The federal government has quietly put up a FOR SALE sign in Auburn.
This week, the General Services Administration announced it will “dispose” of the 129-acre complex south of downtown. It has held the land for decades, was used by the Army, and as storage during in World War II.
The GSA says it is part of a larger strategy to evaluate underutilized assets and could take two to four years to fully execute.
However, Auburn’s mayor says the time is now.
“That's just something that's game changing for us,” said Nancy Backus, who has been pushing for a sale for years. “We’re thinking it is going to be a really good once in a lifetime opportunity for us.”
The spot is bigger than Seattle’s Volunteer Park, for example, and close to the Auburn Outlet Collection of stores. It is also within easy walking of downtown. Backus also says the land’s tax windfalls, once in different hands, could be big.
“Right now it’s not on the tax rolls,” as Federal land, she said, “So that’s a significant chunk of land to not have any type of benefit for the City of Auburn, but still need to be maintained.”
Auburn’s City Council already rezoned the land in preparation for a sale.
Josef Forsberg, who owns Busted Bike Café and the Green River Cyclery in downtown, is excited about the possibilities.
“Five to 10 years ago, there were lots of empty spaces, lots of empty units,” said Forsberg. “A lot of it has to do with the transit center here.”
He says the potential for a major development to the south would also be good.
“We need the growth in Auburn for us to have a striving downtown area,” he said. “I would hope that would be good for us.”