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historic preservation

Union Depot - Warehouse Historic District

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About the District


The Union Depot-Warehouse Historic District (National Register of Historic Places, 1980, and Tacoma Register, 1983) flanks Pacific Avenue from South 17th Street to South 23rd Street and extends up the hill to Jefferson Avenue. The Union Depot-Warehouse District is surrounded by the Union Station Conservation District.

The architecture in the district is characterized by rugged brick warehouses and factories, examples of commercial high style and industrial vernacular architecture developed in America in the early 1900s. The district was a major distribution point for goods that arrived by railway during the 1890s through the 1920s.

Union Station (1911) itself is a stunning landmark, with its massive arches and a copperclad dome. The adaptive reuse of Union Station as a Federal Courthouse earned the City of Tacoma a National Preservation Honor Award in 1994.

In 1999, the National Preservation Honor Award again came to Tacoma with the University of Washington, Tacoma’s adaptive reuse of the warehouse buildings along Pacific as its new urban campus. Other buildings in the district are being rehabilitated for use as apartments, businesses, restaurants and shops. Many of the projects in the Union Depot/Warehouse District are outstanding examples of historically sensitive adaptive reuse.

District Review Requirements

What Gets Reviewed?

Exterior changes to contributing buildings within the historic district must be reviewed for historical appropriateness before the work is commenced or permitted by the City.

In addition, properties within the surrounding Union Station Conservation District must obtain approval for new construction, demolition, or for installation or modification of signs.

What is the Process?

The Landmarks Preservation Commission reviews applications for changes during their regular meetings.

Applications are available on this site in the Design Review section, or by clicking the Quick Links menu on the top right of this page.

Design Guidelines

The Landmarks Preservation Commission uses the Union Station Design Guidelines to evaluate the appropriateness of proposed alterations.

Financial Incentives

Buildings undergoing substantial rehabilitation may qualify for financial incentives, including the Special Tax Valuation Program and the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.

Please visit our financial incentives page for more information.