Tacoma's Swan Creek Library sold

More than two years after it was shuttered due to budget cuts, the former Swan Creek Library building on Tacoma’s east side has been sold.

Tacoma City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to authorize the sale of the building, which is owned by the City of Tacoma and located at 3828 Portland Avenue, to a local real estate broker for $91,000.

The building was on the market for most of last year. The city issued two requests for proposals, held two open houses for potential buyers, and even lowered the minimum asking price from $400,000 to $300,000. In October, city officials hired a local real estate broker, First Western Properties, to bolster its effort to find the right buyer. The broker received four bids on the property.

One condition of the property sale involved approval by 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 in order to find a buyer who planned to use the property in a way that benefitted the surrounding community.

“Based on their evaluation of the proposals, the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) is recommending that the City sell the Swan Creek Library to 4 Rent Check.com, LLC, represented by Darren Gill,” wrote Conor McCarthy, assistant division manager in the city’s real property services department, in a Feb. 25 memo requesting the resolution. “Gill has provided a comprehensive proposal to rehabilitate the facility and activate it for operation as a daycare center.”

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. 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.

Although the city was asking between $300,000 to $400,000 for the property, the four recent bids ranged from $91,000 to $140,000.

“After taking into consideration approximately $455,218 in deferred maintenance needs for the facility (as estimated in 2009), the site constraints and limited potential uses for the facility, and the fact that the property had been on the market for 10 months, City staff in consultation with the broker are satisfied that these offers are within the available market range,” wrote interim Public Works Director Kurtis D. Kingsolver in a March 6, 2013 memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax.

Kingsolver added that Gill, a real estate broker and loan officer whose family has lived in Tacoma for generations, received overwhelming support from the advisory committee. “Overall, the SAC felt that a daycare center was needed in the neighborhood, would provide a direct community benefit, and that a for-profit commercial use was most consistent with the city’s neighborhood’s goals and the city’s economic development goals,” added Kingsolver. “Based on Gill’s interview and his detailed proposal, the SAC also felt that Gill had the clearest plan and timeline both for rehabilitating the facility and ensuring that the property would be activated soon.”

Last summer, the city sold the former Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Library building, located at 1902 South Cedar Street and shuttered since 2011, for $700,000 to a local doctor who plans to use the site as a non-profit medical center.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Swan Creek Library and MLK Library building sales, click on the following links:

Tacoma's Swan Creek Library. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)