Al Dykes wasn’t happy with the City Council’s recent “code compliant” rhetoric, he said Monday.
“They can blow their money on whatever they want to. That is their choice. But, for the life of me, I cannot understand why they would,” he said. “I can already go down there today and build what I want to — whatever it looks like — as long as it is code compliant.”
Port of Edmonds director Chris Keuss, who has been the spokesperson for the waterfront redevelopment property owners, was unavailable for comment this week.
The 20-acre redevelopment site is owned by two private companies and the Port of Edmonds. The city of Edmonds doesn’t own any of the land for the site.
The property owners are undergoing an extensive public design process which they say will lead towards a contract rezone request in 2008.
A contract rezone would likely ease building height restrictions in exchange for public amenities like public squares, green spaces and possibly pedestrian overpasses bridging the railway.
But, “code complaint” city’s input from the city would not necessarily be welcome, said Dykes, who owns Edmonds Shopping Center Associates and the Antique Mall property. Dykes is a controversial figure, and some of his earlier development proposals have ended up in court.
There city doesn’t need to design anything for his property, he said. He can do that for himself, he said.
He suggested he’s already “working vigorously” on such a plan.
Dykes is not putting all his eggs in the contract rezone basket, he said. Instead, he has consultants working vigorously on at least two alternative proposals which he would not discuss, he told the Enterprise.
One of those proposals was likely a code compliant development, he hinted.
Timelines for the project are “clearly up in the air,” but once he decides to move, he doesn’t think the city would be able to convince him to do anything else, Dykes said.
“It doesn’t make much logical sense, after owning this property for 25 years, to keep beating my head against the rock when this city in general is not capable of taking advantage of this opportunity,” he said.
While many opponents of increased building heights believe big box retailers could come to town, Dykes said that isn’t likely. He has made “many and numerous attempts” to lure big box retailers to the property in the 25 years that he has owned the property, but not one has been interested.
Instead, the property will likely develop as the worst sort of strip mall, he said. He suggested stores like St. Vincent De Paul would be tenants.
“It will make Edmonds seem like Dead-monds,” Dykes said. “It will be a sea of surface parking that will visually degrade” the Edmonds waterfront.