Followup: West Seattle’s ex-Fire Station 37 sold for $613,000

(2011 WSB photo of ex-Fire Station 37)
When we checked in with Colliers International vice president Arvin Vander Veen last week regarding the sale of 87-year-old ex-Fire Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, he told us the deal would close this week, and to watch the public records. We did, and while checking online records last night, we noted that the sale was registered. The former fire station’s new owner also owns a business in The Junction, where WSB contributor Katie Meyer went this morning to see if she would talk with us about her plans for it. She told Katie that she does not want to comment, nor does she want to be identified. We have a request out to the city to ask about the purchase price, as it was not part of the public document; as reported previously, minimum bid was $250,000, and Colliers requested a second round of offers from the highest bidders in the original round. Since the former fire station is a city landmark, its new owner would have to get city Landmarks Board approval before altering any of its landmarked features; it’s in a single-family residential zone. The city gave final authorization to the sale plan last fall, one year after the new Station 37 opened a few blocks south.

1:03 PM UPDATE: The city says the ex-station sold for $613,000. Minus commission and closing costs, that means $579,807 into the city’s Fire Levy Fund. (added) City spokesperson Katherine Schubert-Knapp explains, “Levy proceeds and other funding, such as the sale of former fire stations, are being used to upgrade, renovate and replace 32 neighborhood fire stations, among other things. Seattle voters approved the levy in November 2003. (It will be funding future WS upgrades at other stations including 32 and 36.)

44 Replies to "Followup: West Seattle's ex-Fire Station 37 sold for $613,000"

  • JSW May 15, 2012 (1:05 pm)

    If it’s a public record, why not identify her in your blog? Must be a WSB advertiser!!! LOL

    • WSB May 15, 2012 (1:08 pm)


  • Brandon May 15, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    That’s pretty cool, welcome to the ‘hood new neighbor

  • coffee May 15, 2012 (1:22 pm)

    Just watch for the moving trucks….
    Really I am glad its going to someone who seems like they will care for the building.

  • ad May 15, 2012 (1:28 pm)

    bold wasn’t turned off.

  • yo May 15, 2012 (1:31 pm)

    Stop implying advertisers get special treatment. They don’t.

  • hopey May 15, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    Gee. Just because it’s a WS business owner means they don’t deserve any privacy? Come on.

    • WSB May 15, 2012 (2:04 pm)

      As editor, I have an editorial philosophy, and some guiding principles. Some a lot more old-school than most. When reporter Katie told me about the new owner’s request, as editor, I had the choice to either honor it or not. I’m choosing to; this isn’t Blockshopper. In this story, what I think matters is what the place sold for, since it’s a public asset and the money goes into the city coffers. We got that information and have reported it. I was really hoping the new owner would want to talk with us about her plans for the property. She didn’t. Re: public records – believe me, I know how much is out there. About all of us. Every story we write, we could include a person’s birthdate and address from the voter database (assuming they’re registered), and their criminal history, their traffic-ticket history, any other legal action they’ve been involved in, and more. I guess I’m a little more sensitive to privacy than most; you might notice that we often identify people here only by their first name, when thanking them for story tips, etc. The same goes for our photographic philosophy; at car crashes and other such things, we don’t photograph people on gurneys, blood on roadways, weeping survivors/drivers on the roadside. Some other news outlets have different principles, and that’s their right; I just have this saying “just because you CAN, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD” … thanks for reading. TR

  • Jeez May 15, 2012 (1:54 pm)

    geez, JSW, why is it any of your business? If you’re so hot on transparency, let us all know who you are. if you’re going to get your panties in a bind, get them in a bind about something important.

  • westcoastdeb May 15, 2012 (1:56 pm)

    I don’t think TR treats her(their) sponsors any differently than they treat any other business/person. She has mentioned previously that she won’t remove forum comments just because her sponsor(s) don’t like them — please stop insulting her integrity.

    Also, wow, seems someone got a bargain (or I am just out of touch with pricing)

  • 2 Much Whine May 15, 2012 (2:04 pm)

    Wow! A house in West Seattle with 2 double car garages. That alone is worth the purchase price.

  • Todd May 15, 2012 (2:08 pm)

    Thank you Tracy.

  • marty May 15, 2012 (2:10 pm)

    Hard for me to see it as a ‘bargain’ 613k for a place that needs lots of work and that you need approval from the landmark board before making many changes. but maybe I just lack vision.

  • Sue May 15, 2012 (2:11 pm)

    You go Tracy! I truly appreciate your ethics and journalistic responsibility. I *know* that you thoughtfully process the information that shows up on *our* beloved blog. Thanks!

  • GenHillOne May 15, 2012 (3:23 pm)

    Well, honor aside, the sale is indeed public record and I just found the purchase in two clicks.

  • JSW May 15, 2012 (3:49 pm)

    Sheesh…guess no one noticed my LOL at the end of my comment…as in “tongue in cheek”… :-)

  • S May 15, 2012 (3:55 pm)

    Just wait until the King County Assessor updates it info and you can get info on the King County Parcel Viewer. It will tell you the name of the owners.

  • Dan May 15, 2012 (3:58 pm)

    I easily found it as well.
    So, Tracy, the effect of your “editorial philosophy” is that the only audience not knowing this (admittedly public) fact are either (1) people who want to be kept in the dark or (2) people who don’t know how to use the internet.

    • WSB May 15, 2012 (4:08 pm)

      I’m not expecting that not including the person’s identity in our story means people won’t know. That’s not the point. It means I’m not publishing it on this website. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • GenHillOne May 15, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    Oh, and I should add that that doesn’t mean I think WSB should identify them. Only that the purchaser/purchaser’s family should realize that it isn’t that hard to find out their identity and sometimes a good defense is a good offense when it comes to wanting privacy, especially when everyone knows everyone in WS (the cryptic approach is, well, cryptic, lol).

  • susieq May 15, 2012 (4:21 pm)

    Thank you Tracy, for always sticking to your ethics! This is a big part of why we LOVE the WSB! If more of us thought more often about “just because you CAN, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD,” the world would be a better place. I just hope the new owner and family – or the new renter – are happy in their new home and willing to contribute some of themselves to our community. I don’t care who they are or where they came from. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  • boo May 15, 2012 (4:44 pm)

    I can’t help but remember the firefighters saying it was haunted. Have fun with that :)

  • David May 15, 2012 (4:55 pm)

    Well, having been there as a firefighter for 7 years I can tell you, it isn’t haunted.
    Many great memories there, I hope you enjoy it!

  • Tbone May 15, 2012 (5:35 pm)

    Yes, Tracy, hats off to you on your ethics and endless dedication to the best news source around. You provide a great service to this community. Thank you.

  • anon May 15, 2012 (5:55 pm)

    …what Sue and susieq said — thanks, Tracy — you are such an asset to West Seattle & to the journalism profession as a whole. We’re very fortunate to have you and the WSB! :)

  • West Seattleite May 15, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    Hopefully the new owner will hide when he/she enters the place. What a joke. Who gives a rip-roaring darn?

  • I. Ponder May 15, 2012 (6:18 pm)

    Does it have a pole?

  • M May 15, 2012 (8:08 pm)

    Maybe the DPD can be equally as cooperative with the new owners and their plans for the facilty as they have been with the waterfront fish&chips restaurant conversion. – Best of luck to them!!!

  • sun*e May 15, 2012 (8:17 pm)

    @I. Ponder – lookin’ to do some dancin’, are we? ;-)

  • c May 15, 2012 (8:28 pm)

    Wondering if they need extra income from an indoor rv rental for a few months :)

  • Harry Reems May 15, 2012 (8:57 pm)

    613k a “bargain” for a house on I-35?

    Seems one could get a nice place in Admiral for a bit cheaper……..

  • Melinda May 15, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    So, no chance this could be a neighborhood bar, like E9 in Tacoma? No exceptions to the single-family res zone?

  • carlton May 15, 2012 (9:33 pm)

    it would be perfect to temporarily place vulnerable homeless people.

  • Karen May 15, 2012 (10:22 pm)

    Tracy, you’re the best. Thanks.

  • happy May 15, 2012 (10:50 pm)

    Thanks for having — and using — ethics, Tracy!

  • ripper May 16, 2012 (12:09 am)

    Ethics? Who gives a f*ck if we know the person’s name. This isn’t heroic to censor the name.

  • CB May 16, 2012 (3:56 am)

    When this property hit the market I was intrigued, but somehow I knew it would sell for a ridicules amount, and it did. Glad I did not jump into the process.

  • The Shadow May 16, 2012 (7:48 am)

    Props to WSB for raising the bar on journalistic ethics. When it comes to getting out the relevant stuff on local news, WSB is hard to beat, and their sense of decency is a delightful change of pace.

    When I was young, I had a summer job driving and ice-cream scooter, and I was hit by a car that ran a stop sign. The local paper ran a photo of me lying in the street, splattered with blood. A passerby put my money envelope on my chest. The caption was ‘still clutching his money bag, xxxxxxx awaits medical attention’. I really wish more reporters/editors had as much class as WSB.

  • Ben May 16, 2012 (9:09 am)

    i fully respect the right of the WSB editor to publish (and not to publish) whatever she likes.
    given that the last name of the fire station property’s purchasers (as obtained this morning from the website of the King County Recorders Office) matches the last name of someone who has reported for WSB, i would ask whether they are related.
    i am not questioning the high standards and ethics that i believe all at WSB adhere to. i am a longtime and faithful reader, and deeply appreciative of what WSB’s publishers have done for our community. i am asking mainly as a defensive measure, to defuse a potential further petty spat.

  • Tucker May 16, 2012 (10:35 am)

    Here’s the point: Is the name of the purchaser essential to reporting the story? No. Is the name publicly available through other sources? Yes. Absolutely no issue here.
    And there is a saying about ethics: They are what you do when no one is looking. This isn’t a matter of trying to appear “heroic,” as ripper mentioned above. This is sticking to a personal (and professional) code. Nothing more, nothing less. Only cynics would think this is either more devious or more righteous.

  • Cstar May 16, 2012 (11:30 am)

    to I Ponder: nope, no pole.

  • Dee Hayward May 16, 2012 (11:36 am)

    You all have way too much time on your hands! Whew!

  • WSratsinacage May 16, 2012 (4:13 pm)

    LOL Dee

  • Crowhop May 16, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    I know the owner very well and she is a private person. Why does anyone care WHO bought the fire station? She doesn’t want to be bothered with lots of questions about why she bought it and what her plans are. She is a very respectable gal, and she will take good care of the building and property. When the complete public records are available I hope no one seeks her out and starts asking questions. If she wanted anyone to know about her business she would have given an interview. Please respect her privacy.

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