Politics & Government

Olympia buildings on the market?

Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed capital budget would spend about $2.1 billion and includes a bond issue of up to $900 million. Gregoire says she wants to sell off about 17 properties, potentially raising $86 million.

Among those are the “market buildings” that the Department of Fish and Wildlife owns near the Olympia Farmers Market on three pieces of land. The properties are at:

 • 600 Capitol Way N., valued at $2.28 million.

 • 516 Washington St. N.E., valued at $1.45 million.

 • 608 Washington St. N.E., valued at $735,700.

Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, said a study of the properties’ best uses is under way. Options include an outright sale or development.

“A major option being looked at is the City of Olympia could take charge of developing it and the state and city would share” in revenues, Fraser said. “The question is what’s the most practical and useful way to maximize return to the taxpayers for that investment. The property is certainly very under-utilized right now. It could be an asset to the area.”

No timeline for disposal of the property is set, according to Glenn Kuper of the governor’s Office of Financial Management. But Gregoire’s proposal still needs approval by the Legislature.

One other state property in Olympia also is on the list: the Department of Personnel building at 600 Franklin St., which once housed a Sears store. It is valued at $1.7 million, and Personnel is vacating to move all of its nearly 200 staffers into the new Department of Information Services building.

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