In Groundbreaking Partnership, Deal Finalized to Preserve and Invest in Historic Astoria Armory

By: Craft3 Staff - Dec 03, 2018
Source: Press Release

Improvements will allow Armory, opened in 1942, to once-again accommodate large-scale events and concerts

Friends of the Astoria Armory (Friends), nonprofit lender Craft3, and the City of Astoria have finalized a deal to preserve and invest in the historic armory in Astoria, Oregon. Under the agreement, Craft3 – which has owned the Armory since June 2014 – will loan Friends $550,000 to purchase the Armory at-cost and renovate the facility to accommodate large-scale events and concerts. The transaction will be partially guaranteed by the City of Astoria.                                                    

“The Armory already provides a wide array of needed community programs and services, thanks in large part to our dedicated volunteers’ tireless efforts,” said Mike Davies, Chair of Friends of the Astoria Armory. “With Craft3’s help, we can now tap the full potential of this extraordinary, historic building to contribute to Astoria’s economic development and quality of life.”

In 2013, the City of Astoria wanted to acquire the parking lot adjacent to the Armory to support U.S. Coast Guard use of the 17th Street Dock and protect their recent investment rebuilding it. The Armory and the parking lot were both owned by the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and the Museum did not want to sell the two parcels separately. The City had no need, desire, or funding available to acquire the Armory building itself and, at the time, there was no other organization fully-prepared to purchase and operate the Armory for the community’s benefit. So, Craft3 – recognizing the value of returning the asset to productive community use – temporarily stepped in. Craft3 purchased the Armory, allowing the Friends to first focus on operating the facility, with the goal of eventually transitioning ownership.

“The Armory is an example of collaborative problem-solving. Returning this asset to the people of Astoria is the result of a strong community movement with active City leadership and a capital partner that was willing to take a risk when community benefits were the reward,” said Adam Zimmerman, President and CEO of Craft3. “We are following our path of 20-plus years of community-building investments in Astoria."

In addition to allowing the Friends to purchase the building, the Craft3 loan will help to finance a new exit staircase, improved mechanical systems, and modernization of the sound system, lobby, windows, and bathrooms. Construction on those improvements will begin shortly.

“The Armory is a strategic and important community asset for Astorians of all ages,” said Brett Estes, City Manager for Astoria. “We hope that the Friends’ investment in the Armory spurs additional renewal of historic assets in Astoria’s growing cultural district. The Friends, Craft3, and the City are unified in our desire to make the Armory a cornerstone of our city and community. We are thrilled with this partnership.”

Separately, Craft3 provided the Friends with a $45,000 pass-through grant from the Northwest Area Foundation. The grant provided the permanent working capital needed to sustain a new position at the Friends. The new position will focus on developing and executing a marketing/fundraising plan and create an ongoing concert rotation at the Armory.
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