It might be hard to tell now but this building used to be one of the most important Printeries in California.
“It was a large printing press in Atascadero, unique to the area and it printed for Sunset magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Times, and also the Illustrated Review which was E.G. Lewis’s magazine,” explains Nicholas Mattson, Communications Director for the Atascadero Printery Foundation.
Mattson has a special connection to the building as he now writes for the Atascadero newspaper.
“This is the original home of the Atascadero news, the very first edition was printed here [and] there is a part of me that is very nostalgic for that,” Mattson says.
But the building was in stages of changing hands, being loosely used by the city as a skate park when the San Simeon earthquake almost demolished it in 2003.
“Since then it has been uninhabited except for the creatures – the pigeons and the vagrants,” Mattson tells us.
After the owner of the building was sent to jail for fraud in 2015, there was no one left to pay the property taxes for it, leaving the building in a $300,000 deficit and potentially up for sale at a tax auction.
Now the Atascadero Printery Foundation is stepping up to pay those back taxes, in order to ensure the building goes into the right hands.
“We have raised about $30,000 in cash donations and pledges for the purchase of this building and we need to continue to raise that money and gain that interest so that we can convince the county board of supervisors that we have the purchasing power necessary to complete the process when they object to the tax sale and that we can come in and purchase the building from them for the amount of the back taxes,” Mattson explains.
Once the tax money is paid, the restoration efforts can begin but those will cost about $10 million which is why the Printery Foundation believes it should stay theirs.
“As a non-profit, we are able to avoid paying property taxes and avoid paying the prevailing wage that it costs so we cut a lot of costs by purchasing this property as a non-profit and restoring it for those purposes and eventually we hope to open it up for community use,” Mattson says.
The Foundation has until January 5th, to reach their goal of raising $300,000. If the Foundation is unsuccessful with their goal, they hope someone will restore back to it’s original grandeur instead of demolishing it.