WWU completes sale of historic Armory building

Curt O’Connor and Pete Dawson have complete their purchase of the Armory building from the Western Washington University Foundation.

The $1.5 million sale includes 1.3 acres of property, including the historic 60,000-square-foot Armory building.

“Our objective is to preserve this iconic structure and ideally repurpose it in a way that will provide public benefit,” O’Connor said, in a press release.

The new ownership team will work with RMC Architects and local real estate professional David Johnston to explore how best to take advantage of the building’s assets, which includes the Chuckanut sandstone facade, heavy timber roof beams and bay views.

O’Connor owns a real estate investment firm and Dawson is president of Dawson Construction.

The Armory building was built in 1910 as a site for military training. It is located on North State Street in Bellingham, just a few blocks from the Western campus. Both the National Guard and Army Reserve used the facility until 1953. Then from 1953 to 1989, the main floor was used as roller rink, until water damage forced it to close.

Western acquired the property in 1972 and, in addition to allowing the roller rink to continue, used the building for storage and to house the Theatre Arts Department prop, scene and costume shop.

In 2016, Western transferred the property to the WWU Foundation so the foundation could find a qualified buyer to put the building to more use.

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