By Marie Wong
Northwest Asian Weekly
In late June 2015, King County 4Culture awarded a special project grant to the Kong Yick Investment Company. The funding will produce a planning and restoration study for the West Kong Yick landmark building. It is a first and critical step for rehabilitation.
The 4Culture grant is supported by a King County Lodging Tax fund and has helped the Kong Yick board of directors bring together a team of historic renovation consultants to develop a proposal on the best future uses of the building along with cost and financing projections for the building’s restoration.
Wilton Chinn, president of the Kong Yick board, and Marie Wong, one of the directors, are working with Bob Hale of Rolluda Architects, local real estate developer Maria Barrientos of Barrientos LLC, and Don Mar of Marpac Construction Co. on the redevelopment plans.
The consultants each have a long history of working with owners and historic buildings in the neighborhood that include the current restoration of the Louisa Hotel, directly across the street from the West Kong Yick.
Chinn said: “It is our hope that this plan will continue the legacy of the Chinese settlers and restore the building to full use for another 100 years.”
The West Kong Yick building is one of the core buildings in what has been identified as the heart of Seattle’s historic Chinatown and has been in continuous use since its doors opened in 1910.
Constructed as a workingmen’s residential hotel with 158 rooms, 12 at-grade commercial storefronts, and many community-based uses over the years, the building has held a significant role in the growth and development of the Chinatown-International District. In 1986, it was designated as one of the contributing buildings in the Seattle Chinatown National Register Historic District.
While the neighborhood is unique and rich with such buildings, the West Kong Yick is distinguished as being one of the oldest and still operating registered corporations in the Washington and with more than 175 individual shareholders as descendents of the original fifty investors.
The planning and development study will be completed by March 2016. (end)
Marie Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.