Brewery uses outlined

Tumwater: Public funding would be required for most potential development

July 1, 2011 

TUMWATER – Mixed-use urban centers, a LOTT facility and multi-family residential properties could work at the former Olympia Brewery site, but most will need some sort of public funding, according to a consultant’s findings.

In front of crowd of about 60 people Thursday night at the Tumwater Valley Lodge, Tom Fitzsimmons from Lorig Associates laid out scenarios for potential development on the 107-acre site, gauging the level of public support with electronic voting.

“We’ve started to draw some conclusions for uses of the property,” said Fitzsimmons, who serves as the brewery visioning project manager and Lorig’s chief operating officer.

Hundreds of public comments gathered during a previous meeting were narrowed down to core values and themes such as the area’s environment and making sure any development includes jobs.

Here’s a look at the site assessment from Lorig and what it sees as the best prospects for development:

 • The knoll (the brewery buildings above the Deschutes River):

Main assets: Visible and accessible location; history and public awareness; adaptability of structures; Deschutes River adjacency.

Main liabilities: Demolition costs; site access and parking.

Best prospects: Mixed-use urban center (retail and residential); educational or corporate campus.

 • The valley (industrial/technical buildings and a 320,000-square-foot warehouse):

Assets: Quality of buildings; size of site; rail access; Deschutes River proximity.

Liabilities: Floodplain; limited access; competition from other sites.

Prospects: LOTT facility; manufacturing or light industrial; combination of public uses (LOTT, multipurpose recreation, trails and pathways, riparian restoration).

 • The bluff: A 2-acre plot of land zoned light industrial.

Assets: Complete infrastructure; accessibility; level site.

Liabilities: Competition from other sites.

Prospects: Multi-family residential (low-rise).

Fitzsimmons said this prospect was the only one that would need to be spurred almost entirely by the private sector.

Most of the brewery property is owned by Capital Salvage and has gathered some interest from the LOTT Clean Water Alliance and a local developer.

George Heidgerken, owner of the old Tumwater brewhouse, was close to purchasing the brewery property in February but instead sued the property owner, claiming he wasn’t given information about the brewery’s condition.

Lorig will submit a final report with the Tumwater City Council in September, putting the next steps on the site – whether it involves nothing, zoning changes or taxpayer dollars – in the city’s hands.

Before the meeting, Janet Vaught of Tumwater said she’d like to see some sort of community or convention center go in, even if it meant higher taxes.

“The people who live in the community should invest in their community,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Tumwater City Administrator John Doan said he couldn’t commit to how the city would respond but did say small projects, such as street improvements near the site, are a way the city could get involved quickly.

“We’re trying to gauge the temperature of the people,” he said.

Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476

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