Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider whether to accept the nomination of the Williams & Company Potato Chip Factory in Interbay in November. The building owner hopes to redevelop the structure in the future.

The building at 1405 Elliott Ave. W. was previously home to the Downtown Dog Lounge and Urban Vet clinic, but is now vacant. The property is owned by Elliott Way Partners, LLC, whose governor is Mark Robison of Highmark Investments.

The landmarks board will take up the nomination during its meeting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Boards & Commissions Room L2-80 of Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave.

Williams & Company, which was based in Portland, Oregon, constructed the two-story Interbay potato chip and horseradish processing factory in 1931-32, replacing its factory on Bell Street, between First and Western avenues, that had operated there for 13 years.

The concrete-framed industrial building cost $25,000 to construct, and was designed by Seattle architect George Wellington Stoddard in the art deco style, according to the nomination report compiled by consultant David Peterson.

“Stoddard specified decorative lines or patterns to be cast into in the wet concrete, although some were not followed exactly as indicated in the architectural drawings, likely indicating changes made on site during the construction process,” the report states.

Potato (Saratoga) chips were produced on the main floor, while horseradish was processed in a separate area due to the strong smell.

A two-story addition was constructed in 1940, which nearly doubled the floor area. Stoddard also designed that northwest portion of the structure, which was built by Bailey Construction Company.

Stoddard is described as a “prolific Seattle architect” in the report, who was active from 1920 to 1960, first at Stoddard & Son, with his father Lewis. Projects the Stoddard & Son firm designed include the Mama’s Mexican Restaurant building, the landmark Metropolitan Printing Press building, the Fox Garage and the Park Court Apartments. He also designed the Winthrop Hotel in Tacoma.

“In 1960, Williams & Company was bought out by the Frito Company—later known as the Frito-Lay Company—but with no change in use to the building,” the report states. “Frito-Lay appears to have continued to use the subject building as a potato chip production facility until about 1972.”

The facility was then purchased by Alfred S. and Gertrude Lapidus of the Los Angeles-based Al Lapidus Popcorn Company, at which point it began supplying pre-popped popcorn and kernels to movie theaters, according to the report. Another popcorn producer, Harlan Fairbanks Company, took over the property in 1975.

“In 1976, the machinery in the subject building popped 3,000 pounds of popcorn a day, in a large air-heated popper with a rotating drum, with separate equipment for bagging,” the report states. “Harlan Fairbanks Company occupied the building until about 1990.”

Harlan Fairbanks now operates out of Kent.

“Between 1990 and 1992, building permits were issued for the renovation of the interior of the subject building, to accommodate multiple tenants on both the upper and lower floors,” the report states. “Drawings on file indicate that replaced windows throughout the building date to these 1992 renovations.

“In 1996, tenants listed in the Polk’s city directory include a lithographer, a billing service, professional and service offices, a paper company, and ornamental woodworks company.”

The property has been owned by various LLCs since 2000, including Elliott Way Partners LLC, which acquired the property for $2.25 million in 2006.

Permits were issued in 2004 to renovate the upper floor for Downtown Dog Lounge, which is now located at 942 Elliott Ave. W.

While seismic and other upgrades were planned for the building by Elliott Way Partners LLC, a withdrawal request was made in March. Applicant Jon O’Hare with Permit Consultants NW cited new development would not be moving forward at that time. Queen Anne News has yet to receive comment from Highmark Investments regarding future plans for the property.

It will be up to the landmarks board whether the nomination is accepted on Nov. 5, at which point another presentation will occur before the board decides whether to approve designating all or a portion of the structure as a Seattle landmark.

Public comment can be made at the meeting or in writing to: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA, 98124-4649.

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