State Might Lose Desired Training Site

Seattle Times/April 19, 1990
By Linda W.Y. Parrish

Burien -- The state might have $16 million to turn an old church campus into a police training center, but that's no guarantee the state will get the center now that the property has changed ownership.

Equitable Capital Group, an investment company owned by local developer Tom Dantzler and Taiwanese businessman Long Lin, bought the old Community Chapel and Bible Training Center at First Avenue South and South 192nd Street in Burien last Friday for more than $8 million.

Church officials had verbally agreed to sell the 35.8-acre site to the state for $10.7 million, but decided it couldn't wait for government action because of outstanding mortgage and upkeep costs, according to Paul Chiles, a former Coldwell Banker real estate broker who represented the church in the sale.

The church, which has been involved in unrelated legal suits for the past three years, has been boarded up since last summer.

Al Morgan, supervising agent for the state's division of properties and development, said the new owner is interested in negotiating a sale of the property to the state. The state will make a final offer after it appraises the buildings and runs environmental tests.

The $10.7 million price tag is about right, according to Chiles, but several other investors have shown an interest in the campus also. And, if the state doesn't act fast enough, someone else could buy the property, he said. Dantzler could not be reached for comment.

The state has budgeted $10.7 million to buy the campus and $6 million for reconstruction. Morgan said he doesn't know how much the state will offer until after the appraisal and tests are completed, which could be by mid-May.

Although government tends to take longer to secure the money and put together an offer, one advantage the state has over other interested buyers is that ``we can put cash on the barrel head,'' Morgan said.

The state began a search for a new location for its Criminal Justice Training Center last year because it is growing out of its current facility - the former Glacier High School in Riverton Heights. Most law-enforcement recruits are trained there.

If it can't purchase the Community Chapel site, the state will have to look elsewhere but there has been no indication that would happen, Morgan said.

The chapel, which will keep an eight-acre campus bordering Eighth Avenue South, put its other property on the market after a controversial lawsuit was settled about a year ago.

Three lawsuits have been filed against former Pastor Donald Barnett and the Community Chapel, alleging sexual misconduct. In one suit, filed in 1986 in King County Superior Court, three women members claimed Barnett sexually assaulted them as a form of spiritual counseling. The suit was settled out of court.

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