Tacoma finds buyer for South End Neighborhood Center

Tacoma’s former South End Neighborhood Center will soon have a new owner.

Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote next month to sell the property to the Tacoma Cambodian Evangelical Church for $430,000.

The former community center, which was housed in a 9,500-square-foot building located at 7802 South L St., was built more than 30 years ago on a 51,876-square-foot site. The property is owned by the City of Tacoma and has been operated and maintained by Metro Parks Tacoma. This spring, however, Metro Parks Tacoma announced it would no longer operate the facility due to operation and maintenance costs, as well as its ability to provide substitute recreational services at separate and partner facilities, according to city staff. A condition assessment report completed four years ago noted the building faces approximately $1.18 million in deferred maintenance over the next decade. Last year, the property was appraised at $500,000.

In September, the city published a Request for Proposals (RFP) in an effort to draw interest from prospective buyers. The city sought a minimum bid of $430,000, as well as an agreement from the buyer to use the property in a way that benefits the surrounding community and is approved by a neighborhood advisory committee. The city concluded its RFP process on Tues., Oct. 30. Tacoma City Council’s government performance and finance committee discussed the issue last month.

Tacoma Cambodian Evangelical Church intends to use the facility for church activities and certain community programs offered to the public such as after school tutoring, life-skills classes, recreational activities, and summer/holiday/seasonal events, according to city staff. Earlier this month, the neighborhood advisory committee reviewed and scored the proposal, awarding it 466 points out of a total of 500 points.

Tacoma City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on a resolution to authorize the sale during its meeting on Tues., Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the first floor of the Tacoma Municipal Building, located 747 Market Street. The pending agenda and meeting materials are available online here (UPDATE: The item is officially on the agenda) Meetings are streamed live online at tvtacoma.com and broadcast live on TV Tacoma.

Tacoma's South End Neighborhood Center. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)