Fate of old Fire Station 38 to be decided by City Council; public comment period begins

Now that the new Fire Station 38 (4004 NE 55th St) fully operational, it’s time to determine the fate of the old one (5503 33rd Ave NE).

Your new house?

From today’s press release (from the City of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services; emphasis mine):

With new facilities now in operation, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) will recommend to the City Council the sale of two historic former fire stations: Fire Station 37 in West Seattle and Fire Station 38 in Ravenna Bryant.

Proceeds from the sale of the two properties – through a competitive process for fair market value – would be returned to the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy Fund. The levy program includes land sale proceeds in its funding plan.

FAS has published its recommendation, and is collecting comments for 30 days.  FAS will then transmit its recommendation, based on the formal evaluation called for in Council Resolution 29799 and amended by Resolution 30862, to the Council. The City Council is expected to consider the future of the buildings as early as June.

If sold, the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy Fund (which paid for the new fire station’s construction) could be refilled to the tune of a million dollars — the property was appraised at just over a million dollars in 2009, according to King County property records.

The building itself was granted landmark status in 2004; therefore, changes in the structure are limited and the city’s Historic Preservation Program must be contacted prior. (Read the full Seattle Fire Station No. 38 Landmark Nomination Report (pdf; 26 pages!) for more information on the history of the Fire Station 38 and the surrounding neighborhood.)

Comments about the sale of old Fire Station 38 are due by May 18, and will be incorporated into documentation presented to the City Council. Send your comments to Rich Gholaghong via phone (684‐0701), by e‐mail (richard.gholaghong@seattle.gov) or by regular mail (Rich Gholaghong, FAS Real Estate Services, P.O. Box 94689, Seattle WA 98124‐4689).


At the FAS’s Real Estate Services’ homepage, a variety of documents detailing the sale recommendations and next steps are available. I have also linked to them here, for your convenience:


  1. I read through some of your links and couldn’t find an answer to a pertinent question. I am under the impression that the building is unreinforced masonry and therefore absolutely toast in a major earthquake. No way would I sleep in that building or send a child to daycare there without knowing that it would survive the big one.

    I only found a line that said it was built of concrete with stucco exterior. That sounds like unreinforced masonry to me, but I am not sure.

    • It was to be used as a bomb shelter in the 40’s and was decommisioned because of size not earthquake concerns. You would be lucky to be there in an earthquake.

  2. Greenwalksblog says:

    I love the old FS 38 and will miss it so much. I hope the city guidelines for preservation require that it keeps basically its same shape. What a cool house it would make, with the right architect to keep the essentials intact.

  3. It would make a cute little shop or some kinds or little food spot. There is plenty of parking on 55th street, and a little business would be far more quiet than a community center or childcare.

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