Playspace building back on the market after attempt to create teen center

Vashon Youth & Family Services’ Playspace building is back on the market after an islander’s three week-long attempt to generate enough money and interest to open a teen center in the building failed.

On Thursday, Windermere real estate agent Sarah Schosboek said the listing at the corner of Vashon Highway and Gorsuch Road is once again active. The move comes weeks after islander Michele McBride announced that she and her husband signed a contract with the intent to purchase the building pending their ability to receive a business loan. Working on a month’s timeline, McBride started a Facebook page — which gathered 183 likes — and two GoFundMe pages before conducting informal surveys of island teens and parents to gauge interest. Her efforts netted just over $3,500 and roughly 35 teens and parents who said they would be interested and willing to sign up.

“We raised hardly anything,” McBride said last week. “We felt like there just wasn’t enough time to get community buy-in. We thought it was unfair to keep (the building) tied up.”

The money raised has been refunded and McBride said she is unsure if her dream for a teen-led center will ever come true as her vision requires a “big place.”

“I think teen centers have failed in the past because they’re too small.It’s hard for teens to walk into a place that they feel is owned by one group,” she explained before saying that the teens she surveyed also said that the space would have to be near a bus line and in a place safe to walk at night. “That means it has to be on the highway.”

There are only four other large buildings for sale in the town core area — the Cunningham building, the Stenneker building, Dig and the former construction lot at the south end of town. They range in price from $895,000 to more than $1 million. Far more than the Playspace’s $539,000 price tag.

“We don’t have that kind of money. I don’t see how a regular person can make this happen,” she said. “That’s the sad part.”

At the time of the contract’s signing, McBride said that a center like the one she was planning has been an idea of hers since she was a teenager. Last week, she posted a note on the Vashon Spot (the working title for the center) Facebook page thanking those who contributed and explaining that the page would be left up along with the website so “interested people can continue to work on a teen venue idea and hopefully bring the dream to life.”

“I’m sorry to have gotten hopes up. I truly did try my best to pull this off. It did not look like enough revenue would be coming in by the opening to warrant the risk to our family. We didn’t see how the numbers were going to raise in the time we had to finalize the purchase,” she said in the post.

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