A Permanent Home for Music Center

Music Center’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the launch of a $2 million Capital Campaign to purchase the building which we have been leasing since 1995, thus achieving Music Center’s long-anticipated goal of a stable, permanent home. In Music Center’s 23 years as tenants in the Oak Lake Baptist Church building at 96th Street and Linden Avenue, we have gradually made incremental improvements necessary to accommodate a growing range of lessons and ensembles. Ownership of the building will now anchor Music Center’s  mission of providing access to exceptional musical experiences for people of all ages and abilities, now and for years to come. Ownership will also enable additional needed improvements to optimize space and programming.  

“With this campaign we are dedicating ourselves to this community," said Board President, Kevin Fox. "We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to create a permanent home for Music Center in North Seattle."

Pre-launch fundraising efforts have produced exciting results, including:

  • Over $800,000 already pledged from lead supporters to jump-start the campaign  

  • A recommendation from the Department of Commerce for a $300,000  Building for the Arts grant  (pending legislative approval)

The  Keys to the Future campaign includes $500,000 in capital improvements, including upgrades to the building's major systems, and sound-proofing for teaching studios and performances spaces. The planned purchase will take place in August 2019.  

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Keys to the Future FAQ

Why did Music Center of the Northwest decide to buy the building it has resided in for two decades?

The Oak Lake Baptist Church no longer exists as a congregation and therefore was not in the position to be landlord. The lease agreement with the Church expires at the end of August 2019, thus the Church could not renew the lease agreement. Over the many years, Music Center’s mission has resonated with Oak Lake Baptist so after a number of meetings, it was agreed that Oak Lake would sell the building at favorable terms to Music Center rather than sell it to others.

What are the favorable terms from Oak Lake Baptist Church?

We’ve agreed to purchase the building for $1.5 million cash, closing at the end of August 2019.

Could Music Center have instead found a new location to rent, rather than purchase the building?

The Board of Directors, working with the Executive Director, looked at what was available to lease, and nothing remotely affordable was available that would provide a performing hall space, music studios, and parking. This reality reinforced not only the rationale to purchase the building, but also affirmed the favorable terms negotiated with Oak Lake Baptist.

What about purchasing a different building?

Efforts were made to explore all options, including partnering with other non-profits and sharing facilities. None of those options presented themselves as more favorable versus acquiring our current building.

But our current building is imperfect and doesn’t meet all our needs…

No doubt, it would be ideal to have more music studios and better parking, but Music Center has invested a few hundred thousand dollars in our current building and in so doing, has created a community music center that generally meets our needs. Over time, with control of the building as owners, improvements can made that suit our mission and desires.

What about the improvements, and why is the capital campaign targeting $2 million rather than $1.5 million?

As long term tenants, we have become overly aware of major deficiencies in our building. The largest include an unreliable furnace, lack of insulation, inadequate soundproofing, inefficient windows, and wiring and plumbing problems. Like any property owner, we need to replace aging systems and inefficiencies.

I’ve just heard about the acquisition and wondered if Music Center has carefully planned out the purchase?

The Board of Directors has had a desire to have a permanent location at least as far back as 2001, when the Strategic Plan specifically called for it. It was affirmed repeatedly that this was our goal, including by our current board. We have hired professional consultants who are experienced in these matters and carefully cultivated key supporters to affirm that we will be successful. Before going public we secured multi-year pledges from key donors, applied for and were accepted as a recipient of State of Washington Funding (Building for the Arts), applied for foundations and other grants, and made certain that our bank would support the acquisition.

Why are you seeking multi-year pledges from donors when you need the funds by the end of August 2019?

Our wonderful community of supporters has been there for Music Center for many challenges over the years, but we are clear that our donor community’s affluence is limited. It is easier on donors to donate over multiple years rather than all at once. Several of our early supporters have considered an affordable one-time donation and then realized that they could make a more significant impact by pledging that same amount annually for 3 or 4 years. Our bank has agreed to provide financing to assist with the timing gap. Click to download the pledge form.

How can I help?

Music Center can accept your gift though the above form. Checks and pledge forms can be sent to Music Center: P.O. Box 30757, Seattle, WA 98113 We accept gifts of appreciated stock or other assets, required minimum distributions from your IRA, gifts from Donor Advised Funds, credit card or cash gifts.  

What if I have already given financially, or am unable to give financially, are there other ways to help?

The campaign committee welcomes help in publicity, organizing events, writing thank-you notes, and spreading the word about Music Center’s positive impact in our community. Click to volunteer.