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Friday, January 28, 2011

Point Wells Developers Roll Out their Plan

As Butch Cassidy said to Sundance "These guys are good"!  And then Butch and Sundance jumped off the cliff into the river.

A rendering of the proposed waterfront development at Point Wells, featuring the pier as a park.
View of "Pier Park" including art, green plantings and beach in backround
drawing provide by BRSE Point Wells
Well the Point Wells Developers, Blue Square (BSRD) showed their plans for a seeming "paradise on the Sound" to a crowd of at least 200 people last night at Shoreline Center Auditorium and it was a slick presentation for sure. Every possible "environmentally friendly" bell and whistle was thrown in to the plan and presentation.
Developers panel of experts answers questions
submitted by audience.
In a presentation that went on past 9pm, the developers presented a plan that shows the Point Wells site being transformed from a Petroleum Tank Farm into an Environmental Eden on a 3.2 million sq ft site.
Extensive Boardwalks and Bike Paths are planned
drawing provide by BRSE Point Wells

The first stage of bringing the vision to life has begun. Developer BSRE Point Wells, LP is working with the internationally recognized architecture firm of Perkins+Will to prepare initial community design elements for sharing and discussion with the community. And development management and representatives continue to meet with elected officials, staff and local residents to discuss how the development will be integrated into surrounding communities.
Perkins, Will is the architecture firm doing the design led by Canadian Peter Busby.
Point Wells viewed from N-photo credit BRSE
An array of features was detailed by a panel of six, including attorneys, architects, engineers, landscape designers and pitch men. Some of the features planned for this site described by the experts include:
• LEED Platinum Goal for the project building standards with features such as rainwater catpure, cisterns, green rooves, vegetable/flower gardens, Community Center, 
• Daylighted Creek with "aquaduct" to deliver the now piped stream over the railroad and associated wetland
• 20 acres of public open space 
• 3 "Villages" to be built in phases 
•  Biomass Energy Plant 
• Sound Transit Station
• Forested site leading to restored beaches with boardwalks and bike trails
• Green Park Pier with possible Water Taxi station and small marina for kayaks and small craft
• 3,000 housing units with varying heights. Some would be 180' in height, but would be out of view of Woodway and somewhat visible from RB.

 Overall, it is vision for a virtual Disneyland of the North with all the features proposed. You can see the drawings and video proposal at the website

One major outstanding question we have is how will the developer accomplish the restoration of the polluted site? Apparently the plan is to retain all of the contaminated soils on site and "clean them up"
there. When asked "How would this be done", the reply was a somewhat simplified answer that it would be something like when an old gas station is removed and a spill is cleaned. In those cases, it often takes several years of "venting" and "burning off" the petroleum products. But nothing was said about other types of contamination such as from metals or asbestos which surely would be a factor. To be sure this would be a very complex clean-up project before any building would take place.

The other BIG question that the Richmond Beach Community members have is "how is this going to affect traffic in RB?" And perhaps "how can they get away with doing this?"

The BSRE answers are shown partially in this map. The public was invited to view the website
to review the images shown last night.
Transportation Map supplied by BRSE website
As shown above, many transportation options are speculated in the plan, including rail, bus, ferry, bike, zip car and pedestrian modes. The BSRE team emphasized that residents would be provided with retail shops and other services so they would not often need to travel out of the site. School children who live on site would need to be bussed off site to Edmonds schools. It isn't clear how many school age children would live here. There would also be a Fire and Police station built on site! Wow! That sure takes care of Shoreline's argument! 

But, one wonders how these residents would earn a living enough to afford to live here? Presumably, they would have to leave the site in cars to commute to jobs in Seattle or other surrounding job hubs?

The estimated number of extra average daily "trips" generated up Richmond Beach Road would be about 1000 by 2020 and up to 10,000 by 2035.

But, not to worry BSRE seems to say. This won't even be completely built out until 2035! And all of us will be old or moved away by then!

So what is the next step?

The timeline shown by BSRE Point Wells is as follows.
• 2010-13 - Conceptual Design, EIS, and public outreach
• 2012-14 - Design Permitting
• 2012-19 - Phased Demo and Clean-up
• 2016-20 - Phased Construction and Community Infrastructure Development

Meanwhile Shoreline has passed a Subarea plan for Point Wells, filed an appeal in conjunction with Woodway and Save Richmond Beach, and is looking at possible options for annexation!

And Bills have been introduced in the legislature to encourage cooperation and the Shoreline Planning Commission has recently passed a plan to limit traffic on Richmond Beach Drive.
Shoreline Area News has the story on Bill proposed.

This is just the beginning of a very long and fascinating process.
Fasten your seatbelts! Phew!


1 comment:

  1. Has there been discussion yet about the risks of building so close to sea level. We are in ice melting and major storm times.

    What unparadise sounding language do the developers have about this.

    Would they want to build their homes on this site???

    Looks like the non green company there previously has escaped the looming possibilty.