West Coast Grocery (WCG)

West Coast Grocery building

Physical address

1732-38 Pacific Avenue [map]

Do not send mail to this address. The mailing address for all UW Tacoma offices is 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402-3100.

Offices and services
Office Room
Campus Fitness Center WCG 012
Diversity Resource Center WCG 104
Education Program WCG 324
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences WCG 424
Social Work Program WCG 203
Undergraduate Education, Office of WCG 424
West Coast Grocery Convenience Store WCG 105
Classrooms and academic space
Space Room
Classroom WCG 103
Classroom WCG 106
Classroom WCG 110
Classroom WCG 116
Classroom WCG 118
Classroom WCG 209
Meeting and event space
Space Room
Conference room WCG 322
Conference room WCG 405

History

Built 1890 / Renovated 1995

When the Northern Pacific Railroad chose Tacoma as the western terminus of its transcontinental line, it acquired the land along both sides of the railroad bed. To protect its investment and prevent land speculation, parcels were sold to commercial enterprises with certain strings attached. The buyers had to specify what the land would be used for and had to meet high standards of construction and maintenance. Wholesale businesses, or “jobbers,” were located here to make the most efficient use of the railroad spur. 

When the Tacoma Grocery Company bought this lot in 1889, the contract specified that it must put up a brick building within one year, a typical requirement of the land company. Brick was specified because of the many devastating fires that had occurred that year, including the fire that burned Seattle to the ground.

The land company also insisted on high aesthetic standards for the public side of the building facing Pacific Avenue. Local architects Proctor and Dennis gave this building an Italian Renaissance style. 

Tacoma Grocery’s founders intended to establish the largest wholesale grocery in the Pacific Northwest and put up this building to house its expanding business. Within five years the company supplied groceries from Montana to Alaska. But the economic Panic of 1893, followed by a severe nationwide depression, caused the company’s failure. 

West Coast Grocery, took over the building in 1896, with more lasting success. West Coast Grocery was the corporate successor to Thompson, Pratt & Company, which had been the pioneer jobber business in the city. Selling products under the brand name “Amocat” (Tacoma spelled backwards), West Coast Grocery thrived, expanding into the Birmingham Hay & Seed Building on its south side in 1917. The building served as a warehouse for West Coast Grocery until 1970.  

Architects Moore Ruble Yudell of Santa Monica, California, with LMN Architects of Seattle as the associated architectural firm, designed the renovation of these four connected buildings for the university.

 
 

Building maps

First floor
WCG Level 1 map

Second floor
WCG Level 2 map

Third floor
WCG Level 3 map

Fourth floor
WCG 4th floor map