The Bank of California Building at 1011 Pacific Ave in downtown Tacoma is for sale. I had the privilege of meeting owner Jay Yi last week and he allowed us a full tour of the historic site. The impressive structure is packed with an arsenal of equally impressive contents. Never having been used for anything other than a bank, the facility is uniquely tailored for a certain purpose. Like housing millions of dollars in cash, jewels and other valuables for decades.
You pass through the giant, classic pillars on the outside and into an expansive lobby where your eye is immediately drawn 40 feet upward to the cathedral ceiling. The ornate wood and plaster detail overhead is unlike anything you will find in new construction today. Gold carvings tell a story that wraps around the top of the room. Solid granite walls line the staircase leading downstairs.
An old bank manager’s office at the front of the building is luxuriously decorated with gorgeous wood paneling and feels like something out of Scooby-Doo. We could not find any of the secret compartments in the walls, but I’m certain they are there somewhere. If I had an office, I would want it to look just like this one.
We took the old world elevator to the basement and that is where things really got interesting. Exiting the elevator, I suddenly felt as though I were thrust headlong into the middle of a scene from Ocean’s Eleven. I’ve never had free run of a giant vault before. Have you? There were thousands of old, empty safety deposit boxes and multiple safes for the storage of exactly who knows what.
Movie set. That’s all I kept thinking. Well, that and the fact the building may have access to the old tunnels under Tacoma. Stay tuned.