Rumors have been swirling for weeks that the building located at 308 West Stewart in downtown Puyallup was going to be turned into a parking lot for Sound Transit riders.
And Puyallup residents gather at local coffee houses daily and more than once the subject comes up: “What in the world are they doing with the building on Stewart?”
The lot isn’t going to Sound Transit, says co-owner Jan van Halder, who admitted the use of the building on the corner lot of 5th St. NW has been the best kept secret in Puyallup.
“We get asked at least twice a day about that,” he joked.
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Jan and his brother occupied the building from 1995 to 2005 for use as a wholesale distribution company, and Del’s Feed Store leased it from 2005 until 2014 when it moved to a different location.
Now the van Halder brothers are busy refurbishing the building.
A recent sunny day found Jan buzzing around the property on a forklift. He is a hands-on owner.
“We have stripped the building back down to the bare bones and will completely renovate it from the floor up,” he said. “Only the columns and roof were left standing.”
When the renovation is complete, 7,500 square feet will consist of office space with conference meeting rooms. The former dock portion, which consists of 5,660 square feet, will be warehouse space.
The van Halders are working with a possible occupant who might be interested in renting the space, but nothing is firm yet.
According to van Halder, the building will most likely house a single occupant, but he said would be possible to sub-divide it into three spaces.
Ray Cockerham, of the city of Puyallup’s Building Department, said the city is working with the owners.
“Working with the city of Puyallup has been nothing short of perfect,” van Halder said. “They have been extremely supportive. The hardest part is done and we are at a turning point now.”
However, there have been a few bumps along the way.
Pointing to the building, van Halder said, “She reveals her secrets, but we’ve been able to get past the hurdles.”
The brothers enjoy working on the project and van Halder feels it is important for him to be on site every day.
“We want to get it completed within a reasonable budget,” he said.