Morck to get a new coat of paint, asks to be on historic register

The Morck Hotel building, that faded yellow and purple downtown eyesore, may soon get a new look in taupe and cream.

Co-owner Chester Trabucco also turned in the Morck’s application for the Aberdeen Historic Register to the city Friday afternoon.

Trabucco originally scheduled the paint job for the last week in July, but deferred to the busy schedule of Scandinavian Painting Specialists in Bothell and postponed the work until sometime mid-month. They are “giving us a very competitive price for the project” so he agreed to wait, he said in an email.

Trabucco added detail about the building at South K and Heron:

“The color will be in the ‘cream to chocolate’ range to meld with the brick color. The windows are in really bad shape and will likely have to be replaced. The purple paint job done on them was seemingly done in a hurry and didn’t offer much weather protection; they are really quite ‘spongy.’ But I did ask the contractor to paint the K Street windows white just to give the passersby an idea of how it will look in the future.

“All of the trim will be painted in a complimentary tone to the body color so a taupe body and a cream trim is what I really have in mind. We are still debating the plywood in the windows; if they are affixed on the outside, we will paint, if on the inside we will leave as is. We will also post an interpretive poster showing renderings of the future build-out and exterior scheme strategically placed on the street level windows.”

The Morck is one of the buildings eligible for inclusion in a possible historic district downtown. Trabucco has not applied for Aberdeen’s historic registry before now because he and the owners may aim for LEED green certification. On Thursday, architect and co-owner Mike Miller urged him to go ahead with the application.

“… We will be seeking a LEED Gold certification for the Morck. Personally, I believe the best compromise is new, high-efficiency wood windows that retain the original look but allow for greater comfort and noise abatement,” he wrote.

“I will be working with (Miller) and Aaron Nickell locally on negotiating the proper path,” he noted.

Nickell consulted for the Morck LLC in the past on a national register application, and currently chairs the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

“Going forward, we’ll work as a commission to make sure Chester (and his company) can easily attain whatever historic status he chooses to pursue for the Morck,” Nickell wrote. The formal city application was sent to Community Development Director Lisa Scott on Friday.

If approved as expected, the Morck will join several other downtown buildings on the local list: the Masonic Temple (Grand Heron), D & R Theatre, Electric Building and Clevengers. There is also a movement to create a national historic districts downtown and several in eligible residential neighborhoods.

Plans for the landmark Morck have been consistently delayed, in part due to the financial crisis. In the spring, Mayor Bill Simpson called out Trabucco and other downtown owners, asking them to help improve the look of downtown. Since then, several owners have repainted and spruced up their buildings.

Trabucco put plywood in the broken windows as part of a renewed effort to improve. After a brief red tagging over the lack of a permit for a partial roof repair, Trabucco promised to continue renovation efforts as funding is available. A permit is not needed to repaint. Permits will likely be needed to fully replace windows, but not to put up plywood, Scott said.

A package “to secure the New Markets Tax Credit,” a federal program for development in distressed economic areas, is almost ready to send, as well, Trabucco said.