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The former INS building, now in artist studios, is listed for sale

Seattle’s rare, historic art space will soon go up for sale in Seattle’s Chinatown International, prompting some tenants to consider whether the new owner will retain what has become one of the city’s largest art studios.

Immigrants who bought the former Immigration Facility building, now known as Inscape Arts, plan to put it up for sale this year, said Brian Meyer, vice president of investment at Marcus & Millichap.

Painter Fred Lisaius, who has leased space in the building for more than 10 years, says it has become “perhaps the most important building in the city for an art studio”.

“The unknown is kind of scary,” he said.

Mayer, whose company will list the property, said. “There is no plan or intention to try to release those tenants or harm the community in any way” while the building is being sold.

The INS building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was a detention center for immigrants in the early 1900s, including Chinese immigrants during the China Exclusion Act and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The permanent installation of the Wing Luke Museum’s Asia-Pacific American experience includes billboards throughout the building indicating storage cells and oath rooms.

The building was vacated in 2004, bought by a group of investors at an auction in 2008, and in 2010 was converted into a rented art space. Calling itself Seattle’s largest art and culture enclave, Inscape’s online catalog lists more than 100 tenants, including artists, writers, architects and other artists.

Artist Tara Tamaribuchi said she and several other tenants are now looking for potential ways to maintain the area in the long run, such as public or private funding, but it is too early to discuss.

“I’m an Asian-American artist. My mother grew up in Chinatown, San Francisco. It was a really great gift for me to work in a building next to my cultural community, ”said Tamaribucci. “The story that is here in the building seems fascinating to me. “My family immigrated a few generations ago, I think about them և our common community.”

The five-story building, including the basement, is about 76,600 square feet and covers an area of ​​approximately one hectare.

“Early last year, a group of homeowners planned to list the location of the sale, but then the epidemic hit, ‘it was not the right time,'” Meyer said.

Now he said that “there is a plan to sell the property. “Ing time is still being worked out.”

Marketing materials on the Marcus & Millichap website describe “rare value-added recycling opportunities” and say that current leases can “provide cash flow to the investor during the relocation-reconstruction of the property.”

Mayer noted that these materials were created before the epidemic, and the company is not yet actively selling the property this year. Owners expect to list the property more broadly by the middle of the year. The company does not plan to list prices, but is looking for offers, Mayer said.

The location may in part attract the potential buyer as it qualifies as an Opportunity Zone. The controversial federal program for low-income district projects offers breaks in capital gains taxes.

Although the building’s location in the National Register of Historic Places will be limited to significant changes to its appearance, the car park could be remodeled, Mayer said.

According to the current zoning, according to Marcus & Millichap, the vacant part of the site could see buildings up to 170 feet high; the property “could be relocated to a wide range of commercial, residential, office, apartment, retail, etc.” hospitality. “

Information from the Breaking National Archives was included in this report.


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