No luck selling Everett School District’s historic Longfellow building

EVERETT — The Everett School District is still trying to sell the historic Longfellow building.

Since the century-old building went on the market in December, Everett Public Schools has received just one letter of interest for the building, from a startup group called The HandUp Project, which sought to build a living center and life skills program for homeless adults.

“They did not really demonstrate that they had the financial capacity to purchase or to upgrade this building,” said Mike Gunn, the district’s executive director of facilities and operations. “Nor did they have the experience in upgrading or managing a facility of this size.”

The district had estimated the building and its 2.3 acre lot are worth between $1.1 million and $1.4 million, but that it would cost $7.8 million to renovate it and bring it up to code.*

Right now the district only uses the building for some storage, and lets the police and fire departments conduct training exercises inside it.

But even in that capacity, keeping the electricity and heat on and the security system operational, the building costs the district $78,000 per year, Gunn said.

Robert Smiley, the founder and chief executive of the HandUp Project, said the district’s assessment of the group’s qualifications was inaccurate, and thinks there might be resistance from the city to building a residence for the homeless in the current political environment.

“We think it’s something else other than the financial issue that’s the problem,” Smiley said.

Smiley also believes there is a misunderstanding of the role his planned facility would have. It would not be an addiction treatment center, he said, but would focus on a two-year sober residency program to help homeless people with housing, job placement and life skills.

“We are not a mission; we are not where people can come in off the street and hang out,” Smiley said.

He added that he’ll keep working on securing financing in the hopes of changing the district’s mind.

The district intended to raze the Longfellow building, which is located at 3715 Oakes Ave., and create additional parking for the nearby athletic fields.

In December, however, the Everett School Board heeded those who wanted to preserve the historic building, and gave the district four months to try and sell or lease the building.

That window has now closed, and the district will try to figure out what to do next.

“We have basically taken it off the market and we’re going to be doing some further evaluation of the condition of the building,” Gunn said.

He said the district would document the Longfellow building’s historic character and listen to anyone who would come forward with a a viable offer to buy or lease it.

The district is also in talks to sell its former building at 4730 Colby Ave. The likely buyer is the YMCA of Snohomish County, which is seeking a new home for its Everett facility.

Gunn wouldn’t comment about the talks, but said the district likely will present the board with an update on the Colby building at one of its May meetings.

The district has retained Long Bay Enterprises and Century Pacific as its agents in the sale of both buildings.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Correction, May 19, 2015: Everett School District’s Longfellow building sits on a 2.3-acre site and is estimated to be worth between $1.1 million and $1.4 million. The acreage and value were incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Work related to improvements at the intersection of Highways 9 and 204 will close a road and reduce lanes in Lake Stevens through Oct. 1. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

Lane reductions and closures are part of the work to improve the intersection at Highways 9 and 204.

Rebecca Haskins (Everett Police Department) 20210913
Missing Everett teenager located

Rebecca Haskins had last been seen the morning of Sept. 4. Police reported her found Wednesday.

Jeremy Fuerst (Northwest Washington Synod)
Everett pastor dies while mountain climbing in Colorado

Pastor Jeremy Fuerst, 44, came to Central Lutheran Church in 2015.

Sultan police looking for tips after rash of car prowls

On Sunday, the department responded to 20 reports at Sportsman Park and trailheads near Gold Bar.

Arlington man allegedly killed by son is identified

Nicholi Melum, 63, had an argument with his son, Garner, last week and was shot.

State Supreme Court to hear case of Edmonds gun-storage law

In February, an appeals panel said state law pre-empts the city from enacting its own firearm rules.

Exterior of the Van Valey House on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett giving nonprofit museum historic Van Valey House

The Everett City Council agreed to transfer ownership of the Colby Avenue home on Wednesday night.

In this Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 photo made available by SpaceX, from left, Chris Sembroski, Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux sit in the Dragon capsule at Cape Canaveral in Florida, during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming launch. The fully automated Dragon is the same kind that SpaceX uses to send astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA. But the chartered flight won't be going there. (SpaceX via AP)
Everett man launched into space for 3 days of orbiting Earth

Chris Sembroski and three others will soar 100 miles higher than the International Space Station.

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas is retiring at end of year, after -- years on the bench. The former Mariner High School student was its first ASB president, went to Harvard Law School, and as an undergrad majored in creative writing. Photographed at Snohomish County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Judge Eric Lucas, who broke barriers on bench, dies at 67

Lucas was the first Black judge elected to Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read