Midway along the Interbay Corridor, just before the Magnolia Bridge, the old Western Pacific Chemical Company building sits to the right. It’s a welcome Art Deco element in a long strip of mostly nondescript low rise commercial and light industrial buildings that stretches from Downtown to Ballard. And it’s not just Art Deco, it’s streamline moderne, complete with curving forms, long horizontal lines, and nautical hints.
The City of Seattle reviewed the building in the 1990s and determined that it’s eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places, as an example of Art Moderne style. Built in 1940 for the Western Pacific Chemical Company, it later housed a succession of other chemical companies. In the 1970s, Modern Products, a silk screening company, occupied the building. These days it’s home to a number of seemingly unrelated businesses.
My favorite of the current tenants, at least in name, is Gravity Payments. Their name’s appears on the building in several locations and usually makes me think about R.E.M and feeling gravity’s pull. Gravity Payments: it hints at so much, but in the end it’s just a credit card processing company, with a great name. Or maybe that’s just a cover.