Trust sees Academy restoration as financially viable project
o What: The Fort Vancouver National Trust has launched a $16 million campaign to raise money to purchase the historic Academy for $10.6 million, with the balance of funding to start work on the project.o To donate or share memories of the site: http://academycampaign.org/community/academy-alumni.The journey back to Vancouver’s roots continues in preservation work for its wealth of historic structures.Despite the weak economy, high demand for the niche-market space has fueled work to restore and maintain the nineteenth-century West Barracks’ buildings and stately Officers Row mansions, said Elson Strahan, president and chief executive officer of the Fort Vancouver National Trust, which manages the city owned properties at the Fort’s historic site. Tenant lease payments help the trust preserve the structures and launch new capital projects, such as replacing nine roofs on Officers Row this year.Next up is the venerable Academy building, across I-5 west of the Fort Vancouver Historic Site. The trust signed an agreement in May to purchase the site for $10.6 million from the Hidden family, owners since 1969. It is now raising funds, preparing for initial renovations and planning work for the site at 400 E. Evergreen Blvd.The Fort Vancouver historic site’s popular public, office and residential space altogether generate a net profit of between $300,000 and $400,000 annually. That money is plowed back into capital improvements by the nonprofit trust, which holds the master lease on more than 100,000 square feet of historically preserved office space and more than a dozen residential units owned by the city at the Fort Vancouver National Historic site.Unlike a private property owner, the nonprofit trust can also use the money to leverage government grants to help maintain the historic aesthetics and upkeep of the structures.