The Port of Olympia commission voted 2-1 Monday night to approve a one-year option agreement with prominent downtown Olympia developer Walker John.
The deal allows John to explore a possible mixed-use development on two parcels of port-owned property that sit between Chestnut Street and Jefferson Street on State Avenue.
John will pay the port $30,000 for the right to explore development of the site. If he decides not to move forward on a mixed-use development, the port will keep the money. If the development moves forward, the $30,000 will be applied to a long-term ground lease, said Mike Reid, senior manager of business development for the port.
The mixed-use development could feature commercial and residential components, including office, retail and hospitality.
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Commissioner George Barner voted against the option agreement, saying he needed to respond to concerns about how future development on the site might affect an attempt to “daylight” Moxlie Creek.
Moxlie Creek now runs under city streets before it empties into East Bay. To daylight it would mean uncovering the creek.
“I’m uncomfortable with the longterm implications of the development,” Barner said.
But Commissioner Michelle Morris questioned the criticism directed at the port about Moxlie Creek because it doesn’t run under port property, it runs under city of Olympia property. Moxlie Creek runs under Chestnut Street, which is just east of the proposed mixed-use development site.
“You really need to talk to the city,” she said to those in audience concerned about Moxlie Creek.
Meanwhile, developer John remains busy with two projects: One is Campus Lofts at 12th Avenue Southeast and Jefferson Street Southeast, and the other is the 321 Lofts at Legion Way and Adams Street. Both are under construction.