Artist’s rendering of ‘The Divine,’ owner Melina Lin’s proposed successor to the Heritage building on East Main Street. COURTESY IMAGE

Artist’s rendering of ‘The Divine,’ owner Melina Lin’s proposed successor to the Heritage building on East Main Street. COURTESY IMAGE

Successor to Heritage Building: 66 apartments, 6 stories high

Owner of lot where historic structure stood submits her plans for replacing it with ‘The Divine’

Things may change a bit in the spin and churn of the development process.

But two weeks ago, Melina Lin, owner of the Heritage Building lot on East Main Street, submitted to the city of Auburn her plans to replace the now vanished-and-carted-away, two-story edifice.

As proposed today, the mixed-use building differs in a number of respects from what stood there through nearly 100 years of Auburn history before falling to smoke and ruin in the catastrophic fire of Dec. 26, 2017.

The most noticeable difference will be the structure’s height. Plans reveal a 6-story building, four stories higher than others on the block, the upper four dedicated to 66 units of apartments, and the lower two divided between street-level commercial and a second-story parking garage.

The Heritage Building, which opened in 1924, had no parking.

Also, the name on the plans is not “Heritage II,” or “Heritage the Sequel,” or any form thereof, but “The Divine.”

Lin was under the gun to submit her plans to the city by Jan. 31, 2019.

Jeff Tate, director of planning and community development for the city of Auburn, said Lin is “grandfathered” to build 36 apartments, as that is what the old Heritage Building carried, but because she is proposing an additional 30 units, building codes require her to provide parking for her tenants.

For nearly a year, a thin strip of canvas on the fence around the site feebly attempted to shield from the eye what remained post-demolition of the raw building detritus, including dozens of chunks of broken concrete.

That lingering mess had been the byproduct of a misunderstanding between how Lin and her first demolition contractor, Harbro Emergency Services, interpreted what she expected it to do by contract.

But as passersby may have noticed in recent days, all the stuff that made the site so awful ugly and dangerous is now history, and a much-more-eye-pleasing carpet of gravel covers the lot, courtesy of Rhine Demolition LLC of Tacoma, Lin’s second contractor.

“It’s near buttoned up. I mean, it looks pretty good, but we’re going to have to have a more permanent fence to place the wonky, chain-link fence that goes around the perimeter of the property today,” Tate said. “It will be a fence you can see through, so it doesn’t create a dangerous, dark spot. There are still a couple things that have to be fixed, like damage to a curb or sidewalk.”

On Dec. 26, 2017, fire broke out in the building’s laundry room. By the time the Valley Regional Fire Authority and other local fire agencies called in to help had extinguished the fire, the second floor of the historic building was gutted, and its occupants and all of the ground-floor businesses were homeless.

The occupants have since found new housing, and some of the businesses, like Top Nails, have set up shop elsewhere.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Former VRFA Administrator Eric Robertson to run for 31st District seat

Former Valley Regional Fire Administrator Eric Robertson has announced his candidacy for… Continue reading

Closures on I-5 in SeaTac for Federal Way Link construction

Along southbound lanes over three weeks

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

Robert Whale / Auburn Reporter
                                Protesters confront Auburn police Tuesday evening in downtown Auburn.
Hundreds gather at Auburn City Hall to protest death of George Floyd

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered on the Auburn City Hall… Continue reading

Courtesy photo 
                                In this image from the 2019 Auburn Farmers Market, Ballesteros Produce displays its goods.
Auburn Farmers Market opens June 7

In early May, the city of Auburn announced it had received approval… Continue reading

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

File photo
Misbehaving woman banned from Auburn gas station | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Auburn police log.

Screenshot from a YouTube video posted Monday by the City of Auburn with a message from Mayor Nancy Backus and other city officials.
Looting hits Auburn mall and nearby stores; mayor imposes 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

Auburn is among the King County cities seeing protests over the death… Continue reading

Screenshot of the city’s Facebook page.
Auburn enacts curfew in response to protests and looting

Mayor Nancy Backus declared a state of emergency for the city of… Continue reading

Most Read