Isthmus discussion on tap while Olympia City Council takes a break

The Olympia City Council will hold its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. July 8 at City Hall. There are no regular council meetings June 24 or July 1.

However, the city will host a discussion Thursday about the consultant who will study potential projects on the downtown isthmus. The Community and Economic Revitalization Committee (CERC) and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) will meet at 5:30 p.m. June 26 at Room 207 at City Hall. The meeting has been billed as a “special council meeting” because city council members are expected to attend, according to a staff report.

At a cost of $7,500, the city is requesting a more in-depth financial analysis from ECONorthwest. The Portland-based consultant is working with Olympia to establish a Community Renewal Area (CRA), an economic development tool that targets downtown properties in poor condition. The CRA, if and when it’s approved by the council, would also expand the city’s power to broker public-private deals.

The public analysis coincides with private plans for the Capitol Center Building, a vacant nine-story tower on the isthmus. Building owner Views on Fifth Ltd. paid $12,750 to conduct a seismic retrofit only, according to the city permit, which was issued May 27. The developer’s goal is to turn the former office building into a hotel. According to the city, the developer has six months to request an inspection for seismic retrofit, which involves modifying the building’s structure to make it more resistant to earthquakes and soil movement. The city reports that the permit does not authorize any specific use or design for the building.