A developer who specializes in historical restorations has bought the venerable Medical Dental Building at 509 Olive Way, where generations...

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A developer who specializes in historical restorations has bought the venerable Medical Dental Building at 509 Olive Way, where generations of Seattleites have gone to have their tongue depressed or their teeth polished.

Goodman Real Estate paid $38 million Monday for the 1925 building, just north of Nordstrom and across the street from Westlake Center and Pacific Place.

George Petrie, asset manager for Goodman Real Estate, said the firm will apply for landmark status for the structure and restore common areas, bathrooms, and plumbing and electrical systems.

“It’s still an exceptionally well-located building,” Petrie said.

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The 18-story building with a terra-cotta front is about 70 percent occupied, and its tenant base is still largely medical and dental practices, some of which date back to the 1930s. With a fitness club expanding on the first two floors, Goodman will seek more tenants to be part of a “health and wellness neighborhood,” Petrie said.

Karen Gordon, Seattle’s historical-preservation officer, said she was looking forward to working with Goodman on the landmark application and the renovations.

“The fact that Goodman is buying it and renovating it with a clear intention to protect it, that’s great news,” she said.

It is unusual to have a historic building maintain its original use, Gordon said.

Another downtown landmark built to house doctor’s offices, the 1910 Cobb Building at 1305 Fourth Ave., will become high-end apartments.

Goodman has redeveloped several prominent historical buildings, most recently the Dexter Horton Building at Second and Cherry, which attracted digital-imaging giant Corbis to move its headquarters there from Bellevue in 2002.

The seller of the Medical Dental Building was Portland-based Harsch Investment Properties. In a statement, Harsch President Jordan Schnitzer said Lou Senini and Don Fosseen of CB Richard Ellis helped find a buyer who “will do the right thing for the building and the community.”

Tom Boyer: 206-464-2923 or tboyer@seattletimes.com