Woos: The Louisa will be back

By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly


Plans are underway to save Chinatown’s Hudson/Louisa Building. Here, in a photo taken in January, owners Tanya and Teri Woo walked the perimeter of their building while showing it to an architect. (Photo by Sue Misao/NWAW)

If everything goes according to plan, the burned Hudson Building in the International District will not only be saved, but also reconstructed to retain its historic façade, according to the Woos, the owners of the building.

The Woos have finalized plans to stabilize the building and begin the demolition that will remove the damaged western portion that faces the alley. They are in the process of preparing plans for the Building Department for permits. Work is expected to begin toward the middle or end of March, they said “We won’t be able to save any of the murals, as they were all in the damaged portion of the building,” said Tanya Woo. “Several pieces of artifacts will be lost, too. Because we are in the historic landmark district, we plan to reconstruct the building to look as it did before the fire.”

Also known as “The Louisa,” the building caught fire on Christmas Eve 2013. The western half of the building was burned, compromising its structure and leaving the roof and floor caved in at some places. The street-level businesses are all closed and empty. No one can enter the building before stabilization.

Firefighters were never able to investigate the cause of the fire due to the possibility of collapse of the western wall.

According to the project manager Maria Barrientos, the stabilization will take about eight weeks. Fences will remain on 7th Avenue and King Street. While the building is unstable, Maynard Alley will be blocked during the day, with emergency exits available, and opened in the evenings.

The renovations are expected to take 10 to 12 months, said Barrientos. Pedestrian traffic and parking will be impacted.

During the reconstruction, upgrades will be made so that the building will meet all seismic and building codes. The Woos plan to add residential units on the top floors and retail spaces on the lower level.

“Once the building is complete, we hope all the retail tenants will return,” said Tanya Woo. (end)

Sue Misao can be reached at editor@nwasianweekly.com.

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