Sound Transit wants to tear down the Puyallup Eagles lodge to build a parking garage for Sounder train commuters, and it has gone to court in an effort to do so.
The agency filed a petition in Pierce County Superior Court last week asking for an order that would give Sound Transit the title to the property at 202 Fifth Street Northwest, which is home to Eagles Aerie No. 2308.
“That is the start of the condemnation process,” Sound Transit spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham said Tuesday about the July 20 filing. “Sound Transit has been in discussions with the Eagles for many, many months to come to an agreement, and, unfortunately, that hasn’t been fruitful.”
Alan Whipple, head of the Eagles relocation committee, said the legal action is a way to “re-fire” negotiations.
Sound Transit started talking with the Eagles about the project in 2014, and formal negotiations over the value of the property and how much the Eagles would be reimbursed for the cost of relocating started last summer, Cunningham said.
Those talks will keep going throughout the court process, which gives Sound Transit a way to move ahead if an agreement with the Eagles isn’t reached.
The petition asks that the court find the property is necessary for the project, schedule a trial to set a price for it, and order that Sound Transit get the title once it pays.
“Sound Transit may acquire property rights for the Puyallup Station Improvements Project from you through negotiation, or Sound Transit may use its powers of eminent domain to condemn the necessary property if we are unable to reach a voluntary agreement with you,” the agency wrote the Eagles in May 2016.
The $60 million project includes the 500-stall garage for Sounder train commuters, 166 surface parking stalls and a pedestrian bridge from the new garage to the Sounder platform.
Sound Transit hopes to open the garage by 2021. Officials have said it is an important addition to the busy Puyallup Sounder station.
Whipple said the Eagles hope to stay in the Puyallup Valley but haven’t yet found a new home.
“We have looked at many places around town,” he said. “It’s just not a great market right now.”