Is this Port Angeles building worth 5 bucks?
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
The old fire hall on South Lincoln Street in Port Angeles "needs help," admits one city official. Clallam County commissioners will weigh the offer at their meeting today.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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In an email to Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones, City Manager Dan McKeen said the city received an offer Aug. 26 to purchase the building at 215 S. Lincoln St. and fully restore the Depression-era, Art Deco building which in recent years has housed several restaurants.
The city told the county about the offer to see whether county commissioners would have any interest in securing ownership of the historic 6,238-square-foot building to keep it publicly owned for future use, according to a commissioners agenda item.
County commissioners will discuss the matter at their work session today at 9 a.m at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said the email with the offer came directly to him. West declined to name the person because of a request to remain anonymous.
McKeen told Jones the person first asked the city about the property on Aug. 15, after which the city gave the individual a copy of a building assessment done in 2011.
West said the assessment estimated full restoration would cost about
The assessment pointed out several problems with the building, West said, including the deteriorating foundation on the rear of the structure.
“It's really important to recognize that, in its existing state, the building needs help,” West said.
The city and the county have been working together since 2011 to seek grant funds to at least partially restore the historic building, West said.
At a July 8 county commissioners meeting, the possibility of the county providing funding for an initial renovation phase, with the county asking the city to contribute some funds, was discussed, West said.
The city has made clear, however, that it would not be able to fund restoration, West said.
“We simply do not have the general fund resources to contribute to the restoration of the fire hall,” he said.
The city does want to see the building restored and its historic integrity intact, West said, as it sits within the Port Angeles Historic District and is an important part of Port Angeles history.
“Right now, the city will be exploring the possibility of private sector restoration of the property,” West said.
“We would ensure whoever purchases the building has [the] capability to follow through and ensure restoration is fully complete.”
West said any final decision on selling the old fire hall would need City Council approval.
The historic building has been envisioned as a possible veterans' center because of its proximity to Veterans Memorial Park and its historic value.
“At this time, we do not know if this private sector effort would preclude a future use by the Veterans,” McKeen told Jones.
West also said he could not speak to how the interested individual might use the building after restoring it.
“We simply don't know at this point what their long term interests are,” West said.
The city has had approximately four or five parties express interest in the building since the City Council declared it as surplus in 2007, West said, though none have produced formal offers.
In 2006 or 2007, West said the building was assessed at about $400,000 and re-assessed in 2008 at roughly $200,000.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 16. 2013 12:06AM