After years of weighing the costs, Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., has opted not to restore the nearby St. Edward State Park seminary building. The school had been exploring the possibility of converting the huge but decaying Romanesque Revival building into classrooms and dorms.
“I know there was a lot of optimism and a lot of hope that a deal would come through from all sides but, as we looked further into the reality of this project, it just wasn’t going to work for us,” university spokesman Derek Wing told the Seattle Times.
As a result, the property currently has no potential investors, including Washington State Parks. The state can’t afford a renovation that could cost millions, according to the State Parks Commission, which voted in September to wait another year for a private investor.
If the state decides to permanently vacate the building, it would mean closing it up and not allowing access inside, according to State Parks Commission spokeswoman Virginia Painter. It might also mean that the state would no longer spend money on measures that would help preserve its interior, including about $100,000 a year to heat the building.
The Catholic Diocese of Seattle donated the seminary and 316 acres of Lake Washington shoreline property to the state in 1977. At one point, the state had a viable investor. Temporal Defense Systems, a company with ties to the Department of Defense, was initially willing to spend as much as $40 million to turn the seminary into offices for its expanding cybersecurity operations last year. The company wanted its name to be kept confidential, and the negations were thwarted after the state disclosed its name.