“They’re happy, we’re happy,” said Fire Chief Jeff Maxwell. “We met the group. They’re very nice. They’re working on a use permit.”
The property has a 1,250-square foot office, built in 1932, and three parking spaces. It is currently vacant.
Multiple attempts to reach the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz were unsuccessful.
According to the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz website, Houcine Ait Ahmed is the president of the board.
The Santa Cruz Muslim community, established in 1996, has been renting an office at 4401 Capitola Road in Capitola, sharing a building with Musicscool.
According to the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz website, members have been raising funds to buy property to establish a full-time Masjid, an Arabic word that means mosque or place of worship.
The property at 900 17th Ave., across from Shoreline Middle School, had been purchased by Central Fire as part of a plan for a fleet maintenance facility but it was not zoned for that use.
After Maxwell became chief, he recognized the property posed a liability, and the fire board put it up for sale after the fire district paid off a loan with City National Bank.
There were just two offers. The fire district got its asking price, then granted a $10,000 credit for termite damage, and the deal closed July 24.
“It’s a tough market,” Maxwell said.
The fire district had been renting the space to chiropractor Jeanne Taylor, who has since moved to the Windward Center at 1280 17th Ave.