Tacoma partners with real estate broker on Swan Creek Library sale

The City of Tacoma has hired a local real estate broker to bolster its effort to find the right buyer for the former Swan Creek Library building on the city’s east side.

The building, located at 3828 East Portland Ave., has been on the market for most of this year. The City has issued two requests for proposals, held two open houses for potential buyers in April, and even lowered the asking price from $400,000 to $300,000.

“While there was some interest in Swan Creek, there were no bona fide proposals received,” wrote Tacoma Public Works Director Richard E. McKinley in a recent memo to City Manager T. C. Broadnax. Tacoma City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss the issue this week at City Hall.

According to McKinley, the City has hired First Western Properties to market the property and solicit proposals. “Staff is hopeful that the real estate broker’s ability to utilize the commercial broker’s Web service, established connections to the real estate community, and experience marketing and selling commercial properties will put the City in a better position to attract potential buyers,” added McKinley.

The building is currently listed for sale at $300,000.

If a serious buyer does come forward, an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Library, Eastside Neighborhoods Advisory Council of Tacoma, and the First Creek Stewardship Group will have a say in the outcome. The advisory committee wants a buyer who plans to use the property in a way that benefits the surrounding community. Tacoma City Council will make the final approval on the sale.

In January, City staff reported that three parties inquired about the Swan Creek branch, and two parties submitted written interest. At the time, the Puyallup Tribe wanted to expand its governmental operations and house its historical department and museum. Nearby Fellowship Bible Church wanted to buy back the property and use it for church and outreach services.

In 1984, Tacoma paid Fellowship Bible Church $37,500 for the property on which to build the Swan Creek Branch, which cost $743,000 to construct, including $42,114 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Tacoma also paid the church $11,000 in 1988 to acquire land for the library’s parking lot. The library opened in 1989. In 2012, the assessed value totaled approximately $723,400. However, the Swan Creek branch building accrued approximately $450,000 in deferred maintenance: the roof and ventilation system needed to be replaced, and exterior walls and windows needed to be repaired.

Swan Creek Library building. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)