posted 05/07/12 11:32 AM | updated 05/07/12 12:12 PM
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Seattle Public Schools may buy back Lake City Professional Center

Re-posted from Douglas Park Cooperative

The Seattle Public School Board met on Wednesday, May 2nd. One of the items discussed during the meeting was the sale of the old Lake City School, a prominent building in our community on NE 125th Street, now known as the Lake City Professional Center. 

Photo of Lake City School circa 1935 ( SPSA 240-334 )

Recent photo of Lake City School ( 2012 )

The Lake City School was built in 1931 and was taken out of use as a public school in 1981. It was used for a few years by a local citizen's group. In 1986, a 100 year land lease agreement between Lorig and Associates and Seattle Public Schools was signed. The buildings were sold to Lorig while the land remained owned by Seattle Public Schools.

The original school property included the play ground to the south that is now Virgil Flaim Park. The 2.75 acres that make up Virgil Flaim park were transferred from Seattle Public Schools ownership to Seattle Parks and Rec in 1987. The remaining 2.68 acres of land that the Lake City Professional center sits on is still being leased by Lorig from Seattle Public Schools. 

Aerial View of property- 1955 ( from SPSA 240-1 )

The leasing of unused Seattle Public Schools properties is common. The Cedar Park Elementary building has been rented out to Artwood Studios for decades and the school playground rented out to Seattle Parks and Recreation. There is a similar relationship between ownership of land, improvements, maintenance, and operations at the site where Nathan Hale High School and Meadowbrook Community Center are located. 

The current amount that Lorig pays for the land lease is $75,000 a year. The lease expires in 2086. Lorig has taken out around $3 million to make improvements to the property over the years. It has been brought up to code and it's historic character preserved. Lorig has also managed to make the majority of the leases with medical professionals, turning it into a valuable community medical center. The property's gross receipts are around $325,000. After paying the lease, servicing the loans, and paying for operations and maintenance of the buildings and the grounds, they are netting about $25,000 a year. 

Ron English from Seattle Public Schools has worked out a deal with Lorig to purchase the buildings back along with all the tenant leases for $3.2 million. This purchase would be made with a loan from the SPS Community Schools Fund and would be paid back over 10 years. You can see his presentation to the Board here ( click on Part 2 of the May 2nd video.)  Ron starts his presentation at time stamp 77:48

Proposed 5 story Apartments from 2008 

Back in 2008, the land lease was up for the 5 year review to determine if it should increase. It was determined at that time by SPS that it should be based on the current assessed land value of around $7 million. Lorig could not make a profit with the current configuration and other options were explored for generating revenue from the property. Lorig presented the idea of building a 5 story apartment complex along the south and east side of the property. At the time that idea was met with very strong resistance from the community. 

Pinehurst Chiropractic in the back

Dr Svore's Dental practice. Note the pergola with the wisteria. 

This new deal between Seattle Public Schools and Lorig will preserve the current building configuration and usage as a medical practice center. Lorig would be asked to submit a proposal to operate and maintain the property for SPS after the sale.

Lorig's commitment to this property over the years should be commended. They have done an excellent job of improving and maintaining a historic building in our neighborhood and the adaptive reuse of this old school structure as a medical center with practices that serve the local community has been a very successful and a much appreciated accomplishment. Considering how little they are making on this property really brings into focus the level of commitment they have made to our neighborhood.

View of the back from the parking lot.

The arched doorway enters into what was the school gym. 

You can read more about the history of the property here.

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