Pasco’s historic Moore Mansion sells for $2.7 million

Pasco’s storied Moore Mansion is starting a new chapter after being sold by the couple who saved it from demolition.

Debra and Brad Peck sold the historic mansion to a Kennewick couple who will run it as a residence and event center. The Pecks and the new owners will collaborate to ensure weddings and other events booked for 2020 go on as planned.

Sandrine and Thomas King, a local pathologist, purchased the mansion, property and business assets for nearly $2.7 million as At the Moore LLC. The deal recorded in Franklin County on March 26.

The sale opens a promising new chapter for the Moore Mansion, the graceful Beaux Arts mansion built on the Columbia River shoreline in 1908 but never occupied by its builder, James Moore. After a series of ownership changes, changes in use and a prolonged period of vacancy, it was nearly destroyed by a suspicious fire on May 9, 2001.

The Pecks bought it from a Florida bank in March 2004. They were motivated by a love of the property and desire to see it preserved. The $267,000 deal closed two days before a court-ordered deadline to rebuild or remove the damaged structure.

The Pecks restored it as a private residence and outdoor event center, hosting about 20 weddings, proms, meetings and other gatherings each year. 

Brad Peck estimates 40,000 people passed through the property in the 14 years since it reopened. He and Debra never took a salary. They credit clients who chose the mansion for their events for supplying the funds to continue renovating and upgrading the property.

Brad Peck, a Franklin County Commissioner, said he and his wife will keep their home in District 1. He is required to live in the district he represents.

The Pecks will work with Sandrine King and her partner to ensure events booked for 2020 go on as planned. Peck said no events have been canceled during the coronavirus stay-home crisis, but some have been rescheduled.

New owners

“We’re committed to making sure every one of our clients gets what they were promised,” he said. 

Sandrine King, her husband and their twin sons, 6, have moved into the mansion.

She will run the event business with her partner, Lissette Conde, who will live on the property with her family in a carriage house once it is complete.

King, who financed the purchase with a mortgage, intends to increase the number of events held at the Moore Mansion. In addition to the outdoor events the Pecks welcomed, she will open the mansion itself to small indoor gatherings. 

“Microweddings” could be held in the living room, she said, referring to weddings that involved 50 or fewer people.

Like the Pecks, King said she’s eager to leave her mark and pledged to continue with repairs and renovations. 

“It’s not only beautiful, it has such history. It’s an icon of the Tri-Cities. I feel very privileged,” King said.

Renovations continue

As part of the deal, Peck agreed to complete a balcony railing restoration project that will complete the ornate Beaux Arts exterior appearance. Most of the wooden rail pieces have been made, but need to be assembled and installed.

It will be the most visible improvement since the fire-damaged portions of the building were reconstructed, he said.

Originally from France, Sandrine King said she long dreamed of owning an event venue. In France, her grandfather ran a hotel and restaurant and she loved the activity. When her family moved to New York City, she worked in their restaurant and held jobs in the hospitality industry as well as a hospital, where she met her future husband.

Tom King’s career brought them to the Tri-Cities 12 years ago by way of Phoenix. While in Arizona, she studied interior design and developed an appreciation for architecture.

She has a special interest in the mansion’s Beaux Arts style—formal, ornate, symmetrical and imposing.

Her understanding of the form convinced the Pecks she was the right buyers. While the Pecks were open to selling, they weren’t formally marketing it. After visiting with several prospective buyers, Peck said he was impressed by Kings’ affection for the property.

“They have the professionalism and knowledge and appreciation of the architecture,” he said. “They may be the only people who could tell me as much about Beaus Arts as I could tell them.” 

The Pecks may have been passive sellers but the Kings were active buyers.

Sandrine King said she was actively looking at properties for an event venue. She’d been looking at an orchard but was running into bureaucrats who said an event center needed to be tied to a brewery or winery, which she didn’t want.

Still, when a broker told her an unnamed venue might be available, she said “no.”

She had second thoughts when she realized it might be the Moore Mansion. 

One tour sold them on the idea.

“We had already fallen in love with the mansion. Who doesn’t?”

The couple sold their Kennewick home and secured a loan to close the purchase. 

Rocky road

The new chapter follows a long and rocky past. 

Moore Mansion fell into financial distress in the 1990s, culminating the devastating fire of 2001 and several years of court battles over its future.

Peck, a retired U.S. Air Force officer and Energy Northwest executive, said he and his wife bought it to ensure it wasn’t torn down. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it was worth saving. 

When a structural engineer said it could be saved, they dug in.  

Over the following decade-plus, property records indicate the Pecks spent about $800,000 to build an event center, begin the carriage house garage and more, in addition to their personal labor. The property qualified for a 10-year historic property tax break, which expired in 2017.

Peck said there’s no question the fire was deliberate, saying he found damning evidence in the basement.

He was working by flashlight when he found a homemade torch in a wall by a staircase.

A cardboard tube with an 18-inch length of twisted paper had been inserted inside the wall, its edges were burned.

He turned the evidence over to investigators. While the mansion’s previous owner pleaded guilty to other charges associated with the mansion, arson charges were dropped as part of the plea bargain.

“I do believe without any doubt whatsoever it was arson,” Peck said.

Learn more about the Moore Mansion at mooremansion.com.

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