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Weyerhaeuser mansion sold to nonprofit for nearly $5.9 million

Tribune News Service

The Weyerhaeuser mansion in Tacoma’s North End has been sold for nearly $5.9 million to a nonprofit that announced the Tacoma Waldorf School will occupy the education building on the grounds.

Sale of the iconic estate at 4301 N. Stevens St. closed Monday with Trouve, a Lakewood-based nonprofit created last year, according to Pierce County and state records.

State records show the nonprofit is registered to Douglas Gill. In a statement he sent Tuesday, the nonprofit said, “We look forward to working with other nonprofits and community groups to help restore the property to its original grandeur.”

The 5.1-acre property includes several buildings:

- The Jacobean-Tudor mansion, built in 1923, has four levels totaling 15,600 square feet.

- A two-level education building, with space fitted with classrooms, totals 16,200 square feet.

- A carriage house, with two apartments, has three levels and 6,800 square feet.

- A chapel, at 5,800 square feet, contains an apartment and two meeting rooms as well as a sanctuary.

Chanin Escovedo, dean of students for the Tacoma Waldorf School, said Tuesday she hopes the school can move into the education building over winter break.

“It’s our dream spot,” she said. “We are super excited.”

Before the school can move onto the property the classroom space needs several improvements, including sprinklers, she said.

Nearly 70 students through fifth grade attend the school, and with the move to the Weyerhaeuser property, Escovedo said she’d like to see that grow to 100.

She said the school aims to add a grade of students each year it resides on the property, through eighth grade.

The city is reviewing permits needed for changes in the property.

After that, neighbors will have a chance to chime in on the school’s plans. In the past, residents have complained about bawdy behavior by party goers who used the Weyerhaeuser mansion for special events.

For the next 18 months, Gill said, the property will be under historic renovation. After that, a use will be decided for the buildings other than the one occupied by the Waldorf School.

State records indicate Trouve’s purpose is to provide drug and alcohol rehabilitation for veterans. However, via email Gill said the Weyerhaeuser property will not be used for that.

“I can assure you the property will not be used for drug and alcohol rehabilitation at all,” he wrote.

Trouve intends to restore the property’s greenhouse and work with a local nonprofit that helps adults with disabilities, Gill wrote in an email.

Trouve might consider allowing other nonprofits to use the site as well. Gill said Trouve will reach out to other local charities within 60 to 90 days.

Architectural historian Michael Sullivan said the mansion is in good shape, but likely will need aesthetic changes to bring it up to date.

“The paint selections are really bad,” Sullivan said. “There are light fixtures that are not original” and they last were updated likely in the 1960s or 1970s. “If someone wanted to trick it out and do a restoration, there’s plenty to do.”

Beginning life as a private residence in 1923, the estate has served as a novitiate for the Sisters of St. Dominic. The Northwest Baptist Seminary bought the home in 1974 for $250,000 from the nuns, according to News Tribune archives.

Salem, Oregon-based Corban University later bought the property and ran a divinity school from the grounds.

In 2011, the mansion was listed for a high of $6.4 million. The estate had twice before been under sales contracts, but both had lapsed.

In recent years, Corban leased the property to Blue Ribbon Cooking School of Seattle, which rented the grounds for weddings and other events.

Corban has listed the property for sale several times in the last few years. Most recently, the Weyerhaeuser mansion and its buildings were for sale for $5.5 million.

“This sale of the Weyerhaeuser mansion is the final step in the merger between Northwest Baptist Seminary and Corban University,” according to a news release from the sellers agent, Hancock Real Estate in Salem, Oregon.

The mansion is among dozens of homes sold in the county so far that eclipse the $1 million mark. Earlier this year, million-dollar-plus homes were selling at a faster clip than in any year the previous decade.

Until now the most expensive property sold in the county this year was a nearly $2.4 million home on 4.2 acres of waterfront property in Gig Harbor. Through August dozens of million-dollar plus homes have sold in Pierce County, nearing a record of 86 such homes sold in a single year in 2007.

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