4200 University Way NE


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Site ID: 4200 
Classification: Contributing Historic 
Address: 4200 University Way NE 
Parcel No: 1142001210 
Built: 1913 
Source: King County Assessor 
Remodeled: 1916, 1982 
Style: Early 20th Century American Movements (1900-1940) 
Stories: 3 
Builder(s): Unknown 
Architect(s): Victor W. Voorhees (1916) 
Historic Name(s): Homer Apartments 
Common Name(s): La Paz Building, Varsity Inn, Professional Copy & Print, Bulldog News (1983), Magus Books (1978)
Owner(s): Orlosky Frank & Valerie


The La Paz Building is a three-story commercial block, located on the corner of University Way NE and NE 42nd St. The building has its original distinctive patterned brickwork, the original cornices lining the roof now have protective metal flashing covering them. Paired and single double-hung windows with the original sashes intact characterize the upper floor shared hallways. The apartment windows were replaced in the late 1980s. 

Only the storefronts on University Way NE have been altered, with doors, windows and some cladding replaced. There were once multiple small businesses, but there are only two now, and the facade was modified to reflect this.

The retail transoms are original except on the corner shop where extensive repair was necessary after a car drove into the building in the early 2000s. 

The storefront on the south, NE 42nd St, is in the original pattern and remains intact, with original doors and windows. In the alley, the east side has the original windows with bars from when the current bookstore was the original neighborhood Post Office.
The building is comprised of two separately constructed but contiguously stylistic structures built within several years of each other. The old building was completed in 1913 and the new one in 1916. The two connected buildings form an interior U-shaped courtyard, where the old vs new is evident between the style of the different walls. There are also sliding metal doors in the hallways on the second and third floors, that once saved construction workers from falling to the outside ground, while the second building was being constructed and the hallways were being connected.

- Tobin, Caroline & Sodt, Sarah (October 2002), Edited: Preston, Leah (March 2024)


The site of the La Paz Building was the original location of the University Station and post office. The Varsity Café (Mann’s Varsity Café), thought to have opened in 1900, occupied the corner storefront of this building. In 1910 E. Uetwiller purchased the Varsity Café. The University Station was moved across the street to make way for buildings related to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. 

The current building was constructed in 1913 with a major addition/remodel designed by V.W. Voorhees in 1916 (according to the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation). 

V. W. Voorhees was born in Wisconsin in 1876 and moved to Seattle sometime before 1904. The firm Fischer and Voorhees was established in Ballard in 1904 where they designed many commercial and apartment buildings. Voorhees designed hundreds of Seattle buildings including the Vance Hotel and Washington Hall. He published a pattern book of house, cottage and bungalow plans in 1907.

Lawrence W. Graham owned and operated a candy store in one of the smaller storefronts from around 1916 until the 1930’s.

The apartment house was originally named “Homer Apartments”. However, it was changed to “La Paz Apartments” in 1968 when the building changed ownership. The name was inspired by the peace movement that was happening at the time around the country and also by large crowds of ‘hippies’ hanging out on the sidewalks of NE 42nd St. 


Cladding: Brick 
Foundation: Concrete - Poured 
Roof: Flat 
Roof Material: Torch-down 
Type: Commerce/Trade - Business, Domestic - Multiple Family House 
Plan: Rectangular 
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced


Plan: Intact 
Cladding: Intact 
Windows: Intact 
Storefront: Moderate
- City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records 
- King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972) 
- Washington State Archives 
- Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996 
- Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994 
- Nielsen, Roy. UniverCity: The Story of The University District in Seattle. Seattle: University Lions Foundation, 1986 
- Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation 7 Historic Property Report Historic Name: Homer Apartments Property ID: 47622
- WISAARD Link: https://wisaard.dahp.wa.gov/Resource/37834/PropertyInventory/1218554 
- City of Seattle: https://web.seattle.gov/DPD/HistoricalSite/QueryResult.aspx?ID=58