City Of Everett And Landlord Battle Over Repairs To Downtown Building

November 2, 2017

Everett, Everett Government

2701 Wetmore

There is a mix of business and residential use at 2701 Wetmore.

2701 Wetmore

A list of current business occupants

2701 Wetmore

A condemned notice is posted on a back window.

It’s a building with a colorful history of tenants including a hookah lounge, all ages dance club, multiple churches, a massage parlor and a self storage business just to name a few.

Over the last several months the owner of the Riegel Plaza building at 2701 Wetmore and the City of Everett have been going back and forth over a remodeling project in the building that currently houses Stax Hot Dogs and Ice Cream and about a half-dozen other businesses. There are also multiple dwelling units inside.

In September a condemnation notice was put on the building and people were told they were going to have to vacate. Between that time and late October the City and building owner went back and forth over permits and work.

A few weeks ago building owner Laura Hunter appeared before the Everett City Council to plead her case for keeping open the building as remodeling was underway. Meanwhile Everett building officials and code enforcement found multiple violations of the building codes and construction work being done without permits.

On October 26th a hearing was held and on Monday the Hearing Examiner issued an order that the building be vacated until all of the proper construction permits and certificates of occupancy for the various spaces in the building were obtained. Here is that decision.

2701 Wetmore Hearing Examiner Decision

Today the City of Everett and Laura Hunter again went back and forth regarding the occupancy. At 12:30 PM Laura Hunter wrote several media outlets saying the City was making everyone leave at 5 PM today. checked with the city who provided the above Hearing Examiner Decision as well as the following via email:

On Oct. 30, 2017, the City’s Hearing Examiner issued a decision and order finding that the building at 2701 Wetmore Avenue was in violation of several building codes. Among other violations, the hearing examiner found that the structure was “unlawful” and “dangerous.” The order requires the building to be unoccupied until spaces in the building receive temporary approval for occupancy from the building division.

During the hearing the City recommended against allowing occupancy while improvements are being made because of the level of life-safety issues in the building. The order would allow for tenant spaces within the building to be approved for temporary occupancy once life-safety issues are addressed in each individual space; the Hearing Examiner is not requiring that the entire structure be code compliant before any occupancy occurs.

Fire watches are intended for very short-term emergency situations and are not appropriate in this instance.

At 4:00 PM stopped into the building and spoke with Laura Hunter who said they were working on a new plan for a special fire watch to keep the businesses open. We circled back with the City for an update as of 4:30 PM…

The Fire Marshal met with Ms. Hunter and her general contractor this afternoon to review their progress on the required improvements. He has agreed to consider granting a temporary fire watch, limited to five days, under the following conditions:
· Residential tenants are moved out of the building
· Ms. Hunter provides proof of a contract with an independent security company to provide the fire watch

The fire watch has not been approved at this time.

We”ll provide an update as information becomes available.


About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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