EVERETT — The YMCA of Snohomish County has agreed to buy the Everett school district’s former administration building at 4730 Colby Avenue.
The youth organization is offering to pay $3.325 million for the 8.1-acre parcel, which includes the 51-year-old main building and two portable buildings.
All the buildings would likely be torn down and replaced with a new YMCA, which will replace the organization’s nearly 100-year-old facility in downtown Everett.
YMCA CEO Scott Washburn said that if the deal closed, construction of a new facility would likely be three or four years away.
The YMCA estimates a new building will cost at least $25 million to build.
The nonprofit is in the middle of a capital campaign, with about $3 million raised so far from a small number of donors. It plans to raise about $10.5 million and fund the remainder of the building with loans and some existing assets.
The full purchase price for the Colby building will be due when the deal closes, which could take several months.
But the YMCA’s cash position is strong, with $9.3 million on the books at the end of 2014.
“We can write that check,” Washburn said.
The district decided to sell the Colby building and also its historic Longfellow building last year. In January, the district issued a request for letters of interest.
The district estimated the Colby building and its lot are worth between $2.2 million and $3.9 million.
There were six offers for Colby, ranging from $1.1 million to $3 million.
The Longfellow building only drew one offer, which was not considered to be viable.
Aside from the YMCA, which made the top offer, other offers came from developers seeking to subdivide the lot and build single-family residential housing, in one case for seniors only.
Everett Public Schools Superintendent Gary Cohn said the price was the primary factor in selecting the YMCA, although they did want to sell to something that would benefit the community.
“We were hoping that whatever came to us in this process would be something that would be of value and make neighbors happy,” he said.
The YMCA’s initial $3 million offer included a clause to consider a price up to 5 percent above the highest qualified competing final offer.
“It was that big of a priority for us,” Washburn said.
The district made counteroffers to the YMCA and Natural 9 Holdings LLC, a Lake Stevens-based developer that made the second-highest bid of $2.95 million. Natural 9 agreed to $3.3 million and the YMCA agreed to the final purchase price of $3.32 million.
The Everett School Board will be asked at its May 26 meeting to approve the negotiation of the purchase and sale agreement.
It will likely take several months to close the deal.
The YMCA’s aging downtown facility has 3,600 members, the smallest number of any YMCA in Snohomish County. Moving to the Colby building could increase the membership by about 15 percent, just by being closer to the geographic center of the city, Washburn said.
Because the old YMCA has no elevator, about 30 percent to 40 percent of the 100,000-square-foot facility is only used for storage.
The new YMCA would include an aquatic center, a youth and teen center for after-school and weekend programs, a gymnasium, a drop-in center for infants and children up to age 10, community rooms and fitness studios.
It might have smaller square footage, but it would be more accessible and the large lot will allow potential future expansion.
Plus, it’ll be new.
“It’s going to be more energy-efficient, we won’t have the same repair issues, it’ll be a smarter investment of our resource dollars,” Washburn said.
Throughout the process of negotiating and selling the building, School Board member Ted Wenta has recused himself from all discussions and decisions because he works as the vice president of operations for the YMCA.
Cohn, who also sits on the board of trustees for YMCA, took an extended leave of absence from that board while the sale process developed.
“I haven’t attended a board meeting for a year or so,” Cohn said.