Central Washington University signs lease for former Mars Hill Church

Release Date: March 22, 2017

When the City Council voted unanimously in March of 2015 to purchase the old Mars Hill Church, the intent was to provide a generous space for an institution of higher education. At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, City Manager Lyman Howard and Central Washington University President James Gaudino signed a lease and operating agreement that calls for the following:

  • An initial lease of three years, with options for multiple 5-year extensions.
  • CWU will begin teaching college courses in Sammamish no later than September of this year.
  • CWU will pay for all tenant improvements and lease the building “as-is.”
  • CWU will have a right to purchase the building at a price that would recover all city investments in the building.
  • For the first three years of the lease, the annual base rent will be $60,000.
  • After three years, the base rent will rise a minimum of $60,000 annually.
  • If, in the third year, however, CWU’s yearly operating margin exceeds $500,000, the base rent going forward will rise $120,000 annually.

The signing took place shortly after the City Council voted to authorize the city manager to execute the agreement.

The city bought the two-story, 30,807-square-foot building and 22-acre parcel for $6.2 million. Since that purchase in 2015, the city has fielded a number of inquiries from interested buyers.

With three high schools (Eastlake, Eastside Catholic and Skyline) within walking distance of the building (120 228th Ave. N.E.), CWU’s Sammamish campus will be well positioned to provide “Running Start” classes, a program of college courses for high school students. It will also provide continuing education for adults, professional certifications, and coursework that leads to baccalaureate or master’s degrees.