Seattle will spend about $8 million to buy and prepare a site in Northgate for the construction of a new fire station. The City Council voted Monday to allocate the money and authorize the purchase.
The new Fire Station 31 will replace an existing station at 1319 N. Northgate Way that shut down in June due to concerns about conditions there, including mold. Firefighters had nicknamed the old station “Cancer House,” because many who worked there were diagnosed with cancer. The new site is at 11302 Meridian Ave. N., about two blocks away, and is mostly vacant.
The existing Station 31, built in 1973, was subjected to environmental testing multiple times over the years, with inconclusive results. Mayor Jenny Durkan announced in October the city would construct a new station at another location rather than undertake a renovation, citing mold and other problems.
The council passed three bills Monday. The first authorized the purchase of the new property for up to $4.5 million. The second allocated about $8 million for the purchase, plus demolition, remediation and related work at the site.
The second bill also authorized an $8 million loan from the city’s Construction and Inspections Fund to cover the costs. The loan will be paid back next year with a bond sale backed by real estate excise tax revenue. The projected cost to design and construct the new Station 31 is about $43 million.
The third bill passed Monday authorizes the city to lease the parking lot of Epic Life Church at 10503 Interlake Ave. N. to serve as an interim Station 31. Seattle will pay the church $10,000 a month for five years, and firefighters will work out of a temporary structure. The city previously allocated $2 million for the interim site.
Since last June, Station 31 firefighters have been working out of other North Seattle fire stations. Response times slowed in the months after they moved.