The Printery building to go up for auction
Public auction will begin on May 14
–The Printery, a registered historical landmark, is one of Atascadero’s earliest structures. The Printery was one of the first of the civic center buildings to be completed by EG Lewis and was home to the most successful publication of its time, The Illustrated Review. Throughout its long history, the building has served the local community in numerous capacities, including as part of the Moran Junior College, when an indoor swimming pool and gymnasium was added; a local Sheriff’s substation, the local Masonic Lodge, and as home to a photography studio, gymnastics school and numerous recreation and after-school programs.
In the early 2000’s, the building went through several property title changes including titles held by the Masons, the City of Atascadero and finally local developer Kelly Gearhart, where the building ended up in the Gearhart legal issues and as one of the numerous local properties included in bankruptcy status.
In 2003, the historic structure was severely damaged in the San Simeon earthquake and deemed unsafe. Due to the earthquake damage and the property’s ownership and legal status, it has since been unoccupied and over the years has fallen into serious disrepair.
Recently, a transient broke into the Printery building, lit a fire in the indoor pool area for warmth and then fell asleep. Luckily, damage to the structure from this event was minimal. However, in response to this incident and with the health and safety of the community at stake, the City of Atascadero had the legal ability to hire a local casualty company to board up the building in an effort to keep it and nearby residents secure from harm.
Due to unpaid back taxes, the San Luis Obispo County Tax Assessor’s Office will put the property up for auction and it is hoped that a new owner with sufficient resources can be found to restore the historic structure. It has been estimated that at a little over $1.3 million would be required to purchase the historic building, which includes the assessed value/land value and the total amount due in back taxes. Once purchase of the property has been accomplished, significant additional resources will be needed to accomplish building preservation activities and earthquake retrofitting of the structure.
The Atascadero Printery Foundation is a local, grassroots non-profit group that formed last year with the mission to “save the Printery.” Anyone interested in becoming a part of this nonprofit group should contact Karen McNamara at (805) 459-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An internet public auction for the Printery will begin at 8 a.m. on May 14. The property APN number is 029-331-003. Information on the bidding process can be found at slocounty.ca.gov/tax/taxsaleinfo/bidderinstructions.htm.
For additional information, call City Manager Rachelle Rickard at (805) 470-3400 or Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish at (805) 470-3490.