Saint Edward Seminary could be refurbished as lodge

Danielle Leigh reports

Washington state is in danger of losing a historic building in Kenmore because of disrepair.

The Saint Edward Seminary is falling apart with age and the state has a September deadline to come up with a plan to refurbish it.

The state estimates it would cost anywhere from $14 million to $50 million to refurbish the seminary, much more money than the Parks Department has.

"The state has a $500 million maintenance backlog and the seminary is a large percentage of that," said Michael Hankinson, State Parks planner. "Really, the building is limping along."

Now a Seattle area developer, Kevin Daniels, wants to acquire the property, preserve it and turn it into a lodge.

"It's just an opportunity to save the building rather than to see it continue to decay," Daniels said.

Tuesday night Washington State Parks held a community meeting regarding the proposal.

It drew a crowd of more than 300, forcing people to overflow onto a nearby sidewalk outside the meeting room at the Northshore Utility District in Kenmore.

"Don't give it away please," commented one concerned resident.

Conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts are worried about the impact of the proposed development to the surrounding Saint Edward State Park.

"The original intent when the seminary was built was that it was a place you left the world and went away from the world into a quiet area," said Ann Aagaard, a member of Citizens for Saint Edward State Park. "Even all those 90 years ago, it was known that this was a special place and there were few like it."

Next month a commission will decide whether to extend the September deadline one year to let Daniels further develop his plan.

At this point, no decisions have been made.


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