This transaction supported the preservation and substantial renovation of Firehouse 23, a two-story, 11,000 sq. ft. former fire station in the Central District neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The project is vital to preserving Firehouse 23 as the long-term home for Byrd Barr Place, a Black-led, nonprofit organization with a 56-year history of providing safety-net services for low-income persons, and effective advocacy to combat racial inequity and spur community-driven solutions. BBP serves approximately 15,000 low-income individuals annually, primarily people of color.
This project will allow BBP to serve 30% more clients, or 4,500 additional low-income households. Firehouse 23 was built in 1908. BBP leased the building from the City in February 1968, after its previous office in the Central District was firebombed during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The City then contributed the property to BBP in October 2020. The building’s water, electrical, HVAC and structural systems have outlived their useful life, and some are failing. Since the late 1960s acceptable standards for public buildings have changed substantially to address accessibility, energy efficiency, technology improvements and, most recently, seismic safety. Maintenance on Firehouse 23 has simply not kept up. A substantial renovation of the building is essential to preserve this historic and cultural anchor for the Central District community and allow BBP to continue to provide vital services to low-income community residents.