Official outlines vision for Capitol Boulevard

Tumwater official would like one day to use state property to kick-start redevelopment

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 1, 2013 

A City of Tumwater official has his eyes on a piece of property near Trosper Road, a 10-acre parcel that, if redeveloped, might kick-start the larger city goal of redeveloping Capitol Boulevard.

Tumwater City Administrator John Doan shared his vision with The Olympian’s editorial board this week, gathering with Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet, Thurston Regional Planning Council executive director Lon Wyrick and Thurston Chamber President and Chief Executive David Schaffert to talk about shared legislative goals.

In a slow economy and with tight state budgets, economic development needs to be approached in new ways, and one of those new approaches might be to take advantage of some state Department of Transportation property in Tumwater, Doan told the board.

Doan envisions a mixed-use project there – led by a private developer – that would include residential, retail, office space and public space, and that would kick off redevelopment of Capitol Boulevard. He told the board that “one big signature project can really change the tenor” of an area.

The DOT site is its Olympic Region headquarters complex at 5720 Capitol Boulevard, not far from the Trosper Road intersection.

And there’s already a plan to relocate the complex, according to Doan and DOT.

In August 2005, the state paid about $4 million to acquire property at Marvin Road and 32nd Avenue NE in Lacey. The cost to relocate is about $52.5 million. The project is unfunded, although it remains one of the state’s “highest priority projects,” DOT data show.

The complex is home to 262 employees, plus vehicles and equipment. The ultimate move also would consolidate about 70 staff from leased DOT locations throughout the county.

Although there’s no immediate plan to relocate the complex, the city will continue to advocate for it, Doan said after the meeting.

The larger city plan is to redevelop Capitol Boulevard, from Tumwater Valley Golf Club to City Hall, he said.

Doan said the corridor is lacking as a business space and it is not the most attractive, and although it does move a lot of traffic, it doesn’t do it very well, particularly around Trosper Road.

He also described it as not good for pedestrians.

The city has so far had three community open houses about redevelopment of the corridor, and a fourth is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 20 at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary, 6600 Capitol Boulevard SE.

The next open house will recap what was discussed at the previous one, as well as cover zoning and design guidelines for the corridor, plus what new regulations mean for residents, businesses and property owners.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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