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As guard moves out, Everett Armory future uncertain

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  • The Everett Armory on Oakes Avenue.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    The Everett Armory on Oakes Avenue.

EVERETT -- For more than 90 years, citizen-soldiers have shown up for work at the Everett Armory in what's now downtown's historic district.
That's about to end.
The two Washington National Guard units stationed at the Everett Armory are packing up and moving into the new Armed Forces Reserve Center at Smokey Point.
The old armory costs too much to maintain and no longer meets the need of the 20 full-time employees and 300 soldiers who train there on weekends, said Capt. Keith Kosik, a public affairs officer with the guard.
The National Guard expects to be out of the building by the end of the month.
Then the armory and the property it sits on, at 2730 Oakes Ave., will likely be sold, he said.
It's not clear what will happen to the building after that.
The building -- which has an 11,000-square-foot drill floor, kitchen and classrooms -- is already being advertised online for rental or lease.
The 1921 building was designed by Seattle architect Lewis Svartz, said Everett historian David Dilgard.
The original armory had what Dilgard described as a "slightly marshal character" that resembled a castle.
A massive renovation in 1963 robbed the building of many of its original architectural features. The outside of the building was covered with stucco, for instance.
Still, the building, with established beech trees, adds something to downtown, Dilgard said.
"You've got to admit it's adapted itself pretty nicely to the community," he said.
The armory is located within the downtown historic district but is considered a "non-contributing" building because of the extensive renovation.
The state's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation reviewed the military's plans and found that although much of the armory's original character is gone, the building "also contributes to the streetscape and urban character of downtown Everett."
The state recommended that as the military gets rid of the building, it consider taking steps that would retain what character is left or even add to it. Those steps include attaching a covenant to the title protecting historic design features and providing prospective buyers with information about tax incentives and other tools for historic rehabilitation of the building.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » EverettU.S. MilitaryHistory

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