Stalled Riverfront project could be revived

EVERETT — A developer is expected to offer a first glimpse tonight of plans for reviving the stalled Riverfront project on former industrial land east of I-5.

The briefing with homebuilder Polygon Northwest is scheduled during the regular 6:30 p.m. City Council meeting.

Polygon, of Bellevue, is looking to buy the Riverfront property from San Diego developer OliverMcMillan. The land includes about 100 acres available for residential and retail development.

If the sale goes through, Polygon wants to start building houses next year, Mayor Ray Stephanson said.

More details are expected tonight.

“This can best be described as the introductory meeting for the council and the public to Polygon,” Stephanson said.

“So far I’ve been impressed with Polygon … They have been a successful developer that has a very good financial record of performance.”

The property’s current owner and the prospective buyer are about halfway through a 120-day due diligence period that would precede any sale.

The property stretches north from the Lowell neighborhood, along the Snohomish River. It includes a former Everett city landfill and the sites for two former mills.

Preparations over the past two decades have involved massive environmental cleanup and moving railroad tracks. Road, sewer and drainage improvements are ongoing. By the time it’s finished, the amount of public money invested in the project could exceed $80 million.

The city in 2008 sold the Riverfront site to OliverMcMillan for $8 million.

As part of the deal, the developer agreed to contractual deadlines for building out the site. One was a requirement to provide 400,000 square feet of retail space by mid-2017. There also are requirements to preserve wetlands and natural areas.

Those agreements will transfer to the new owner as part of any sale, city attorneys have assured the mayor’s office.

Council President Jeff Moore said he hopes Polygon can assure him and his colleagues that it intends to honor the previous commitments outlined in the development agreement.

“We have this opportunity, at this time of transition, to reaffirm that the citizens’ needs are met,” Moore said.

The master plan calls for a total of 900,000 square feet of commercial space, a 250-room hotel and up to 1,400 houses and condos.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

If you go

An update on the Riverfront project is scheduled during Wednesday’s Everett City Council meeting, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave. The city sold a developer former industrial land along the Snohomish River in 2008. The deal was designed to bring a mix of condos, shops and public space. The project has stalled because of the economy, and now the developer is discussing a potential sale of all the land to a local homebuilder.

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