Decision ahead on former McKinley Hill police station property sale

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote this week on whether to sell a former police station in the McKinley Hill Business District to Chuckals Office Products.

The 6,500 square foot building on 26,000 square feet of land located at 3524 McKinley Avenue East was declared surplus property in January, three years after the Tacoma Police Department’s Sector Four Substation relocated to a new facility in the city’s Stewart Heights neighborhood. At the time, City of Tacoma staff met with members of the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council and the Dome Top Neighborhood Alliance to discuss how new ownership could best serve the neighborhood.

The property was appraised at $335,000.

The City of Tacoma issued a request for proposals in April, received some interest, but “did not receive any responsive proposals by the June 4, 2013 due date,” according to an Oct. 11 memo prepared by Interim Public Works Director Kurtis D. Kingsolver. In July, the city hired real estate broker Kidder Mathews to market the property, but failed to receive any bids by the Sept. 3 deadline. The minimum bid was lowered to $285,000 and the property was put on the market again. This time, the city received two bids.

An advisory committee consisting of city staff and members of the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council and the Dome Top Neighborhood Alliance met earlier this month to review the proposals. According to Kingsolver, one plan called for selling the building to Chuckals Office Products so the company could relocate from downtown Tacoma. Another plan called for selling the building to the Making a Difference foundation so the organization could moved the Eloise Cooking Pot Food Bank to the new building, as well as create the McKinley Hill Business Center and McKinley Hill Business Accelerator.

“Overall, the selection advisory committee felt that Chuckals would be a good fit for the neighborhood, would provide a direct community benefit by siting an established business in an emerging business district, and that a for-profit commercial use was most consistent with the City’s neighborhood’s [sic] goals and economic development goals,” noted Kingsolver.

On Oct. 8, the committee formally recommended selling the property to Chuckals Office Products President and CEO Alan Lynden.

“We like that location for a couple reasons,” Lynden told the Tacoma Daily Index last week. “It’s in an up-and-coming neighborhood and we want to invest in a neighborhood that’s going to grow. Number two, it’s close to downtown. All in all, it looks like a good building.”

According to Lynden, Chuckals Office Products currently leases its space at 2209 Pacific Avenue (Suite B). If city council adopts a resolution authorizing the purchase and sale agreement, it would mean the city accepts Lynden’s offer of $285,000 to purchase the building, according to Lynden. It would also allow Lynden to complete the due diligence on the property before a final decision is made. If the purchase is completed, Lynden expects to complete some remodeling and move to the new location in about six months.

“If the building works for us, yes, we would move,” said Lynden. “As with any business, you one day hope to own your own building. We saw that building for sale, took a cursory look at it, and put an offer in.

“Business is great, and that affords us this opportunity,” added Lynden.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the issue during its meeting on Tues., Oct. 29, at 5 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, City Council Chambers, 747 Market St., First Floor, in Tacoma. A copy of the agenda is available online here.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Chuckals Office Products, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at