Northwest News

Old City Hall purchase announced just days ago, but sale in works for months, documents show

The Tacoma City Council is poised to vote Tuesday (June 2) on whether to buy Old City Hall, a 122-year-old Tacoma landmark, for $4 million.

Most people only heard about the deal last week, five days before the City Council meeting. But the sale has been in the works for months. Tacoma officials had the building appraised in March and have since worked to buy Old City Hall from current owner The Stratford Co. and its principal George Webb.

Here is a list of events based on documents provided by the city since the purchase was announced.

Jan. 20: A feasibility analysis of potential office uses for Old City Hall shows several difficult paths toward profitability in the first decade.

March 3: City of Tacoma pays for an appraisal for Old City Hall, which says the building is worth $1.6 million.

May 17: Stratford’s Webb signs what city officials say is a draft purchase and sale agreement. The agreement envisions the city of Tacoma paying $200,000 of earnest money toward the eventual purchase of Old City Hall.

This document also ensures that nobody else can swoop in and buy Old City Hall before Tacoma’s council has a chance to weigh in on the purchase. The city’s money would be refunded if the council doesn’t approve of the deal, the agreement states. “We’re still analyzing it,” Ricardo Noguera, the city’s economic development director, said Tuesday afternoon. “It’ll be cleaned up in a couple of days.”

May 28: City of Tacoma announces it will consider buying Old City Hall in an after-hours email.

June 2: Tacoma City Council to consider buying Old City Hall.

June 19: Date when the city and property owner will close on Old City Hall if the City Council approves the purchase, according to the draft purchase and sale agreement. Noguera said the final agreement won’t be signed unless the council approves it, and the closing date would be 30 days after that.