Ellensburg says investment in Geddis Building paying off

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Ellensburg took a risk it now believes has the chance for a big payoff. The city spent more than a million dollars on a historic, but rundown building hoping to help revitalize downtown. It's now been a year and a half since that investment. Things are turning around.

Megan West says her clothing boutique is doing well in its new location. She's one of three new renters in the historic Geddis building.

"I feel like this block has totally lit up in the last couple months," said Megan.

Ellensburg City Council says Megan's story is why the city bought the building. Almost a million and a half dollars later, including renovations like new heating and air conditioning, Ellensburg is collecting rent from four tenants.

Megan did some more work on her own.

"It was a hassle just cause it did take a full week and a lot of trips to the dump, but to have the creative freedom, it was worth the time and money well spent just so we could make the space exactly what we wanted it," said Megan.

Now, Ellensburg wants to sell the building. The city hopes potential buyers will like the idea of having control over major renovations.

City Council Member Bruce Tabb thinks it should attract buyers. Especially with more than a dozen applications from people trying to rent three remaining spaces.

"The worry is much less now that we know the building is cash flowing positively," said Tabb.

Ellensburg financed the building by taking out a loan from the public works department, and needs to pay-off the loan in three years. Three possible buyers have expressed interest. But, Ellensburg leaders say they won't be forced into making a deal to pay-off the loan in time.

They point to the Geddis as a success story for revitalizing downtown.

Ellensburg is also renting some apartments in the Geddis Building.

The asking price of the building will be determined in a few weeks.