Former city hall site's sale official

Firstenburg brother pays Vancouver Public Schools $2M; plans for building unknown

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

The former Vancouver City Hall building in downtown officially sold on Monday for slightly more than $2 million to local businessmen and brothers, William Firstenburg and Bruce Firstenburg.

But questions remain over what the Firstenburgs — who also are members of the family that owned the former First Independent Bank -- plan for the 1960s-era city hall building at 210 E. 13th St. They purchased the building under the corporate name Northwest Property Resources LLC from Vancouver Public Schools, which has long held the land underneath the structure. The property and the building reverted back to district ownership when city staff vacated the building in 2011.

Phone calls to Northwest Property Resources were not returned Monday.

School officials at one time considered retrofitting the building to use for classroom or administrative purposes. The idea was discarded after district officials evaluated the cost of renovating the facility, which includes on-site parking built into the structure for about 100 vehicles.

The building and its one-block site had an assessed value of $4.1 million for 2012 property taxes, according to the Clark County Department of Assessment. But school officials did not expect to sell the site for its assessed value, a number reserved for property taxes.

District officials commissioned a fair market appraisal for the site prior to listing it for $1.85 million, said Todd Horenstein, the district's assistant superintendent. The market appraisal valued the site at between $1.7 million and $1.85 million. Its sale - coming in at $2.01 million - was $160,000 above the list price.

"We achieved what we anticipated and what we intended," he said. "We're very happy with that."

In addition to its on-site parking, the building's location in the second block west of Interstate 5's exit on East Mill Plain Boulevard also is considered desirable, according to commercial real estate experts.

The sale was brokered by Charlie Kleier, a principal with the Vancouver office of NAI Norris Beggs & Simpson.

Editor's note: This story has been modified to reflect a clarification. While the property had an assessed value of $4.1 million, it was appraised to sell on the market for between $1.7 million and $1.85 million, according to district officials.