Council decides to move ahead with Landmark 99 project work

Aerial view of the 10-acre Landmark 99 property.

By a 4-3 vote, the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night decided to continue exploring whether the city should acquire the $37 million Landmark 99 property.

The council in June voted to authorize Mayor Mike Nelson to sign an option agreement for the 10-acre Landmark site, located at the southern edge of Edmonds’ Highway 99 neighborhood. The agreement included a refundable deposit of $100,000 to hold the property — home to the Burlington Coat Factory and Antique Mall businesses — for six months, giving the city time to conduct public engagement and further study the idea. Under the agreement approved by the council Tuesday, the $100,000 will no longer be refundable if the city choses after further study to walk away from the project.

Since June, staff and consultants have been gathering public input for ways to use the property, culminating in three possible concepts that were presented Nov. 18 — the second of two public meetings on the topic. A range of possible uses were offered based on public input, from a pedestrian promenade to open green space, a community center to retail stores, a branch library, a police annex, a recreation/aquatics center and apartments.

The three Landmark 99 concepts presented Nov. 18.

Tuesday’s vote came after councilmembers heard from about a dozen residents — testifying both in person and remotely — who were evenly split on supporting and opposing the proposal. Comments ranged from those decrying the idea of considering such a large purchase when Edmonds faces considerable budget challenges in 2024, to those urging the city to invest in a long-neglected part of town. Residents of the Highway 99 neighborhood who offered comments were particularly passionate about seeing the project move forward.

One area resident noted that the project “would serve an underserved and underrepresented population,” and added that staff have eagerly listened to the ideas and concerns of neighborhood residents. “Do not let this great work and this great opportunity end tonight,” she said.

The support of Highway 99 residents was also reflected in the results of a citizen-driven survey conducted from Nov. 28-Dec. 4. Commenter Theresa Hollis, who lives off Highway 99 and helped design the online survey, told the council that 873 residents responded, with their locations identified by corresponding U.S. Census tracts. Of those respondents, 9% (75 votes) came from area area east of Highway 99 to the Ballinger neighborhood and 8% (71 votes) came from the neighborhood west of Highway 88 to north Westgate. A total of 72% of survey respondents east of Highway 99 supported the project, while 49% of those west of the highway and north Westgate did. By comparison, only 19% of downtown residents and 26% of those living in the Bowl were in favor. (You can see the complete survey summary here.)

Despite those results, Hollis cautioned that the numbers in her “amateurish” survey don’t necessarily reflect what the majority of the Edmonds residents think about the project — any more than recent city-conducted surveys do. She instead encouraged the council to vote against continuing the Landmark effort and retrieve the city’s $100,000 deposit. “If in 18-20 months from now, if a single admin assistant needs to get laid off from the City of Edmonds because we don’t have the cash for payroll, and we cancel the project and we lost that $100K, you are going to have to reckon with me,” Hollis said.

Citizen comments were followed by a presentation from city staff members taking the lead on the project — Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin and Community Services and Economic Development Director Todd Tatum. The two reviewed past information the council has received on the Landmark proposal and also reiterated the idea of possible public/private partnerships for the proposal. They also noted that the city did ask for “expressions of interest” from developers and received four responses from those who suggested a range of uses, from affordable housing to senior housing to commercial, medical office and civic projects.

Tatum then shared that anticipated costs for 2024 were between $245,000 and $290,000, which would include an environmental survey, real estate consulting, preparation of a development agreement, and communication and outreach. There would also be a significant amount of staff time devoted to the project, he said.

McLaughlin said that staff has identified $375,000 to cover those 2024 costs, including a $75,000 grant that the city is negotiating with Snohomish County and $300,000 that is available from the city’s portion of the state’s Affordable and Supportive Housing Sales & Use Tax.

Edmonds City Councilmember Jenna Nand

Councilmembers then began asking questions and expressing their opinions on the measure. Speaking in support, Councilmember Jenna Nand said it was important to the Highway 99 community that work continue on the Landmark proposal. Nand said the city has 15 months to decide whether to execute the agreement, and added the city is “in the driver’s seat” in terms of setting conditions for the project. Also speaking in support, Councilmember Susan Paine pointed to those commenters asking for “parity and equity across Edmonds.” Newly-elected Councilmember Chris Eck also indicated her intent to support the measure, describing it as “an opportunity to address many of the community needs that we’ve been hearing for quite a long time.”

Citing concerns about city budget challenges, Councilmembers Vivian Olson and Diane Buckshnis spoke against the measure. Olson mentioned that housing has become a main discussion point for the project — with the Housing Authority of Snohomish County expressing interest in establishing low-income housing on the site — and wondered “why would we (Edmonds) need to be in the middle?”

Councilmember Will Chen said he was grateful that staff had identified funds in 2024 to cover the project costs, thus not impacting the city’s distressed general fund.

Council President Neil Tibbott

Council President Neil Tibbott, who hadn’t yet weighed in, then made a motion to reject the staff recommendation for the mayor to sign the amended option agreement. Tibbott said he was one of the earlier supporters of the project and was open to learning more about possible options for implementing the idea. But when the council traveled to three neighboring cities last Friday to see examples of public/private partnership developments, Tibbott said he was “underimpressed with the development agreements that they had in place” and was concerned about percentage of space taken up by housing.

The council president also said he was worried about the timing of the projects in light of the city’s budget woe’s and the lack of time the city has to build community consensus to support the project. He also suggested that there were other options for Highway 99 improvements — both in terms of locations and ideas — that the city should be exploring.

Councilmember Nand replied that she did not want to see other entities — whether that be the county or private developers — taking the lead on deciding what will be located on the Burlington Coat Factory property. Such a stance “is not forward looking, I don’t think it’s economically wise for our city and I for one am not looking forward to sitting in the back seat and seeing what somebody else with vision and courage decides to do with this property,” Nand said.

Tibbott’s motion to end the city’s work on the Landmark 99 project failed by a 3-4 vote, with Tibbott, Buckshnis and Olson voting yes. Nand then made a motion to approve the amended option agreement and that passed 4-3, with Chen, Eck and Paine joining Nand in supporting the measure.

The proposal approved by the council Tuesday night authorizes the city to sign amendments to the June option agreement, setting in motion several actions to further determine the project’s feasibility. These include:

1. Advertising a request for proposals (RFP) to the development community seeking a partner in the purchase and construction of the site.

2. Selecting a partner, or partners.

3. Continuing to develop a master plan for the site.

4. Negotiating a development agreement that outlines the terms and the public benefits.

5. Negotiating the assignment of a portion of the city’s right to purchase to the developer or developers.

6. Developing and securing approval for, a financing plan based off the items negotiated in the development agreement and any net costs.

In other business, the council decided to move adoption of the 2024-2029 Capital Facilities Plan and Capital Improvement Program to a special meeting that Tibbott said is being scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11.

The council also continued its 2024 budget deliberations, with one amendment from Councilmember Olson approved: reducing a $5,000 interfund transfer to the Edmonds Sister City Commission account, as the commission doesn’t need the funds in 2024.

— By Teresa Wippel
  1. After several articles pointing out how the city is worried about the budget and trying to find thousands of dollars, it’s flabbergasting to see the council still going forward with a project that has doubtful positive ouotcomes and will cost millions.

    Furthermore, is it not enough to see the money squandering with very negative outcome on the 9th Ave South’s bicycle lane that did nothing but compromising traffic and safety there and looks abandoned mid-project? What will be done to fix that mess that looks done by drunkards?

    What’s being done about the city security? I live near downtown Edmonds and some low life stole my car’s catalytic converter on my driveway. An acquaintance had hers stolen while parked on a downtown street. When I filed the report, the police confirmed this is locally growing crime. My parents in law live even nearer to downtown and their building’s storage unit was broken into during Thanksgiving. Is the city expecting its population to take care of our security on our own hands?

    There are much more pressing issues to take care and the very limited budget requires being very judicious. I hope that the incoming administration does a better job than the outgoing one.

  2. I Don’t know why I’m surprised at this stupidity, but I am. What a waste of money. I know I’ll remember the four irresponsible council members who voted for this ugly development.

    1. Brenda, I don’t know if the 4 who voted yes are irresponsible as you described or have a different set of decision making criteria. The the deed is done (as Shakespeare wrote). The council inherently approved the purchase and sale agreement that was negotiated by an unnamed person on behalf of the City, while having no plan (yet) on how to finance the project. Do you think the Dec 5th. vote has the impact that the Waterfront Connector vote had several years ago? Will it determine who gets voted out of office in 2 years by the majority of the Edmonds voters? The positions held by Eck, Chen, and Tibbott will be up for election.

      1. Don’t forget CODE!! We have inadequate code for Developer Agreements, few multi-family design standards andno housing standards – to name a few. The City Council requested an updated environmental impact statement in that area LAST year and was ignored – so now even the environment will be challenged.

        I did lots of research and talked to developers, architects, engineers and commercial real estate brokers and all opined this “off-market” $37mm price is WAY over-valued and why??? It is taxpayers’ money we’re playing with?!?

        CM Chen should have listened to CP Tibbott as his amendment was to spread the risk with County; but in order to do that – he had to vote to walk away and start over. But unfortunately the simple majority has been in charge of pushing this expensive project along and so here we go again – it may be democracy but when you exclude the financial aspect anything goes! This project will cripple the City In bandwidth and we are back to highly paid consultants rewriting our City’s vision.

        Since we’ve yet to receive updated complete financials and you’ve seen how fractured the budget process has been, my financial “think tank” believes the “burn rate” will force us into borrowing early next year – so I hope we are wrong.

        We all need to pull together on these serious financial issues.

        1. I appreciate your ‘no-nonse’ approach CM. I don’t understand why moral ‘wants’ trump fiscal realities. Populism is one hell of a drug, let’s hope the hangover doesn’t hurt too bad.

      2. Just a bit more Shakespeare, if I may:

        …but I will hope
        Of better deeds to-morrow. Rest you happy!
        -Anthony and Cleopatra

        Foul deeds will rise,
        Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.

    2. I couldn’t agree more. What are our CM thinking??
      Obviously not the short budget we keep hearing about. Unreal

    3. I was at last night’s council meeting, and I am shocked at Councilman Will Chen’s vote to move forward with this projects exploration. He was the person who blew the whistle so loudly claiming bankruptcy for our city. Mr. Chen, if you feel our city is in financial jeopardy, why on earth would you vote to spend money we don’t have? Please answer this question publicly. The citizens concerned with our city’s finances would like an answer.

      1. Councilmember Chen definitely showed a conflicting and questionable professional aptitude. Maybe he’s more interested in moving up the political hierarchy than his CPA business?

      2. He stated publically that his business is close by on the Highway 99 corridor at last week’s meeting. He understands that a large influx of people will add dollars to the area, and perhaps also to his business. The problem is he has a poor understanding of economic cycles and is likely doing this for moralistic reasons.

  3. CM Nand has once again shown that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. She said something to the effect that “if the City doesn’t engage with our money we would have no say or control over what gets developed”. Absolutely not true as the city clearly has the ability to control what happens there. It was disappointing that no other CM corrected what she had said.

    CM Eck should have abstained from voting as she has been a CM for one week and has only very recently moved into Edmonds after loosing in a Primary election in Lynnwood.

    1. @Ron Wambolt: When do you think an appropriate time period needs to pass before a newly elected CM should vote? She was duly elected and as a result, has a vote. I’m not quibbling about her election or what election she lost before she wonthis sea–just any CM’s right to vote once they are sworn in.

      1. Pamela:
        It depends on the complexity of the issue being voted on. There was much to know and to understand about the Landmark issue. Eck should not ever had to decide whether to vote and how to vote. The issue should have been voted on at the council meeting prior to her joining the council.

        1. Well, Ron, whether it should or shouldn’t have been voted prior to her swearing in, is there any place in any of the rules of governance for Edmonds, that a new CM should recuse herself or himself because the issue is too complex to know and understand? Or, with all due respect, is it just your own personal opinion, or what you would do if you were a brand spanking new CM?

      2. Pam:
        There are no government rules that should have prevented a brand new council member from voting. But when you are also a brand new resident of our city, good judgement should have caused her to abstain from voting. During my four years as a council member I observed that was the practice that most members followed.

        1. It’s Pamela. Thank you Ron for explaining about good judgment of prior council members who had just moved to Edmonds, got voted on to the Council & abstained from voting on complex, on-going matters. I had no idea that was the accepted & expected protocol in Edmonds. Never heard of it before. I wonder if that is the protocol in other municipalities? I wish the city wld give a time period for new residents where no payment for services or sales tax wld be reqd until we have lived here long enough.

        2. Then how about residents who have lived here in Edmonds for 20+ years being excused to pay taxes that will finance projects they are against (financially demonstrated why), forced on them by new residents trying to impose policies that failed where they came from? I think many would go for that.

    2. Elections have consequences. We recently got rid of the “Gang of Four”, but we have replaced them the “Twins” (CM’s Paine and Eck) who have joined up with CM Nand. Those 3 have their own agenda which will never be changed by facts. I am surprised at Mr Chen’s vote. As an accountant, he should know better.

      1. Mr. Chaffee, I notice that you use “nicknames” for various CMs, particularly apparently if you do not like the cut of their gib. Seems pejorative and not helpful to the conversation nor in keeping with the fact they are elected officials, whether you approve or not. Nor do sweeping generalizations, such as “those 3 have their own agenda which will never be changed by facts.” At the very last, perhaps you could say “in my opinion I think those 3….”. Obviously your mind is never going to be changed by my opinion. But the nicknames & sweeping statements rankle me, and that’s my personal opinion.

      2. Bob,

        CM Nand seems to be driving this financial fiasco based on her neighborhood equity plan (her neighborhood) and making critical decisions with our tax money and Edmond’s budget shortfalls (let’s raise property taxes). She doesn’t want the “private sector” doing as it does. The private sector has money and expertise and drives job development and pays taxes. What city would not want private sector investment? She is making these decisions for us even though she has never been “elected” to council, she was appointed (why?) and then ran unopposed. More a statement about Edmonds’ voters than Ms. Nand. Mr Rosen, please save us.

  4. Very disappointing but expected. The decision had already been made in November on election night. Eagerly looking forward to 2024 with new leadership in the city. Hoping that Mayor Rosen and staff will give it the “attention” that it deserves.

  5. I am pleased Edmonds will continue to explore options for developing this property! I appreciate that funds have been found to cover the cost for the next year. Thank you, council members, for your thoughtfulness and hard work on this issue. This can be a positive development for our city.

    1. Judy, the $300k wasn’t actually ‘found’ . The fund for sales tax receipts that are earmarked for low income housing has been in existence for several years. Director McLaughlin is forecasting that by next year, that fund balance will be $300k. City of Edmonds has not spent one dime building low income housing. I personally think it’s a stretch to spend all $300K on consultants for the Landmark 99 project unless 80- 100% of the project is planned as low income housing. To pass the certified management accountant exam many years ago I had to demonstrate my knowledge of ethical practices in financial management. So this budgeting strategy bothers me. For planning low income housing, Director McLaughlin just needs to pick up the phone and call HASCO because that is the government agency we have an inter local agreement with. She doesn’t need to spend $300k. Rather, spend that $300k on construction costs- it will probably build 2 apartments. Like the saying goes- every little bit helps.

    2. Same Judy! I keep going back and forth on if I want the city to ultimately buy/develop the property but it seems like too good an good opportunity to pass up. I’m glad we will have more time to consider it.

    3. I am also excited about this project. I have (hopefully) at least 4+ decades ahead of me in Edmonds, and I would like to have more in my neighborhood in easy walking/biking/bussing distance. I’m looking forward to engaging more on this vision!

    4. It’s Pamela. Thank you Ron for explaining about good judgment of prior council members who had just moved to Edmonds, got voted on to the Council & abstained from voting on complex, on-going matters. I had no idea that was the accepted & expected protocol in Edmonds. Never heard of it before. I wonder if that is the protocol in other municipalities? I wish the city wld give a time period for new residents where no payment for services or sales tax wld be reqd until we have lived here long enough.

  6. I am proud to have made the motion last night to authorize the mayor to exercise the amended option agreement for $100,000 on the Burlington Coat Factory property. This will give our city 15 months to continue the exploration of this project and see whether we can find viable funding partners to help us direct growth on this 10 acre parcel along Highway 99. As staff discussed at last night’s meeting, specific funding sources that do not impact the General Fund and cannot be used for other purposes will support the master planning and due diligence activity on this project until we make a final decision about whether to proceed or not. 

    I would rather that the city stay in the driver’s seat and be able to direct growth and uses that are community-driven and community-focused than for us to passively watch as the private sector does what it will with the Corridor. That has been the city’s failed strategy towards the Highway 99 community for decades.

    As I said it last night’s meeting, our city has a duty to our previously annexed areas, and our potentially future annexed areas, to reinvest taxpayer money equitably throughout our city’s jurisdiction. We are one city and we have a duty to improve the quality of life in all of our neighborhoods.

    1. Councilmember Jenna Nand, I suspect both Council President Neil Tibbott’s Motion and your Motion made last evening related to Landmark, were out of order. Edmonds City Council delayed action on former Councilmember Dave Teitzel’s Main Motion during the November 6th Council Meeting. Action on that Main Motion was postponed to the December 5th Council Meeting. Council failed to address that last evening.

      I suspect Councilmember Teitzel’s Main Motion is still before Council and two different Main Motions made last evening could not be made while that is the case.

      Please expand on your representation that the city has a duty to “our potentially future annexed areas”. Please explain to all how that works and what RCW or City Code supports that concept. Thank you.

    2. Thank you CM Nand for your forward thinking representation for all of Edmonds. I applaud your stand and look forward to the creative and collaborative promises of the new administration showing up for an equitable and egalitarian solution to this decision.

    3. It seems that every CM in support of the plan is in support for moralistic reasons; “It’s time we serve an underserved area”, and “we need to spend funding throughout our community equitably”. Everyone opposed was speaking for financial reasons.

      Furthermore ‘affordable apartments’ subsidized by taxpayers do nothing to change the root issue of unaffordable housing, a national issue, that is in large part due to declining real wages and inflationary pressures which have persisted over the last 50 years. While rental inflation has tracked almost 1:1 with CPI, the cost of home ownership has outpaced CPI, since 1963, almost 3:1. If you were genuinely concerned about housing affordability, you would focus on the unaffordability of home ownership, not subsidized apartments, which have tracked the declining value in the dollar 1:1 since 1963. It’s ironic, that while a lack of supply is often quoted as the driving issue, governmental parties have met only half the need; not just an increase in supply but an increase in the supply of homes for sale is needed.

  7. CM Chen stated financial reasons for not proceeding with the purchase and then he voted for it. He’s obviously controlled by the Mayor or his party. Three other CM’s – Paine, Nand, and Eck – are in the same situation. We’ll find out in January if it was the Mayor or is the party.

    1. Why would you say they are controlled? Would you say the other three CMs are controlled by the former and incoming mayors and their party? Maybe all of them took in the information, analyzed it and came to their own conclusions.

  8. I will admit, I was hesitant to watch last night, but was pleasantly surprised at the outcome and was very pleased to see some council members see the urgency in looking at improving the quality of life for our southeast Edmonds neighbors now instead of continuing to say someday we’ll consider it. It’s truly about time.
    I would also say that the way this vote fell gives a pretty strong argument for council districting within Edmonds.

  9. Well I couldn’t think of anything constructive to say earlier, but Brenda took the words right out of my mouth, only nicer. Yes, do NOT forget the 4 CC that definitely are in over their heads. Stupid, stupid, costly project no
    matter how you look at it. BUT there are people that have to learn the hard way, sadly, THEY are not the only ones that will feel it! However, I said a long time ago, it was VERY apparent that train was coming down the track with no one running it. So, no surprise. I sure hope the next administration doesn’t operate by the seat of its pants as the current one has.

  10. It looks to me like the city is overpaying for this property. Something that really caught my attention was when Councilmember Diane Buckshnis said that she had consulted people in the real estate business who told her that the price the city agreed to pay is too high. It certainly appears to me that city has agreed to pay an above-market price for a commercial parcel that they intend to use as vacant land. That makes zero sense to me.

    But what really surprised me was the apparent lack of interest by some of the council members into probing what the property might actually be worth. A simple commercial appraisal at a cost of under $10,000 would tell the city council they are overpaying for this property. It appears to me that certain council members have adopted a worthy goal of paying attention to an underserved part of the city but with no concern for the taxpayers’ pocketbooks.

      1. Are those available to the public? I spent most of my professional life as a real estate broker and I would be very interested in studying those appraisals, if that is at all possible. the numbers just do not make sense to me.

  11. Unbelievable!…..Edmonds has so many other pressing NEEDS, we can’t afford to spend this type of taxpayer money on some Barbie dream project. If we had a huge surplus with nothing to spend it on, maybe…. but from what I have read, our budget is already in bad shape. These council members need to explain their reasoning on why they feel this is more important to the city of Edmonds taxpayers than completing needed work that impacts everyone in Edmonds. Completely irresponsible.

  12. I too disagree with the decision about the Landmark site purchase, but purely on financial terms. Had a much more reasonable price been negotiated, then I may have shown more interest.

    With all the debate that will continue to happen on this, I would like to step back and give a shoutout to CP Tibbott. Not captured in the above article, last night he gave a very eloquent speech about our city’s ability to overcome obstacles. I’m not going to try to do it justice here by paraphrasing, but if someone can link the video clip I would encourage all to listen. Well said CP Tibbott!

  13. I like the idea of somehow giving more weight to the desires of the residents in the immediately surrounding area over the hot takes of residents in downtown/ bowl. Also proud of city for exploring creative funding mechanisms despite losing the grant writer position. High five, city!

    Curious if we have anyone in our charming and scrappy community with these skills who can donate their time to some research of other potential money we can pursue to make this happen. Pretty please?

  14. I sympathize with much of what has been said, both pro and con. But perhaps the most telling and potentially useful comment I think is the one by Samuel Spencer. I too have been wondering how the asking price became the purchase price. Has no one in city gov had experience with real estate negotiations? Why isn’t an independent appraisal part of the process? I know some city council members review these MEN comments. I hope someone in the planning dept is paying similar attention.

        1. they’re confidential, and presented to council in their executive session. they were briefly mentioned during the nov 28th council meeting

      1. Theresa, you must know that both appraisals were opined at “highest and best use” and as a former regulator familiar with commercial appraisals, I question some of the content.

        The Council should have have and executive session with first appraisal to discuss this purchase. It didn’t happen and many watched the “trust us” dynamics and the final vote of only three CMs moved this project forward.

        In that interim, because the City had done little to fulfill recommendations in the Hwy 99 subarea Environmental Impact Statement (2017 EIS), the Council had to repeal Ordinance #4079. That ordinance was a environmentally progressive for any developer as it allowed developers a “free pass” on environmental detailed analyses. But, nothing happened as a pandemic hit all industries. Then a seven story project was conceived across the street from residential housing and boom – a moratorium took effect in line with the EIS design standards. The developer walked but I suspect they are still around as lots of $$ can be made on Landmark as City has bad developer’s agreement code.

        For those that think they have been excluded on 99 need to remember the cycle of the financial and economical environment. For the administration to exclude these important implications during their initial presentation and focused only on investigating “utopia” became confusing at best. It’s sad all around.

  15. I’m stunned after declaring a financial crisis (possibly even bankruptcy) that four CM’s would vote to go forward with this project. Vivian’s analysis was spot on.

  16. This project, this bright shiny thing, is a great deal for any potential developer.
    In the middle of a budget crisis, the City looked under the cushions of the couch and was able to scrape together $325,000 to cover costs in 2024, ($75,000 of which is still under negotiation.) This money, the city’s money, will go to pay for things, like an environmental impact statement, that a developer would normally have to pay for. Plus, there will be a significant amount of staff time devoted to the project. Staff time costs money. City staff will be doing things that would normally be done by the developer’s staff. Of course, we’ll have to hire consultants. Good deal for a developer. To state what should be obvious, developers are good at developing projects; the city isn’t.
    Imagine a future where the city and a developer work together to create a glorious project, one that will make the city proud, a monument to our Brigadoon. Both city and developer invest millions of dollars. Then costs go up as they always do, and the developer walks away. The city is on the hook for millions of dollars. Bankruptcy looms. Unlike the Federal Government the City of Edmonds can’t print money. Years of litigation follow.
    At this point, I suggest saying goodbye to the $100,000, calling it the price of education, and concentrate on sewers and sidewalks.

  17. Well I guess if we want 800 units of low income housing I can’t think of a better place to put it. It will just add to the existing problems in that area heck we can rename it the red light district the motels will be full and the street will showcase the available merchandise the green space will make a nice open air drug market I see it being much like the area of hwy 99 just north of the cemetery. Not to mention all the traffic that will be going thru the neighborhood you will have paradise by the dashboard lights all thru the area. Careful what you wish for a Amazon warehouse doesn’t so bad after all now does it. Good thing the city is in the driver’s seat. Best of luck to those living in the area your gonna need it cause the train has left the station on this one.

  18. OMG. The fiscal stupidity by the city council in Edmonds never ends. In a “fiscal emergency/budget crisis”, there’s no universe where pursuing this makes sense. None.

  19. A fiasco in the making. Reckless use of taxpayer money that will end up going down the drain when they finally figure out what the true cost of developement will be. Make no mistake this is the progressives on the Council wanting low income housing in Edmonds at any cost. Remember the names of Chen and Nan when the next council races happen in two years. They need to be held accountable for their lack of judgement.

  20. The next generations of Edmonds residents will be grateful to the 4 councilmembers who have the courage to stand for the future. These are the types of projects that shape cities, increase livability, and can have a positive impact on city revenues. (And potentially taking some of the burden off property taxes!)

    So much misinformation in these comments: a purchase price has NOT been determined, nor has the decision to purchase been made. Hopefully MEN will correct the assumptions and outright lies.

    The true stupidity would be to allow this opportunity to pass without fully exploring the options. THANK YOU CMs Chen, Eck, Nand, and Paine!!

    1. You are correct that the decision to purchase has not yet been locked into, but the only purchase price we have the “agreed to” right to move on is 37M.

      At any other price, we have no status and it is starting a new negotiation (like it would have been if we started over).

      1. Hello CM, are you aware that land prices tend to peak 12-18, even as much as 36 months before the peak in real estate values? It was true in ’05, ’88, etc., and will likely be true this cycle as well (this phenomenon has been experienced since 1819 except for one cycle in the 1950s). It’s outrageous to think that the city has agreed to purchase land at the absolute peak (+/-5%) of this cycle, with all those in favor placing almost no weight on the broader economic climate in their decision. Moralistic populism is cheap, and the hangover is severe. The seller is wise to sell before 2026; I would be doing the same, cashing in on the full cycle of gains. I fear they are receiving greater counsel than we are. Furthermore, I’m not sure how subsidized apartments address the issue of housing unaffordability. Rental inflation has tracked CPI 1:1 since 1963. The real issue is the cost of home ownership, which has outpaced rental inflation almost 3:1. Often cited to blame is a lack of supply, the need here is a greater supply of homes FOR SALE, not for rent. In a dream world, these homes would be offered as rent-to-own, which would genuinely mean something in the fight against unaffordability. The goal, supposedly, is equity, just not for the tenants.

    2. please read the council meeting packet for Dec 5th, and listen to the questions the attorney answered during the meeting. the purchase and sale agreement was already negotiated, the price and closing date are set. and that contract is attached to the document they instructed the mayor to sign. this is why some neighbors are appalled at the process that was used. some meeting observers don’t even know the purchase agreement was already negotiated.

    3. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will it take to come up with a purchase price?

  21. When we start firing staff and not replacing police officers, I wonder if these folks are still going to be as popular? Budgeting is pretty simple. When you run out of money you have to quit buying stuff or go bankrupt and start over buying stuff after X number of years. As far as I’m concerned these folks are just as welcome to their unaffordable wants, as the people downtown are welcome to theirs; like the missing link and preserving Unocal. You can’t fix ignorant; and for the most part our city government has been doing ignorant and non critical to city functionality things for the past fifty some years. As I said before, this is no surprise. Meanwhile sidewalks are buckling, pot holes are getting deeper, roofs keep leaking and we are hauling our poop solids to landfills somewhere.

  22. Wow! The contempt of some posts regarding the CMs is jaw-dropping. Who on earth would EVER in the future want to run for that job? I could nominate several here who surely would do such a much better and smarter job based on their posts. I am not going to criticize any of the current CMs. But I did hope that the decision on the Landmark project would be postponed until the new mayor comes in, not because I’m for or against him, but because the current mayor is what is known as (you all know these words) a “lame duck” and we could but wait just a few weeks & then go at this. I’d like to see what the mayor elect will do with this project & then read the comments, complaints, criticisms or kudos about him. Can’t wait. Going out to get some popcorn for that time.

  23. I am thrilled that we are moving forward with the possibility of this purchase. Those of us directly nearby are counting on something great to be developed there. My property line is shared with this lot and I am exhausted from listening to the affluent people of the bowl complain about this project. As a homeowner with young kids who has to deal with the crime that takes place on this lot, I am looking forward to having a say in what goes in on this space, yes, even if it’s 7%. Over here on the other side of 99 we have been paying for all the other projects, hoping that our time will come.

    1. After viewing the most recent drawing of the 3 options being considered, I note that 242nd will be one of the 2or 3 entrances to the property. I wonder how residents on that street feel about it becoming a thoroughfare. Those on 240th will also very likely have a significant traffic increase.

      1. Add on top of it that “poor income housing” has historically brought in drug gangs and crime. It also has the collateral effect of the druggies leaving their needles spread all over the place, as demonstrated in several Seattle parks, which became a drug and crime cesspool. Parents cannot even bring their kids there anymore.
        Did the people who vote for this consider this issue? Did they consider a police budget increase?
        Right beside that place, Home Depot locked many aisles because of shoplifting. I read Costco is reviewing its self-checkout because of shoplifting.
        From there is only gests worse as we can see in crime cesspools like Seattle, San Francisco, New York, LA, Chicago, and other “utopias” that follow this mindset and policies.
        Furthermore, trying the old “divide them” playbook with the use of vitriolic such as “affluent side” vs. “the other side of 99” is despicable and brings nothing to this discussion where we are trying to discuss it objectively. It will impact all Edmonds’ population if it goes south and taxes go up besides cutting other services to pay for something that might end up abandoned in the middle, such as the drunkard 9th Ave half-backed “bicycle lane”.
        I don’t want Edmonds becoming like the cesspool Seattle did.

    2. Nothing like adding a little class warfare into the discussion. All Edmonds taxpayers have paid for the sewers, water, streets, police, fire and parks in your area for decades. Major dollars went into fixing sewage and drainage problems that plagued Lake Ballinger for years and it all gets pumped to the bowl treatment plant. Highest value properties pay the most property taxes so, yes that means bowl residents have been paying a lot towards services in your area over the years. I am tired of this “we don’t get nothing attitude” because it is not true. We should not be pitting neighborhoods against each other.

      The City is cash strapped so why should it be considering a very expensive property development ? If this was a good deal a private developer would be doing it.

  24. Hi All
    On the topic of appraisals and pricing:
    When the city planners reported to council there was a section titled “Appraisals and comparables”
    But only comparable were listed. And in reporting the landmark 99 price it was referred to as a negotiated price of 37 million. Glad to hear there is a suggestion of negotiations but the agreed on price per square foot is at the high end of presented comparables. I would suggest that in the current market that might not be the best price possible. Perhaps there is a point to renew negotiations unless the city has already signed a contract that prevents it. For those supporting the project in general it would help in attracting developers to have an attractive base price to work with. Maybe that is the current state but would love more info from city including appraisals.

  25. The 12/05 vote surely would have been different if Mr. Teitzel were still a CM. Would someone please explain why Ms Eck was already sworn-in when Dr. Dotsch hasn’t been?

    1. Shirley:
      You are certainly right that the vote would have been different had Teitzel still been a council member. Teitzel was appointed by council to fill a vacant position. Appointed terms end when the election is certified – which was Nov. 28th. Those elected, like Dotsch, begin their terms on Jan. 1st.

    2. Shirley, Chris Eck was elected to fill the remaining term of the late Christiana Johnson. So she was sworn in right away. The candidates who won their races for a new term are sworn in at the January council meeting. To add complexity, and a complete explanation, Dave Teitzel was appointed by the Council to fill Christiana’s position until the next general election.

  26. The improper decision to proceed with Landmark can still be reversed before our city gets hit with the $100,000 expense. No matter how great a purchase this could possibly be, we just don’t have the money to do it. At the end of 2021 our city had an ending fund balance of $15.9M; the projection for the end of 2023 is that all we will have left is $3M!

    A council member who voted in the majority can introduce a motion to reconsider at a meeting before the end of December. The logical CM to do that is CM Chen as he reminded everyone at the last meeting the terrible financial aspects of this issue, and then he voted for it! CM Chen, you were elected to represent our entire city so please do that now.

    1. CM Chen definitely has a problem because his stories don’t match up with his assertion that the city is on the road to bankruptcy. Next year the city will not have the ARPA money for a bail out, will not have deferred maintenance money for bailing, CM Paine’s cash grab red light scheme is dubious, interest rates will probably remain historically high, and there’s considerable senses that the country will be in a recession next year which will reduce revenues. Understandably it’s going take Chen guts to ask for a motion to reconsider but the long run he will look heroic.

  27. Thank you Theresa and Ron for your clarifications. I do support CM Chen to introduce a motion to reconsider!

  28. The simple truth is we once again have four very progressive and hard left leaning people sitting on our City Council for the next two years. Mr. Chen is between the proverbial rock and a hard place, which is why much of his Council voting makes no sense. He’s trying to have it both ways and to please everyone which is not possible.

    Mr. Rosen is going to have much the same problem from the administrative viewpoint, unless he makes an early, clear, and, probably a little harsh, statement that only our absolute needs will be addressed until the financial crisis has abated and there is some money to spare on wants. The city will soon be borrowing money by issuing bonds and/or putting large tax levies on the ballot; because mandated issues like fire service and infrastructure creation and maintenance have been neglected in favor of fluff projects like Civic Field and wasted planning money of defunct legacy projects like the Connector. All of us who have earned and accumulated a little something in life will have to pay up here or move somewhere else. That’s just the facts, Mam.

  29. @Clinton Wright “…. because mandated issues like fire service and infrastructure creation and maintenance have been neglected in favor of fluff projects like Civic Field and wasted planning money of defunct legacy projects like the Connector.”

    That’s just an opinion, Sir.

      1. @Ron Wombolt “fluff” is not a fact unless you are speaking of fluffernutter, of course.

    1. Barry, please feel free to present all your “alternative facts” to refute my comments that you consider just opinions. It’s a definite fact that Civic Field went well over budget and that it was not a project that was essential to the basic good function of our city. Thousands of dollars were spent on the design and planning of the Connector on the pretext of the city badly needing emergency ingress and egress from the waterfront area to mitigate some sort of pending catastrophic event that has yet to occur. If you look at our long range planning your will see three major (as yet almost totally unfunded) projects officially on the books (actions already taken to try to make them happen). We have the 37 million dollar Landmark project, the Missing Link Beach Walk segment priced at an absurdly low 800K, and an understanding to buy the Unocal Property at an as yet unknown figure along with the possibility of an expensive clean up cost passed onto us. None of this is basic city stuff and it all has to be paid for, on top of the basics. Please tell me how I’m just spouting opinion here. I’m all ears on this.

      1. Clinton – I responded to your first missive (December 8, 2023 at 10:45 am) and considered the following to be opinion, rather than fact.

        “….four very progressive and hard left leaning people …”
        “…fluff projects like Civic Field…”
        “…legacy projects like the Connector…”

        Re: your December 9, 2023 at 1:31 pm comment – You wrote, ” It’s a definite fact that Civic Field went well over budget and that it was not a project that was essential to the basic good function of our city”. I agree that going over budget is a fact. But, “…it was not a project that was essential to the basic good function of our city.” is your opinion.

        Reasonable people can, and will, disagree over what is “basic good function”, which is why we have a city council to sort these kinds of things out. And why we have elections to choose who decides these issues.

  30. Barry, I don’t see how you can make any plausible or reasonable argument that the Civic Field remake was somehow essential to the basic good function of the city; with the exception that the rotten bleachers did need to come down because they were becoming a public health and safety hazard. I will certainly concede to you the fact that people tend to believe what they want to believe when it comes to all things political, including city politics. That said, I always try to base my comments on what I observe in terms of what people actually do, rather than what they say. The bottom line for me is that we are all going to have to pay for whatever decisions these people we elect make in the name of what we need to be a functional city. My observation is that these four individuals that have all asked for support in the past from our more liberal political party have already started the tendency to vote on council in a block pattern based on where they live in town and what political party they affiliate with. Time will tell which one of us is more correct in our views about what the real facts are about what we need and what we can afford.

    1. @Clinton Wright I don’t know your status in regard to whether you have ever been on City Council but if not, I wonder why you haven’t run for a position since you seem to be unhappy with those whom you describe as receiving support from the “more liberal political party”. Does that infer that if at least 5 or more CMs were known by you to have recd support from the “more conservative political party”, & voted in a bloc along those lines, you would be happy? I am not assuming what you seem to be – that certain CMs vote their ” political leanings” & are voting in a “bloc” but you seem to have expertise in this because you have observed it. I had hoped that with the election and a new mayor that those who seemed to be so unhappy with our governance, might be a bit assuaged, but the unhappiness seems to remain because apparently in your observation, there is still a “liberal” voting “bloc”. In fact as I read your observations, I’m now wondering why you didn’t run for mayor?

  31. Pamela, I’m not sure how it is any of your business, why or why not, I do anything but I will tell you that I have not run for city office because I know I’m not young enough or smart enough to do the job right. I was asked by someone I very much admire and respect to run against Susan Paine this time around and I declined to do so for many reasons but you can be happy with the two I gave here. I do like Mike Rosen and I’m rooting for him to make Edmond’s City politics boring, which is his stated goal. My candidate did not win but I will do anything I can to help Rosen, if it is in my wheel house to do so. I lived in Edmonds as a young man when the people that mostly moved in from elsewhere have now done all they can to ruin it, calling it Deadmonds and proceeding to “fix” it with over development and over hype of all types. I love my home, my yard, my family and all my friends and neighbors here, I don’t hate anyone for any reason and I’m a happy man. If you object to my comments and observations feel free not to read them.

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