OLYMPIA – The owner of Sundance RV & Auto Center in Shelton has expanded to a parcel in downtown Olympia, a location that puts the business near the Port of Olympia’s proposed development along East Bay.
Longtime independent auto dealer Dale Kimmel, who has owned the parcel at 710 State Ave. for nearly 20 years, said Monday he decided to expand as a way to tap into the potential business generated by the Port of Olympia’s East Bay District.
“I’m right down in the middle of new developments and to me that’s exciting,” Kimmel said.
Although there are about 25 used vehicles on the lot, a three-person staff and new signs, he still is waiting to receive a dealership license from the state, he said. Kimmel expects to receive that license this week.
“I’m actually excited and I haven’t been excited in a long time,” he added.
The parcel along State Avenue had been occupied by DJ’s Auto Sales for about 10 years until owner Jim Sturdevant decided to buy property after his lease expired in June. DJ’s since moved to a lot on Fourth Avenue.
The port’s marketing and business development director Kari Qvigstad acknowledged that Kimmel is trying to generate revenue on an “asset” he owns, but she said it was “too premature” to say whether his business was the right fit for East Bay because it is so early in the East Bay development process.
Last month, the port announced it will work with Seattle-based developer Tarragon to come up with a mixed-use proposal for nearly 7 acres of property on East Bay, which could include retail, residential, office and convention space, she said. The port will work with Tarragon over the next 120 to 180 days to firm up that proposal. Also planned on East Bay are a Hands-On Children’s Museum, public plaza and LOTT sewer partnership’s headquarters/education center.
Kimmel also is one of two remaining private property owners on East Bay. The other is Tom Turnbow of Tom’s Outboard at 221 East Bay Drive. Turnbow could not be reached Monday. Both owners once negotiated to sell their property to the port but could not agree on a price. Kimmel said he based his offer to sell his parcel on the $1.9 million the port paid for the Shell gasoline station property at the corner of State Avenue and East Bay Drive.
Tom’s Outboard occupies about a 33,000-square-foot parcel on East Bay, with about 20,000 square feet of that leased from the port. The rest he owns, Qvigstad said. Turnbow leases the property on a month-to-month basis and the port has notified him that the lease will end this year. The port supports his right to remain on the property he owns, but they also have presented him with some alternative locations, she said.
“We’d love to see him closer to (Swantown) marina, but that’s clearly up to him,” Qvigstad said.
Tarragon senior development manager and partner Kristin Jensen said she has met Turnbow and has yet to meet Kimmel, but said the company has not started any conversations with them and is focused on its negotiations with the port. Jensen said the development proposal with the port “works with or without” the private property owners.
“We made no assumptions that we could acquire those properties, but it would make the development more efficient if we could,” she said.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403