The on-again, off-again saga of McMenamins brewery and St. Edward State Park in Kenmore now is off. "Right now, we are officially out,"...
The on-again, off-again saga of McMenamins brewery and St. Edward State Park in Kenmore now is off.
“Right now, we are officially out,” said Renee Rank, McMenamins marketing director, issuing the latest word on whether the Portland company might be interested in developing a brew pub and 100-room hotel and conference center at the former Catholic seminary on park grounds.
An April 18 letter from a Lacey developer to the state said an offer to lease the property had been withdrawn, but Rank said on Wednesday that McMenamins didn’t know anything about the letter and was still interested in opening a brew pub on the property.
On Friday, however, Rank said the confusion apparently resulted “from a phone call that wasn’t made,” and now McMenamins is pulling out of possible development plans.
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“Apparently there were changes to zoning, and with those changes, the proposal would be best to be withdrawn,” she said, without elaborating.
State Parks Director Rex Derr said that McMenamins’ withdrawal is believed to be due to a recent Kenmore ordinance that bans establishments that sell alcohol from parks.
“The city of Kenmore action, that eliminated them,” Derr said Friday.
City officials could not be reached for comment late Friday. Rank said she did not know if the alcohol ordinance affected the company’s decision.
McMenamins had proposed spending as much as $15 million redeveloping the property, including restoring the rapidly deteriorating former seminary, built in 1931.
Rank said McMenamins might still be interested in the location if something changes.
“There’s always a possibility,” she said.
Meanwhile, Derr said the state Parks and Recreation Commission expects to take several months to do an assessment of the seminary building, which was last used in 1977.
The commission had been expected to decide on development guidelines for the park and seminary building Thursday. While the commission voted in favor of a park-management plan to keep the western part of the property in a natural condition, it also voted to delay a decision on the building.
Instead, it voted to spend $1 million on an assessment before making any decisions on possible uses for the building.
“We’re not in a rush,” Derr said, with a review of the building’s condition and waterproofing work likely to take six to 12 months.
The 316-acre site along the northeast corner of Lake Washington is generally seen as the last such swath of undeveloped land along the lake, a rare forested setting in the middle of an urban area with millions of people.
McMenamins proposed rehabilitating the building in 2005, noting that many of the outlets it has opened since 1983 have been in historic structures.
The proposal to put a brewery and pub in the park led to formation of a community group that opposed having a brewery in the natural setting.
“Can I say, ‘Yeah!’ ” said Ann Hurst of the Citizens for St. Edward Park, which had opposed commercial development at the park.
“You got my enthusiasm up.”
Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.