TUMWATER - The search for an answer for the vacant buildings for sale at the Olympia Brewery site in Tumwater will take a step forward next month.
Thurston Regional Planning Council, using $90,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, is finalizing a contract with Seattle-based LORIG Associates to develop a community vision for the site, said Jared Burbidge, TRPC assistant director.
One task, as outlined in the grant, focuses on finding ways to make infill and redevelopment possible, with the ultimate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Burbidge said.
“Their (DOE) focus would see it redeveloped for density that would allow for people to carpool or be near a transit line,” Burbidge said.
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“This is just the very first step in the process of redeveloping that property.”
The buildings west of Capitol Boulevard and the warehouse property east of Capitol will be the focus of the project, said Tumwater planning manager Tim Smith.
Smith said the recently sold brick historic brewhouse below Tumwater Falls won’t be included. However, conversations with the owner regarding his plans for the property are likely.
Smith said LORIG will begin work early March and is contracted for six months. The consultant will lead a team of architects, engineers and public outreach consultants, according to a news release.
The project will analyze building conditions, infrastructure issues such as water, sewer, traffic and stormwater, the ability to reuse, remove or replace buildings and the potentials for “green development,” according to the TRPC.
Though TRPC is providing the funds, the City of Tumwater will handle day-to-day dealings with the consultant and will help identify stakeholders, Smith said.
“It’s a big part of our work program,” Smith said, adding he expects to dedicate 350 staff hours to the project.
What comes out of the visioning project could require comprehensive plan and zoning changes that would ultimately need to be approved by the City Council, said city administrator John Doan.
Public input will include outreach meetings.
Smith said Mayor Pete Kmet will also appoint a brewery focus group to provide feedback to the consultant.
Doan said the process will be a great chance for the community to understand the opportunities and the challenges that come with the site and then discuss future uses “so we can take advantage of an extraordinary piece of property.”
Initial plans called for a brewery neighborhood plan to coincide with site visioning, but that has been put off until 2012.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/outsideoly