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Busy developer John pitches yet another project for downtown Olympia

Mixed-use project pitched for downtown Olympia at State Avenue and Water Street

Walker John, downtown Olympia's busiest developer, has pitched yet another mixed-use project at State Avenue and Water Street. It's across the street from The Laurana, a John project that is under construction.
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Walker John, downtown Olympia's busiest developer, has pitched yet another mixed-use project at State Avenue and Water Street. It's across the street from The Laurana, a John project that is under construction.

Olympia developer Walker John has proposed yet another development, making it the 13th property he has either developed or redeveloped downtown or near downtown. Most of those projects have included market-rate apartments.

The latest is a 5-story, mixed-use project with apartments, commercial space and parking at State Avenue and Water Street. The site currently is a parking lot. It’s also across the street from a John project called The Laurana.

Although the two projects are across the street from each other, they are slightly different due to their proximity to the waterfront, according to city information.

The Laurana’s height was limited to 35 feet because it’s closer to the waterfront; the State Avenue and Water Street project can be built to 65 feet because it is separated from the shoreline by State Avenue.

However, the new project still falls within the shoreline jurisdiction of Budd Inlet, so John had to submit shoreline substantial development permit and shoreline conditional use permit applications.

The project will come before the design review board at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (July 25) and the Olympia Hearings Examiner. A date for the hearings examiner has not been set.

Meanwhile, the city has granted land-use approval to Market Flats, another mixed-use John project at 312 Capitol Way N. The city’s decision can be appealed. The appeal deadline is Aug. 1.

Since about 2013, John has been involved with the following projects: The Cunningham Building, 926 Fourth Avenue (home to 5th on 4th Sandwiches), Campus Lofts, Franklin Lofts, 321 Lofts, Annie’s Artist Flats, Annie’s Artist Studios, The Laurana, Westman Mill, The Olympian building, Market Flats, 222 Market and State and Water.

John bought 222 Market, which is home to Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar, in October 2018, according to Thurston County Assessor’s Office information.

The design review board meets at Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E, room 207.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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