. Port Townsend. A perfect storm of complicity.

    Voters and Leader readers approve apparently. No Term Limits on City Council, a 20 year council member and 3 time appointed Mayor who owns the local Winderemre office, and 20 year City Manager Timmons now with Mauro seamlessly taking over lead us to here. No problemo? Where is that City Manager Review? Where is official word on the "parklet" at Water and Adams? Where is a real newspaper?

    Thursday, March 18, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    Update- The Leader did publish this week a story regarding the City's child the FWPDA. The same minds at City Hall that created that mess continue to oversee parking madness and anarchy with empty sound bites of "recovery". Keep it up Leader. No sacred cows. No bull.

    Thursday, March 18, 2021 Report this

  • ...

    We have a right to post anonymously. People have very good reasons for remaining anonymous. Especially since you, Harvey, act like a relentless bully. God forbid some of us would have to deal with you personally because of something we said online that you didn't like. We deserve at least that much protection from your vitriol and fury.

    Friday, March 19, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    I do fight for my rights. An anonymous person saying repeated facts I present is "vitriol and fury" without addressing any one fact with a specific response speaks for itself. Please tell me of one person who has had any problem with me in person.

    These days organized trolls can spread falsehoods like Sheila who recently moved a string of comments to the old standard "they want to make the ballfield into a parking lot'. No true never true. Misdirection. Anonymous trolls are good at it as with "Snowball" in the FWPDA story recently. Please specifically tell me what I said that is "vitriol and fury" anonymous.

    An anonymous source says you are paid to do what you just did, and have political motives. Get it?

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    Update in my update regarding FWPDA

    Is it just me or has the FWPDA story and comments been removed from the online Leader? Don't see it anywhere in the News section. Saturday 8 am?

    This link still works Saturday morning. Glad I pasted it to another story.

    https://www.ptleader.com/stories/the-center-of-the-sinkholerecords-detail-internal-turmoil-awol-leadership-as-pda-faced,74264

    Saturday, March 20, 2021 Report this

  • MargeS

    You can still read it in the online Leader if you have a subscription, but you can't comment. I too was disappointed that this very important story was not available for comment. It was a well done article and took a while to digest the whole situation. Perhaps the Leader will rethink their poor choice, or at least explain why they removed it.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    We can

    Fort Worden and what it represents deserves ultimate respect. So I speak up. As with other disrespectful actions by the City of Port Townsend. The FWPDA is the City of PT in another form. Timmons as City Manager failed to correct with Council when audits came back with problems. Now he is steering things. No problemo?

    You can comment I believe following this link

    https://www.ptleader.com/stories/the-center-of-the-sinkholerecords-detail-internal-turmoil-awol-leadership-as-pda-faced,74264

    As with parking coverage when Mauro was being approved as City Manager, is this too hot to handle? Special interests have a lot of power here. The attempt by the Leader is award winning stuff.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Report this