City, developer want plan for development area by Highway 101

A Bellevue developer and the City of Sequim look to optimize a plan for property formerly linked to Fred Meyer by U.S. Highway 101.

After Bell Creek Village, a 77-acre property east of North Sequim Avenue, failed to sell at auction in November 2016, business partners Mark Burrowes, a broker with John L. Scott, and developer Fred McConkey, exchanged ownership of the property with McConkey taking on ownership of three parcels at about 55 acres of the site closest to the highway.

Now, he and city officials are looking to find the best development fit through a state grant.

Sequim city councilors unanimously approved $5,000 on Feb. 27, to put toward a $50,000 matching grant from the Department of Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board for an economic feasibility study and market analysis of the property.

Funds would pay for a planning consultant to provide information on the best fit for new development and address site challenges for a sub-area plan.

If the city receives the grant, McConkey would put $13,000 toward the study, too.

City staff are scheduled to select a planner by March 21 to meet the March 27 grant deadline with an award announcement in mid-May.

David Garlington, Sequim public works director, said adding a planner to the grant adds to the city’s chances.

Bell Creek Village is part of an Economic Opportunity Area, formerly known as a mixed-use zone.

City staff said these areas are “comprised of large, underdeveloped lands with access to U.S. Highway 101 and other infrastructure as venues to expand and diversify the city’s economic base and increase living-wage employment opportunities.”

The city has two proposed Economic Opportunity Areas through the Comprehensive Plan with the first at Bell Creek Village and a second east of North River Road comprising of about 85 acres.

Previously, city staff said possible options for these areas range from high-tech industry to an auto dealership to a college extension campus.

Garlington said grant requirements state the areas aren’t designated for retail development and must not promote gambling or take away from the existing job-base.

The planning consultant also would pinpoint challenges and possible solutions for the area’s issues such as handling the surrounding wetlands and Bell Creek and finding access to utilities and transportation.

However, in the request for consultants’ proposals city staff said they “believe this promising site could be a demonstration project for sustainable development in western Washington.”

Bell Creek Village has been in Burrowes’ family since the 1920s.

Fred Meyer often was reported as an anchor tenant for the proposed property but the capital committee for Kroger, Fred Meyer and QFC’s parent company, didn’t approve the project in 2004 because they didn’t want the two competing in Sequim.

Burrowes said the plan for the site was to have a little bit of everything.

Before the November auction, the property was last listed at $3.5 million and then at $1,860,000.

Burrowes is selling a portion of the property on his own.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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