Have You Heard That a Casino Is Taking Over the Landmark? Wrong! (UPDATED)

Sources tell the Waterland Blog that Landmark on the Sound has indeed been purchased, conditional on a City Council-authorized rezoning of the property for commercial uses.

Contrary to rumors circulating, however, the commercial uses in question do not relate to gambling activities. A proposed resort hotel is the focus of the rezoning on the table, with timeshare condos being built on the east side of the property, an area for events on the west edge of the property, a spa, and a small card room.

The Blog has been assured that the Council is not inclined to grant rezoning for a casino as that would be totally incompatible with the neighborhood.

What’s unclear is the fate of the existing building–or the potential impact of the property being listed on the National Register of Historic Places or as a National Historic Landmark.

We’ll post updates to this story as they come in.

UPDATE, 11/6/14 5:00 PM — The City has confirmed that the basic facts as we have them are correct. Additionally, the proposed architectural plans call for retaining the existing historical buildings on the grounds and refurbishing them. We’ll attempt to get more details from the architect tomorrow.


7 Responses to “Have You Heard That a Casino Is Taking Over the Landmark? Wrong! (UPDATED)”
  1. Michael says:

    Having worked at Landmark for many years, I can say that the Masons were leery of having any encumbrances on what might be done with the building, so it has never received any sort of historical landmark designation.

    The first step to any nomination for historical landmark designation would be to have the building nominated as a “historical resource” by a majority vote of the Des Moines City Council. That is a prerequisite before it were to go through a King County Landmark Designation Process. Having the building declared a King County Landmark (or another local jurisdiction) is a requirement for an application to be made as a National Historical Landmark.

    From my understanding, Landmark status would be a shoe-in, as several other notable buildings by the same architect, George Gove, have received National Landmark status, including Paradise Lodge at Mt. Rainier, and Stadium High School in Tacoma. In fact, the Sitka Pioneers Home, which was also designed by Gove and is a smaller scale replica of Landmark on the Sound, has received National Landmark status.

  2. Jack Mayne says:

    As the writer of several stories about the Landmark earlier in the year, it is entirely up to the owner of the property as to whether the building is declared a landmark.
    Anyone in Des Moines can recommend a building receive an historical designation, but the city code says the property owner can stop the process.
    Des Moines Municipal Code, Sec. 18.215.070, subparagraph 4 it says:
    “Property owners who wish to remove their property from the historic properties survey, or from consideration for designation, may do so by submitting a written request to the Planning, Building and Public Works Director who shall remove the property from consideration, or the survey.”
    City manager Tony Piasecki told this writer today (Nov. 10) that the city would then immediately take the property off the historical site list.
    My story on the Waterland Blog on March 11, 2014 also noted:
    “The Freemasons of Washington State built Landmark in 1926 as a retirement community and have maintained ownership for the last 88 years. The Event Center was developed temporarily five years ago until a decision for the future of the building was made. Landmark has been empty for 10 years, is un-occupiable and is in need of renovation …
    “Its sale was decided upon because the lodge simple could not afford to keep it nor the cost of rehabilitating it as a residential facility or for possible other uses.”
    If it were an historical site, Masons would have to spend money to repair and rehabilitate the structure.
    A potential owner, a Chinese company with offices in Portland, Ore., a bidder on the property but no actual sale has taken place. A source earlier this year said the bidder was interested in some zoning changes but so far has not made an application for changes.

  3. Jayme says:

    Was wondering if there is any updated news on the future of the Landmark at this time?

    • Greg Wright says:

      The latest is that a sale is pending but has not yet closed.

      • Dave Kaplan says:

        The latest is that any previously pending offers (since this blogpost was posted in Nov. 2014) expired in January 2015. The Mason’s agreement with their real estate broker expired at the end of February 2015.

        They have since received a few offers, and are considering them.

  4. Allaiyah Weyn says:

    It would make an awesome historic hotel. Hell, I live a few minutes away but would still pay to spend a night there. Would be nice to have a horror movie filmed there too.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!