WA. State purchases Edmonds property

  • Bill Sheets<br>For the Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:41am

EDMONDS – A major step has been taken toward the development of a new ferry-and-transit terminal in Edmonds.

The state has agreed to buy 21.31 acres of the former Unocal property at Point Edwards, the state ferry system and the city of Edmonds announced Wednesday. The city helped broker the deal, officials said.

The sale price was not disclosed, pending closing of the deal. The money for the purchase came from $10 million appropriated by the Legislature for the project, said Joy Goldenberg, public involvement manager for the ferry system.

The plan to develop the Edmonds Crossing project, as it is called, has been on the books at the city and state for more than 10 years. It’s been stalled by a lack of funding and petroleum-contaminated soil on the site.

The state’s purchase of the property means it will be easier to attract money to the $164 million plan, Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson said.

“It’s exciting,” he said.

Depending on funding, the state estimates construction on Edmonds Crossing to begin in 2011 and be done in 2015, Goldenberg said.

The sale will become official when the site is cleaned up, officials said. Unocal stored, mixed and transferred fuel on the site from the 1920s into the ’90s. An asphalt plant also operated on Unocal property from 1953 to 1978.

Two public comment periods on the cleanup plan will be held between now and when work begins, the first likely to come this summer, officials said.

Only the “lower yard,” as it is called, will be sold to the state. The 23-acre hillside portion of Unocal’s original property, which contained 23 storage tanks, was cleaned up from 2001 to 2003 and sold in 2002 to Triad Development of Seattle for $9.4 million. The developer is building condominiums there.

Edmonds Crossing plans call for a three-slip ferry dock; an eight-lane holding area for four boat loads of vehicles; a terminal building; a railroad platform; a bus stop and loading area; a parking garage; a short-term parking area; a covered pedestrian walkway, and improvements to Willow Creek to aid fish passage.

The portion of the dock that remains as an overland structure would become city park property, said Edmonds development services director Duane Bowman. The city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for the holding lanes to be converted into a boulevard with planter strips, Bowman said. Another idea would be to make it a pedestrian corridor, off limits to vehicles, he said.

“It just opens up all sorts of different possibilities of things that could be done there,” Bowman said.

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