Friday, November 07, 2014

Federal Reserve Building to Go to Auction

The General Services Administration has announced that the Federal Reserve Building will go up for auction on December 5th with an opening bid of $5M.  The closing date for bids is January 28th, 2015. 

From the GSA website:

At the close of the auction, the high bid will be considered for acceptance by the Government.  The Government reserves the right to reject any or all bids for any reason.  

The building cannot be demolished because of historic preservation regulations (although the zoning for that area would allow unlimited height if those regulations did not apply to the building). 

That right there will severely limit the number of bidders. 

So, the district could try to bid on it and obviously, set a limit on how high they go.  I suspect the money could be found a number of ways.  Of course, then it would be quite awhile for the district to find the real money to renovate it.  Is that worth it? Possibly. 

Or, as one commenter at the Times said, "Here is an opportunity for civic donors to step up..." "They can buy the building at auction and gift it to the district."  

There's a thought.

11 comments:

ben said...

Its not strictly true that you can't demolish a landmarked building.

There's a process outlined in the municipal code: http://clerk.seattle.gov/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?d=CODE&s1=25.12.835.snum.&Sect5=CODE1&Sect6=HITOFF&l=20&p=1&u=/~public/code1.htm&r=1&f=G

However, it seems to be up to the decision of the landmarks board whether to grant that request.

Watching said...

I'm getting the feeling it would have been quite easy to go over budget on this project.

Anonymous said...

If SPS bought it at auction, can they then use it however they like? I know if they had been given the building, it would have had to be a school I think. I'm wondering if the Fed Reserve bldg. could become staff headquarters and convert JSCEE to a high school?

Or even have the Fed Reserve bldg be an option-type (specialty, like STEAM school for older grades?) I know the downtown folks want an elementary but the upcoming capacity need is HS, right? Plus high schoolers can navigate themselves on Metro to get there.

-just wondering

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Wondering, yes, if the district buys the land/building, it's they're to do with as they please.

Many more options with that kind of ability.

Interesting idea on the JSCEE/downtown switch. I initially went, nah. But, if you moved just the administrative part (as they have maintenance there as well as the only district kitchen), it might work. Parking, though, would be an issue.

Eric B said...

Parking would only be an issue if they made it one. For the daily workers, no need for any special arrangements. Everyone else downtown does it just fine, and bus service is pretty good. If they hold major meetings at JSCEE in the regular room, no need for changes. I think the problem is that you'd have partial services at both locations. That probably leads to even more siloing and lots of "empty space" that can be filled with admin employees.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that JSCEE would work as a comprehensive high school-it's pretty small, and there's no way to fit in facilities for PE/music etc (saying this from the whole 2 times I've been there, maybe I'm wrong?) But maybe smaller programs, like CTE or CPPP?
Chip

Anonymous said...

My choice for a high school would be the Amgen building. It could serve Queen Anne and Magnolia, freeing up north end high schools for those communities. It would be on bus routes for easy access. The location near the water and bike trails sure beats a building filled with asbestos.

Maybe some wealthy business owners could contribute to this. They have certainly profited from our community and could give something back.

S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

S Parent, send that thought to Flip Herndon and the Board. Let them know there are options if the downtown business community would step up.

Watching said...

I agree with S. Parent. Amgen is a NEW campus and students would have the ability to occupy the building.

I also think it is a good idea to consider selling the John Stanford Center and moving administrative offices to Amgen property.

There is talk of putting a UW Campus on the Amgen property. Combining a high school/ college campus is a good idea.

I'd seen a report on the Federal Reserve bld...it is FULL of asbestos.

Anonymous said...

Is that Lester Herndon, head of facilities?
S parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

S Parent, sorry, yes it is.

Watching, I think that's a fantastic idea and even better opp than Federal Reserve Building. If I had the time, I'd try to move that forward.