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Old August 1st, 2007, 09:10 AM   #21
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70 sites volunteered for UW branch campus

By Jerry Cornfield, Herald Writer

OLYMPIA — Property owners offered more than 70 sites in Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties for the state to consider in its search for a home for a new University of Washington branch campus.

Parcels range in size from 1 to 1,100 acres, and the offers come from private land owners, real estate agents, cities, counties and a state agency. Most locations are in Snohomish County.

"We are glad there is an abundance of choices, and we’ll look at every one of them,” said Deb Merle, higher education policy adviser to Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Friday marked the deadline for people to submit information on land they would sell the state for development into a four-year university campus.

Monday, a state-hired consultant plowed through and worked to organize the stack of submissions, some dozens of pages long with maps, charts and graphs, and others consisting simply of a couple sheets with data gleaned from a multiple listing service.

On Aug. 14 in Stanwood, the first of four public meetings is scheduled for residents to weigh in on the process.

They’ll be able to comment on the various sites and emerging academic plan. Meetings also are set for Aug. 15 in Mount Vernon, Sept. 26 in Oak Harbor and Oct. 3 in Everett.

“The site evaluation process is occurring concurrently with the academic planning,” said Martin Regge, a principal in urban design and planning with NBBJ, the firm contracted to extract from the pile the best location for a campus.

“As the field of potential sites begins to narrow, the academic planning process will help refine the site evaluation criteria,” he said. “The ultimate test will be to determine which sites best enable the university’s academic goals and objectives for the new campus.”

In April, the state approved spending $4 million to help launch a branch campus. Of that, NBBJ received a $1 million contract to analyze land options and recommend a site for a permanent college by Nov. 15. The firm also will suggest an interim location where classes for upper-division students can be held in fall 2008.

Proposals received by Friday contained details on size, boundaries and zoning, plus available utilities and existing structures. There was no minimum parcel size.

Merle said this enabled anyone with land to consider turning in a proposal and created the possibility that several small properties could be assembled into one larger site.

It was not immediately clear why the person offered up their 1-acre parcel, Regge and Merle said.

Among the submissions are ones mentioned publicly, such as land in Stanwood and the former Northern State Hospital in Skagit County.

The city of Everett is pushing two sites — the 75-acre riverfront parcel that was once a Kimberly-Clark plant and 30.5 acres surrounding Everett Station.

Pat McClain, the city’s governmental affairs director, said these would be among the “urban properties” in the mix. Both sites offer “more to the student and student life” because of their proximity to transportation and services, he said.

Another eight potential sites are in a report prepared earlier this year for state lawmakers by Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. That report went to Merle and is now with NBBJ. The eight sites are scattered throughout the county.

Four cities jointly submitted a proposal for putting a college somewhere on 1,100 acres located between Lake Stevens and Snohomish. The property runs along Highway 9 from its junction with U.S. 2 to 20th Street NE.

Granite Falls and Monroe joined with Lake Stevens and Snohomish on the offer.

The city of Arlington didn’t put it in a proposal of its own but did direct the consultants to consider a sizable parcel owned by Washington State Parks on Highway 9 south of 172nd Street NE.




ALSO unrelated... Monroe to incorporate Sultan?


Monroe eat Sultan? Idea causes heartburn

By Yoshiaki Nohara, Herald Writer

SULTAN - Should Monroe swallow Sultan?

Monroe City Councilman Mitch Ruth thinks so. He wants Monroe to annex Sultan to help solve the smaller city's looming problems.

Never mind that the two cities sit six miles apart in the Skykomish Valley. What happens in Sultan still affects Monroe, Ruth said. If crime increases in Sultan, that will spread to Monroe.

"As Sultan suffers financial woes, it does impact Monroe," Ruth said.

Ruth's proposal amuses Sultan Mayor Ben Tolson.

"Not going to happen," Tolson said chuckling. "His concept is delusional, to say the least."

Ruth wasn't elected to represent people in Sultan, Tolson said.

"He should pay his attention to the city of Monroe and keep his nose out of Sultan," Tolson said. "It shows his arrogance and ignorance."

A few cities have merged through annexation in Washington, although it's rare.

Ruth says that he plans to pitch the annexation idea to other Monroe officials at an Aug. 14 meeting.

If Monroe is a pie, Sultan is a slice of pie, in terms of population. Monroe has 16,290 people, more than 31/2 times the 4,530 residents of Sultan, according to the state Office of Financial Management.

Monroe has more tax revenues than Sultan, Ruth said. Monroe has more city employees and businesses than Sultan does.

The annexation could help people in Sultan receive better services, Ruth said.

"This is about issues for people in Sultan. My heart goes out to those people," Ruth said, adding that some Sultan residents have expressed support for his proposal.

Sultan has struggled to balance its budget over the last several years. This year, the city's general fund is expected to be about $450,000 short mainly because of unexpected bills for internal investigations at its police department and a revenue shortfall in building permit fees.

The projected budget deficit prompted city officials to consider turning off streetlights and closing the town's library earlier this month.

But city officials have come up with ideas to cut expenses to balance the $2.2 million general fund, city administrator Deborah Knight said. Those ideas include cutting patrol officers from eight to four, making staff work shorter hours and eliminating custodial service at city facilities.

Closing the library is off the table for now, Knight said.

The city is also forming a citizen advisory group to improve the situation. Sultan leaders - not outsiders - will make decisions for the city's future, Knight said.

"We are going to continue as a city," she said. "We need to live within our means."

The idea of Sultan becoming a part of Monroe is pie in the sky, Sultan residents and business owners said on Thursday.

"This town has been around for about 100 years," Arnold Jordan, 73, said last week.

Sultan was incorporated in 1905, three years after Monroe became incorporated.

Jordan has lived his entire life in Sultan except for a few years that he served in the Army. Sultan has been and will be independent, he said.

"Let (Ruth) take care of Monroe," he said.

Meanwhile, Ruth said he's trying to find out what it takes for one city to annex another.

The process could begin if the councils of the two cities adopt resolutions supporting Sultan's annexation into Monroe.

Finishing it would be another matter.

"There are a number of legal issues that need to be explored to see if one could even pursue it under state law," said Pat Mason, legal consultant for the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington.

One immediate concern of the state and the county boundary review panel is the fact the cities are miles apart, he said.

Leaders of Aberdeen and Hoquiam, which sit side by side in Grays Harbor County, considered a union a few years back but didn't pursue it, he said.

Since the birth of Washington, a handful of towns have disincorporated and annexed into a neighboring city.

East Stanwood did it in 1961 to join Stanwood, according to a chart on the organization's Web site. Seven years later, Kirkland annexed Houghton.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this report.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or [email protected].
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Old August 1st, 2007, 11:44 AM   #22
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How many cities in the US have tall downtown buildings right next to a suburban style mall? That mall is much bigger in size than Bellevue Square.

I hope that will happen in Lynnwood in near future. It will be a interesting project to see.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 01:08 AM   #23
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Does anyone have any pictures or any new news on the Everett Riverfront development? I can't find much information on the city's or the developer's websites. If anyone has any other information, please post!
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 02:01 AM   #24
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I can tell you that a public announcement of key tenants (cinetopia has been announced and I other I beleive already) will come out by September
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 03:43 AM   #25
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Today in the Herald: Old dump stands in way of Everett's dreams
EVERETT - Behind the razor-wire fence sits Everett's dream of a vibrant riverfront district.

On this vacant land southeast of downtown, city leaders envision a mix of hundreds of condos, a movie theater, restaurants and a park with a kayak launch onto the Snohomish River.

For now, though, much of land remains closed to the public.

That's because it sits on a former landfill that is still producing a potentially explosive mixture of methane and carbon dioxide.

The fence around the 70-acre closed dump, city leaders say, is just a precaution.

Still, the city was required in 2003 to spend $1.5 million on a gas collection system on two sides of the site because methane gas was seeping through the ground to other land beyond the landfill's boundary.

Even more work is needed to bring the property up to development standards. Initial estimates say that will cost anywhere from $3 million to $6 million.

Methane is produced through chemical reactions and as waste from bacteria that eat and decompose over the decades.

Methane is explosive at high concentrations. The state Department of Ecology requires that the gas collection system and other monitoring equipment be in place before the movie theater or condos are built or any other development occurs.

The gas collection system would include a grid of underground pipes and a vacuum to siphon gas out of the ground at the same rate it is produced. The gas also would be vented away from buildings and people.

Without this system in place, officials fear the gas could collect in enclosed spaces and create a danger of accidental explosions or fires.

There is a chance still that things won't work out. But the potential of the new district is worth every cent to the city, said City Councilman Mark Olson.

"It would be a mistake just to walk away from a significant facelift for the city just because of the technical challenges of the system," he said.

Olson, who serves on the council's riverfront committee, joined other city leaders on visits to communities near San Francisco and Chicago, where landfills were successfully redeveloped.

Charlie Hickcox, development director of the Everett riverfront project for San Diego developer OliverMcMillan, shares Olson's optimism for the public-private effort.

The privately held development firm, which agreed earlier this year to buy the land from Everett for $8 million, also agreed to work with the city to design, build and maintain a gas collection system.

"It's something that we take very seriously," he said.

John Keeling, an environmental engineer with the state Department of Ecology, said this would be a first-of-its-kind project in the state.

So-called brownfield developments are more common in built-out urban areas near Los Angeles and San Francisco, where developers can compensate for the added challenges.

"Our land values have only become comparable to California's in the last few years," Keeling said.

Every building constructed in this riverfront district must be equipped with monitors that detect gas levels and alarms that would sound well before reaching dangerous levels.

Overall, the riverfront project is about 225 acres, including the old dump and the shuttered pulp mill.

Since then, Everett has spent nearly $50 million preparing the site for development.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:26 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Does anyone have any pictures or any new news on the Everett Riverfront development? I can't find much information on the city's or the developer's websites. If anyone has any other information, please post!
Do I really need to keep advertising my stuff? Well, apparently so to an extent. My AJM STUDIOS Northwest Photo Journey has pictures all over Everett. Type it in a search engine. Best result to type "AJM STUDIOS.NET Northwest Photo Journey" and it should be a first result.

I got pictures of that very area Everett is worried about the dump being.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:30 AM   #27
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Here is one of the areas Everett wants to build condos on, but it is currently industrial.



Industry currently blocks most of the Everett Puget Sound waterfront, and Everett wants most of it gone for my housing and nicer stuff down there.


Ths is a poor shot I know, but it was taken while driving.. oops. Well it shows some new condos overlooking the water in Everett. New condos are planned to go up all over this area. Lots of old buildings will be moved into new mid-rise condos.

Over 800 new Everett projects planned for housing alone. Most being mid-rise stuff.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #28
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800 projects or 800 units? if its 800 projects then that's very crazy!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:02 AM   #29
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800 "projects" according to Everett.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:05 AM   #30
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800 projects? Wow! That's HUGE BOOM!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:17 AM   #31
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At first I thought I had heard it wrong... then I read it. :O It was shocking.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #32
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Damn! Are these 800 projects in same area or just spread out around Everett area?
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #33
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I'm not sure. I'd assume around Everett.

I know though a large portion are planned for downtown. Along with a project swept under the carpet right now to make a new tallest in Everett. Very little is known about it, but it is in the works.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #34
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Wow! Can you please show me the article where you read about it?
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #35
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I'll have to find it. I posted it on my site somewhere.
I'll get it tomorrow, but now I need to go clean dishes and stuff... parents making me.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #36
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Haha alright. Take your time.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #37
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Actually I found it real fast. The more I read the more it, the more it could mean units or projects... oops..maybe... If I'm wrong, sorry.
Got to go for now.


Article from Everett Herald
EVERETT - On paper at least, downtown Everett is poised for explosive growth.

Nearly 800 new downtown condos and apartments are in various stages of planning.

That's the equivalent of six new Nautica buildings - the six-story condo conversion that opened in 2003 and dominates a city block on Grand Avenue.

There's a good chance some of the projects scattered across a dozen development sites will not get off the ground, officials acknowledge.

Still, long-term growth, a property tax subsidy and a strong local economy, buoyed by jet sales at the Boeing Co.'s Everett factory, work in the city's favor.

"We're going to look out across this city in a few years, and I will be surprised if we don't see cranes," Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said.

Dilapidated houses will be demolished and replaced with sleek, modern buildings. Low-income residents will be displaced by young professionals and empty-nesters with disposable incomes to spend at restaurants and shops.

Buildings now in the planning pipeline include $1.1 million bay-view penthouses.

All of this does not include 660 upscale condos, shops and restaurants being constructed on the marina, or up to 1,500 condos planned for the Lowell neighborhood along the Snohomish River on a former mill and landfill.

The City Council has funded a study on the feasibility of tying the peninsula's three districts together with a streetcar line.

The condo market in the Puget Sound area remains hot, in spite of a wave of foreclosures and slumping housing sales creating jitters and sliding prices elsewhere.

Developers in Everett talk about "pent-up demand" and say they aren't deeply concerned their projects will create a glut of vacant condos for sale, as is the case in Las Vegas and parts of Florida.

"I think the local market is way stronger than people realize," said Joe Zlab, who plans to break ground on Rockefeller Square, a 40-unit condo building on Rockefeller Avenue, north of Everett Avenue, this spring.

Reaching an open hand toward the windows of his 10th floor City Hall office overlooking the city and Possession Sound, Stephanson said several months ago that he expects as many as 10 new high-rises sprouting from downtown in the next 20 years.

In that time, the city's population is expected to grow from 101,100 to 123,000 people. Conservative estimates predict another 1,000 people will move downtown in the next three to five years. About 3,000 people currently live downtown.

Change already here

Downtown Everett's transformation from hollowed-out mill town to urban center is already well under way.

More than $1 billion in public and private money has been spent on downtown development in recent years.

The $71.5 million Everett Events Center, which can hold 8,300 people in its main arena, brings thousands of people downtown at night. And it is widely viewed as an economic engine for downtown development.

"I've always said Everett is the best kept secret in Washington, and people are finally starting to see that," said Donna Corpus, owner of Studio Donna on Colby Avenue.

Several years ago, her hair salon was housed in a shop on the east side of Colby Avenue owned by Art Skotdal, downtown's largest landlord and developer.

Corpus and her husband, Timothy, later bought the salon's current building on the northwest corner of Colby Avenue and Wall Street and began quietly assembling other downtown properties.

Now, the couple is planning to open a mixed-use building of their own.

They hope to begin construction this year on Colby Tower, a nine-story building on Colby Avenue and 26th Street, with ground-floor retail shops, and a mix of parking, offices and condos upstairs.

The building would be capped by a rooftop garden with wrap-around views of the mountains and water.

With Sub-Zero refrigerators, Wolf gas ranges and other luxury accouterments, condos are expected to range from $950,000 to $1.1 million.

"We're just hoping for something kind of special and elite for people who want that," Donna Corpus said.

Many are bullish about downtown Everett's future. The Corpuses are joined by a remodeling contractor; a structural engineer; and even C.J. Ebert, the chairman of the city's Planning Commission, who are looking for a piece of the development pie.

Ebert has talked with city planners about the possibility of adding up to 80 condos atop a California Street parking garage he co-owns.

A new-look city

It's only a matter of time before Everett begins to resemble more affluent Seattle suburbs, including Bellevue or Kirkland, said Anthony Aversano, a Mountlake Terrace remodeling contractor.

Aversano, whose work usually focuses on dividing large older homes into apartments, wants to build a 32-unit condo on Grand Avenue, south of Sequoia High School.

He said the widening of I-5 and a possible light-rail station somewhere down the road will make the area more attractive to commuters.

"Seattle is overpriced, Bellevue has access problems and is also too expensive," Aversano said. "It's not a place where people can go unless you're working for Microsoft and have been there for a long time."

Gus Boutsinis, a Mill Creek developer working on a 130-unit condo project on 41st Street and Colby Avenue, agrees.

"We think Everett is ready," he said. "It's where Seattle was 15 or 20 years ago."

His condos will range in size from 550 to 1,700 square feet, and will be neither cheap nor outrageous, starting at less than $200,000 and climbing above $500,000, he said.

Zlab, a structural engineer by profession, also is looking to sell condos to what he calls the value-conscious, first-time home buyer.

Units at his Rockefeller Square are expected to sell for $200,000 to $400,000, he said.

To be competitive, Zlab said he will lavish condos with granite countertops and double wall construction to reduce noise.

Zlab has applied to the city for a property tax subsidy, which also could help move units.

The Everett City Council extended the downtown tax break to 2018 last week.

The program allows condo and apartment owners to skip 10 years of taxes on the value of eligible new residential buildings, paying taxes only on the land value. That can result in a 75 percent reduction of property tax bills.

If accepted, Zlab's would be the third downtown multifamily building to qualify for the tax break since the program started in 1998.

Also under the program are developer Steve Cupic's 121-unit Nautica Condominiums on Grand Avenue and Skotdal Real Estate's 63-unit Peninsula Apartments on Colby Avenue.

Now, both developers plan to reinvest in downtown with another 374 condos and apartments.

The projects include an 18-story building on Hewitt Avenue, which would become the city's tallest by 88 feet.

However, Skotdal Real Estate said last week that the high-rise is on hold while the company focuses on building a 200-unit condo and apartment building abutting Everett Public Library.

The company, which places the value of the building at $30 million, said it wouldn't build it without the tax subsidy.

"The purpose of the tax exemption is to help level the playing field between urban and suburban projects," said Craig Skotdal, president of Skotdal Real Estate.

Obstacles to builders

Urban developments are more expensive than suburban projects because land costs more, code requirements are more stringent, and other features are needed such as structured parking and elevators.

A suburban developer, on the other hand, can often acquire a large parcel of land from a single owner, create an asphalt parking lot and develop a simple garden-style apartment building with stairs, Skotdal said.

When extending the tax break last week, city officials brushed aside arguments that it unfairly shifts the burden of paying for police, fire, schools and other public services to taxpayers elsewhere in the city.

City officials cited an economic study of 1,000 homes constructed under a similar program in Tacoma, which said the program landed more dollars in the city's treasury than it took away.

They also said it is one of the few redevelopment tools available to promote difficult infill projects.

Allan Giffen, director of Everett's planning department, said he has never seen so many market-rate projects at one time in his 21 years with the city.

But plans for new buildings won't necessarily mean new buildings.

To get the city's approval for projects, developers are not required to prove financing or show a resume of completed projects.

Inexperienced developers without sufficient capital could have trouble securing financing.

Also, other factors can affect feasibility, such as a change in interest rates, increases in building material costs, the number of other projects under construction and shaky global markets.

Aversano, the remodeling-contractor-turned-developer, said he's trying to stay positive, but he thinks Everett's downtown building boom could fizzle if the cooling housing market nationwide turns into a dot-com-style bust.

"It's going to come down to economics," Aversano said.

Reporter David Chircop
http://www.heraldnet.com/stories/07/...1condos001.cfm
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:51 AM   #38
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I understand why it could be very confusing sometime. It is seen like 800 units to me.

Great article though! Thanks for sharing! I'm very happy that Everett is getting much better. A new streetcar in Everett? GO FOR IT!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:53 AM   #39
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I'm all for a Everett streetcar! That would be so cool. I got a book of Everett's past and it has pictures of olden day Everett with streetcars. Very cool old book filled with a plorethera of photographs from old time Everett. Settler days to late 1800s and early 1900s through the 60s to almost present day.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #40
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I seen it somewhere on SSC or website a while ago. Seattle metro area had streetcars railways but they're paved. It is time for break the pavement and re-use streetcars like old time. Of course repair them and get streetcars cars to be back in service.
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