County's Jail Annex free for the taking

You’ve heard of the good deal in which one government agency conveys property to another for a dollar. Well, Pierce County is going that one better.

Pierce County Facilities Management wants to give away its Jail Annex, located on the County-City Building campus overlooking downtown Tacoma.
The view doesn’t come with the 48,140- -square-foot steel building. A condition of the give-away is that the new owner move it. The facility, constructed in 1996 for $6.2 million, is in excellent condition.

“This is the perfect building for someone needing 45 sinks, toilets and urinals,” said Dan Cagle, facilities management director.

The building is 250 feet by 190 feet with a center span height of nearly 33 feet.

“People have suggested it might serve as a basketball arena or fleet maintenance garage.”

Even better, it could serve a city or county needing a jail. Facilities Management has received inquiries from several jurisdictions as near as Central Washington and as distant as Alaska.

The building’s availability was publicized through the Plant Operations Support Consortium, a network of public facility managers in the Northwest U.S. and Canada.

While the building is free, the cost of taking it apart, transporting it and putting it up at a new location might be prohibitive for most interested parties.

If no taker comes forward, the county will sell as much of the building as possible for scrap and demolish the remainder. The site will be restored as a public parking area.

It also will be landscaped as part of a beautification project planned for Nollmeyer Lane, which separates the Jail Annex and National Guard Armory from the new jail.

The Jail Annex was considered a temporary facility when it was built to house excess prisoners from the county’s main jail.

The adjacent National Guard Armory was previously used for that purpose, but a federal judge ordered the county to close the auxiliary jail space in the armory.

The recent completion of a 1,000-bed new jail makes the Jail Annex surplus to the county’s needs.