Auburn Food Bank’s new home should be ready this fall

The food bank has been maxed out of capacity for many years, and the move will give it about five times as much space.

The long-in-planning transformation of the former Sports Page Tavern (2802 Auburn Way North) into the new Auburn Food Bank, Daytime Resource Center and Night Shelter is coming to a conclusion.

Debbie Christian, the food bank’s director, had been shooting for a June completion date when work started in December 2022, but fall 2023 will do just fine.

“I think the contractor will probably be out by the first of September,” Christian said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t know what that means for us to have the ability to move in. But the contractors are definitely on their last steps, and their last steps were to get this HVAC all hooked up, and the walk-in, refrigerator-freezers. They were waiting on parts for that, and today there’s a truck from Emerald Aire putting those in, so that’s a good sign.”

The food bank has been at 920 8th Place NE in the Burndale Housing Complex in north Auburn for many years, but it’s relocating because it’s in a small space without room to grow.

Indeed, the food bank has been maxed out of capacity for many years, Christian said, and the move will give it about five times as much space, with the capacity to receive larger donations of food and added room to serve more people.

The projected cost of work from the contractor is $1.6 million, but as the food bank is short about $700,000, it’s been busy on the fundraising side.

“We just completed a luau event that raised an estimated $50,000 to $60,000 and someone gave us a home, so we’re getting a partial profit from the home of $100,000. The rest of it, we’re just beating down doors, trying to get money that way,” Christian said.

Plans show the total improved area in that part of the complex will constitute 14,631 square feet, divided between 6,899 square feet for the food bank at the south end (where the tavern was) and the newly combined resource center and night shelter, with 3,741 square feet and 3,991 square feet, respectively, on the other side of the food bank’s north wall, but accessible to it. The night shelter will accommodate 45 cots. The yet-to-be-improved areas make up 49 percent of the total building.

The remaining tenants in the complex are Taqueria el Taco Maestro and Pho Dinh Vietnamese Noodles.