Joshua Freed, also a private developer, has agreed to sell the 39-acre back nine of the Wayne Golf Course to the group Forterra.

Share story

Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed has agreed to sell the 39-acre back nine of the Wayne Golf Course to the conservation group Forterra, ending a plan to build 50 high-end homes along an undeveloped stretch of the Sammamish River.

“I am pleased we were able to come to terms with Forterra, allowing this historic opportunity to secure the back nine,” said Freed in a statement.

As recently as three weeks ago, Freed seemed prepared to go forward with development of the property in partnership with other investors, despite widespread criticism from Bothell residents who wanted the land preserved for recreation and salmon-habitat restoration.

The golf course saga

Forterra Executive Vice President Michelle Connor said the organization also will try to purchase the 50-acre front nine and preserve the entire golf-course property.

“There’s no other properties on this scale that present this opportunity for habitat restoration and public access in the north Lake Washington basin,” she said.

Connor said Forterra has until Aug. 6 to complete an appraisal of the back nine and secure financing. If the parties complete the transaction, she said, Forterra will begin working with the city of Bothell, King County and the state to fund purchase of the entire golf course.

Forty-six of the front nine’s 50 acres are protected by a conservation easement, but in January, the golf-course owners sought a rezone from the city to build 76 town homes on the five acres around the club house and parking lot that weren’t protected.

Then in March Freed recused himself from City Council discussions of a potential purchase of the golf course, saying he had already successfully bid to purchase the back nine.

Freed was cleared of any conflict of interest in the deal in April by an independent investigator who found he did not act until a city option to buy the back nine had lapsed. Residents were critical of Freed and the City Council for not informing the public in late 2013 that the land was available.

Members of the citizens group, OneBothell, said Monday that they’re excited that the golf course, which is adjacent to the Burke-Gilman Trail and Bothell’s Blyth Park, will not be developed.

“I think it was the community stepping up and getting involved,” said OneBothell president James McNeal. “Their voices being heard made the difference.”