Commission to revisit Saint Edward Seminary development plans

On Thursday the state parks commission will finally discuss the proposal to turn Saint Edward Seminary into a hotel.

A proposal to develop Saint Edward Seminary commercially will go before the state parks commission Thursday.

The meeting Thursday will not likely result in a final decision, but extend the discussion.  The commission could also determine whether a public or non-profit use is possibly a better use of the Seminary than as a hotel/resort.

Kevin Daniels, a Seattle developer, is hoping to turn the vacant Saint Edward Seminary into a resort. Daniels Real Estate is trying to complete a land swap with Washington State Parks that would give the state 9.77 acres of private land in the surrounding Saint Edward State Park in exchange for the 86-year-old building.

Initial plans have changed since a public meeting in Kenmore in February.  Most importantly, a bill was passed in Olympia defining how a possible deal would go forward.

HB 2667 requires the Seminary be leased, not sold.  It also extends a possible lease from 50 years to 62 years, and now only needs a super majority of the commission to approve a deal.

The Washington Department of Commerce was also directed to examine whether alternative uses for the building could be possible, including non-profits.

"We'll watch the process to make sure that as it moves forward, concerns are taken care of," said Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, who co-sponsored the bill. "There are backstops in place to keep the park intact."

The aging seminary is falling apart and in need of serious repairs. The state estimates it would cost between $14 million to $50 million to refurbish the seminary.

Activists are worried about the possible impact to the surrounding Saint Edward State Park, along with traffic and trail use issues.

"It just seems to me the state parks and the Legislature really need to examine their priorities," said Tom Fitzpatrick with Citizens for St. Edward State Park, "It's a state park.  It's supposed to be for people to use as open space."

Photos: Saint Edward Seminary

Copyright 2016 KING


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