An old school building in Belltown is starting to feel young again thanks to a recent face lift. The 1942-constructed Labor Temple — once owned + operated by the city’s labor unions — has been restored as a co-working hub. It will receive the 2023 Best Preservation Project Award from Historic Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 28.
How did such a project develop?
Back in 1905, the original Labor Temple began as a gathering space downtown at Sixth Avenue and University Street. Decades later, the Temple moved to Belltown, eventually adding an auditorium and extra floor.
In 2008, the building’s exterior — known for its art deco style and solid brick — gained landmark status, but the temple’s utility for organized labor wasn’t as vital. The unions sold it in 2020 with the intention of finding a new temple elsewhere.
Working it out
Local real estate firm FAUL stepped in to modernize the building for co-working. It kept much of the temple’s original character, restoring the mahogany doors and freshening up the famed neon sign (also adding in a “u” as a nod to the building’s u-shaped layout).
There’s a spiffy interior courtyard, a reading room that can hold 150 people, and a rooftop terrace. Mid-century modern furniture is sprinkled throughout the premises, almost like you’re walking into an episode of “Mad Men.”
About 50% of the office space is occupied by business tenants, but anyone can rent out the remaining rooms for meetings + events. In a separate project, the Downtown Cornerstone Church is working on constructing a 700-seat sanctuary in the building’s auditorium.
Plans also call for an all-day cafe and market to open to the public in 2024. Our suggestion for a name: Labour Day Cafe (you’re welcome, FAUL).