Monday, June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021

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Vancouver City Council agrees to sell old Fire Station 1

Hi-School Pharmacy owners purchase 1968-era facility for HQ expansion

By , Columbian staff writer

The Vancouver City Council finally offloaded a 53-year-old asset Monday evening when the council agreed to sell the original Fire Station 1 property for $1.255 million.

Josh Oliva, whose family owns Hi-School Pharmacy, purchased the building after three years of negotiations. He told The Columbian in December that the company planned to extend its neighboring headquarters into the property and lease out the remainder of the building as flexible office space.

The former Fire Station 1 was built in 1968, declared surplus in 2015 and decommissioned in 2018. It’s just west of downtown at 900 W. Evergreen Blvd. and includes a 14,500-square-foot building sitting on 0.88 acre.

A new Fire Station 1 — at the corner of Fourth Plain Boulevard and Main Street — opened in 2018.

Linda Carlson, Vancouver’s property management specialist, told the city council at the Monday meeting that profits from the sale will go into a reserve fund used for updates to fire stations in the future. Selling the vacant building will help “facilitate the opportunity of adaptive reuse of this site,” she said.

Oliva has previously stated that he plans to use a portion of the old fire station property to expand Hi-School Pharmacy’s existing headquarters, which has occupied the adjacent lot for 45 years.

The company also intends to renovate and rent out most of the space to other companies looking to lease an office, Oliva said. He added he hopes the project will energize some untapped potential in the industrial area directly west of downtown, which is home to the Port of Vancouver.

“I think it has potential to attract tenants looking for creative office/flex space that’s not currently available in other areas of downtown. Plus, the area has the benefit of more available street parking,” he said.

“Buying the fire station is key to our overall vision for reinvigorating the area. It’s fallen into disrepair over the years, and we plan to make a significant investment in the property,” Oliva continued. “The buildings are older, but I think with a little bit of love, they can be something (where) people would want to lease space.”

According to documents reviewed Monday by the city council, the property’s value was assessed at $1.425 million in July 2020 but adjusted downward after further review from an appraiser found asbestos and roof damage.

The motion passed by a unanimous vote, with little discussion among city councilors. Nobody testified in the public hearing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oliva promises to invest at least $300,000 worth of improvements into the site over the course of the next 18 months. Failure to meet that benchmark would trigger Vancouver’s right to repurchase the site.

The deal is expected to close no later than May 15, Carlson said.