A former Eau Claire fire station could become a small used car dealership and auto detailing business on the city’s east side.
On Tuesday the City Council decided to sell its old Fire Station No. 10, 559 N. Hastings Way, to SVEE Metalworks. That company plans to move its Outlaw Auto Sales, 2204 Seventh St., into the vacant firehouse and also start a new auto detailing business inside the building.
A 8-0 vote of the council — Councilmen David Klinkhammer and Andrew Werthmann were absent and one seat remains vacant until April’s election — approved selling the building and land it sits on for $225,000.
Council President Terry Weld said he’s pleased with the offer the city received after the building has sat empty since mid-2018.
“We’ve had that property out there for quite a while,” he said.
The offer was lower than the $365,000 that an appraiser valued the fire station at in 2017, but the city has since learned that there is asbestos in the building.
Weld said the offer below the city’s asking price was considered knowing that the new owner will have the expense of removing the asbestos.
The sale is scheduled to close by May 29 when SVEE must pay the $225,000 purchase price to take ownership. Prior to that, the buyer can conduct inspections and additional testing of the property.
The business did not provide the city with a timeline for when it intends to make improvements to the building and relocate its dealership there.
Another auto body shop had also proposed an offer for the building, but only sought to pay $20,100.
This is the second attempt to convert the old fire station into a new use. Valley Media Works agreed in October 2018 to buy the building for $365,000 to create a TV studio, radio studio, classroom space and offices for its community programming. However, that deal fell through when the organization was unable to raise the funds necessary to make it happen.
Built in 1949 at the busy corner of North Hastings Way and Birch Street, the old fire station was vacated after the city opened a new one nearby at 820 Malden Ave.
Also during Tuesday’s council meeting:
• About $2 million in roadwork and underground utility replacement on Oxford Avenue and Maxon Street in the city’s Cannery District was approved in an 8-0 council vote. The construction may happen later this year or could take place in 2021, according to city engineer David Solberg.
• The city’s Renewable Energy Action Plan — a document creating a roadmap for getting the community to the goals of running on carbon-neutral, renewable energy by 2050 — was approved in an 8-0 council vote.
• Sending a message to state officials that the city wants an Amtrak shuttle bus between Eau Claire and the train station in Tomah was approved in an 8-0 council vote.