Back to Archives

Cheney Stadium traded, Lachey not part of deal

Tacoma swaps County City Building for Cheney Stadium

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

It’s not exactly a blockbuster — like, say, when the Cowboys traded running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings — but it’s a pretty big deal. On Tuesday, Dec. 9, the City of Tacoma agreed to swap sole ownership of the County City Building to Pierce County in exchange for sole ownership of Cheney Stadium.

Tacoma Rainers co-owner Nick Lachey is not believed to be involved in the deal — nor is any former member of 98 Degrees.

Rhubarb, however, may start accompanying Mayor Bill Baarsma to ribbon cutting events.

All joking aside, the move is one that’s sure to spark interest and questions from Tacoma’s citizenry. Usually kids trade baseball cards and kids from Wazzu trade STDs. A city trading a building to a county for a minor league baseball stadium is a whole new, er, ballgame.

Here’s the deal: Since the 1950s, when it opened, the City of Tacoma has owned a 44 percent share of the County City Building — which was once home to a bunch of City of Tacoma offices. Over time, use of the City County Building has swung in favor of the County — though Tacoma has maintained its 44 percent ownership. This 44 percent ownership — thanks to a contract that runs through 2054 — doesn’t allow Tacoma to do anything with the building (which has an estimated value of roughly $115 million) except sit and continue to pay for 25 percent of the maintenance costs. Though the City of Tacoma currently only occupies 7 percent of the City County Building, those maintenance costs, according to City Manager Eric Anderson, come out to anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million every biennium. 

“We have part ownership in a building we don’t use,” says Anderson of the situation prior to the completion of this trade — expected to be finalized by the end of the year. “It’s just not sensible.”

Pierce County, on the other hand — which now occupies a large portion of the City County Building, and is struggling with ownership of a minor league baseball stadium in need of $26 million worth of upgrades — also saw a benefit in the swap. By sending Cheney Stadium and $2 million to Tacoma for of the City County Building, not only did Pierce County get out from behind the Cheney Stadium upgrades eight ball, but it secured ownership of a prominent building in downtown Tacoma that it has already made its home.

In essence, the deal is a win/win for both parties — at least until Rhubarb blows out an ACL and fails to live up to expectations.

For Anderson, one of the main reasons this deal was intriguing was the chance to keep the Rainers in Tacoma, which, it would seem, will require the aforementioned $26 million in upgrades — money Tacoma hopes to obtain through help from the state and private funding. The Rainers are currently tied to Tacoma by a two-year contract.

“These are difficult times, at best,” says Anderson of the current economic climate that will no doubt play a large role in whether Tacoma is able to come up with the cash needed to upgrade Cheney. “We’re very interested in running Cheney Stadium. Hopefully, we’ll be able to rebuild (Cheney) into a first class stadium, and keep the Rainers here for a long, long time. We certainly need to move forward as soon as possible. We’ve already started.”

comments powered by Disqus