SEATTLE-King County plans to raise money for youth sports by selling to a nonprofit or government entity one of the last remaining parcels on the former Kingdome site, most of which is now occupied by a new professional sports stadium. The irregular shaped half-acre site at 590 First Ave. South is home to the 100-year-old Johnson Hardware Building, a 42,600-sf, two-story brick structure built in 1903. King County purchased the brick structure in 1980 for $950,000 as it prepared to develop the Kingdome; the building’s current appraised value is slightly more than $2.3 million.The building sits between Railroad Way South and Occidental Avenue South. The property is zoned for building heights between 85 and 120 feet and is located in the Pioneer Square Preservation District. Between 1980 and 1997 the property was used as by the Kingdome stadium authority as a storage facility and as storage for the Mariners baseball organization.As part of the negotiations with billionaire Paul Allen’s First and Goal Inc. for the development of the new sports stadium, First and Goal was given a one-year option to purchase the Johnson Hardware Building that began when it received a certificate of occupancy for the new stadium, which occurred on July 19, 2002. First and Goal let the option lapse, and King County recently declared the property surplus to its needs.The appraisal of the property takes into account damage to the building caused by the Nisqually earthquake on Feb. 28, 2001. The damage restricted the building’s utility for warehousing and storage. Repair of the earthquake damage would allow resumption of its current use as a warehouse. An upgrade to current seismic code–estimated to cost $750,000–would permit change in land use. Bob Thompson of King County’s real estate services division tells GlobeSt.com that the RFP for the property will be issued sometime in November and that nonprofits and governmental organizations will have first crack at purchasing the building. If by March 31 such an entity has not submitted a proposal the county deems adequate, it will be open to purchase by anyone.Proceeds from the sale will go to the Youth Sports Facilities Grants Fund, which provides matching grants to community and youth organizations that partner with a public agency such as a school district or city parks department to develop, renovate, or repair sports facilities. The site also was considered for affordable housing, as required by city code, but the idea was dismissed due to the high cost of redevelopment. Would-be residential developers said an affordable housing development would only work if they could acquire the site for $800,000, or about one third of its appraised worth.

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