In 1913 Tait moved into his big new building at 1025 SE Pine, a half-block, two-story colonial revival building designed by Ellis F. Lawrence. Lawrence played an important role in Oregon architecture for decades, serving as dean of the University of Oregon's architecture school in addition to running a busy practice. It is said that Troy Laundry served as many 10,000 customers on a regular basis. In the following decade, Tait also built a major laundry building in Seattle.
Laundry operations ceased in the building roughly 40 years ago, and the sophisticated industrial building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989. The best hope for many old buildings that have out-lived their original uses is to find successful new ones. This building is now likely headed for a use as a private athletic club, where, one might say, the affluent will go up on the roof to get soaked. (Details below.)
A Chicago-based developer has bought the laundry as well as the other half of the block, where a six-story, 132-unit residential building with ground-floor retail and two floors of undergound parking has been approved. Facades of the building will be detailed with brick and ground floor space will be intended for retail use.
The trickiest part of the proposed remodel is the addition of a penthouse on the roof with a swimming pool and rooftop terrace. The penthouse would back up against the proposed new building on the north, and would be set back from the eastern and western parapets, making it largely invisible to pedestrians across the streets.
"The views from up there will be spectacular," said Andrew Becker, a Chicago architect.
Landmarks commissioners had no major objections to adding a penthouse on the laundry building, but one commissioner opposed it in a 4 to 1 vote, saying he thought it was too bulky. In general, the commissioners spoke approvingly of detailed steps for restoring the brick facades, windows and doors of the historic building. "This renovation is restoring the building for another 100 years," Becker said.