The Port of Seattle is moving ahead with plans to create a large business park where a former Des Moines city neighborhood was torn down...
The Port of Seattle is moving ahead with plans to create a large business park where a former Des Moines city neighborhood was torn down to make way for jets at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport more than a decade ago.
The business park would be built on 90 acres of vacant, overgrown land south of the runways, nearly double the size of the Port’s North Bay project near Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.
The land, stretching northwest from the corner of South 216th Street and 24th Avenue South, has been dormant since the Port purchased the neighborhood and demolished the homes as part of a noise-abatement plan for the airport, officials said.
“It’s an area that’s just overgrown,” Commission President Bob Edwards said. “I’ve heard there’s coyotes within this vast area.”
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The land was in limbo during the battle over the Port’s plan to build a third runway. Once that project started, the land was seen as a potential source of dirt for building the runway. When that option was ruled out this spring, talks began on putting the land back into use.
Because of its proximity to the airport, the land can’t be used for housing, officials said. But it could be a place for distribution centers or other businesses that would benefit from being close to the airport.
Unlike the eight-story buildings envisioned for North Bay, the so-called Des Moines Creek Business Park “would have to be low-rise,” Edwards said. “Our understanding is we don’t even need any change of zoning.”
The Port has not decided whether to sell the land outright, or keep it and lease it to developers, as it is doing with the 57-acre North Bay site.
“We just don’t know,” Edwards said. “It could be done either way.”
Under either option, the funds raised could only be used to pay for airport-noise abatement, Edwards said, because federal were dollars used to purchase the land years ago.
The Port commission and City of Des Moines approved a general framework agreement for the development last month. The Port and city also need to approve a conceptual master plan for the site, and sign off on giving up street right of ways and dealing with environmental concerns about wetlands on the area.
After that, the city would look to sign a deal with a developer and produce a detailed master plan, with construction beginning as early as 2007.
Alwyn Scott 206-464-3329 or firstname.lastname@example.org