Call it a diamond in the rough.
Call it a hidden gem.
Call it a starter multi-use center.
The old Rogers Elementary School on McKinley Hill is all that. And now it’s a bargain.
The stately school with the territorial view of the mountain and the port, has been on the market over a year. Now it’s had its asking price reduced to $1,995,000, a bargain for a building with a new roof, not to mention a playground, auditorium, parking lot and commercial kitchen. And did we mention the dog park across the street?
It has one other big plus: Neighbors to want to see it transformed into a successful, even profitable, asset to the community
Those same neighbors objected to a church proposal to turn it into a service center for homeless people. The church bought the building at 1301 E. 34th St. from Tacoma School District for $1.6 million in 2007. Though it’s convenient to McKinley Hill business district, it’s a hike to bus lines, and the hillside below it would attract encampments.
Members of the church and the community worked their way through the disagreement, to the credit of both sides. Now the church is hoping to recoup its investment.
Members of DomeTop Neighborhood Alliance, which led the resistance to the social services center, have said they’d like to see the building converted to condos, or perhaps to a multi-use center with homes, a restaurant, possibly even a specialty grocery store.
Anyone interested in plunking down the earnest money should have a chat with the neighbors. They can be valuable allies, or formidable opponents.