Carnation seeks developer to build commerical business park

Offices, restaurants and even a hotel could be coming to a 7 acre property in western Carnation

A 7-acre, city-owned property in Carnation is being opened up to development, with the city announcing this week that it had begun seeking a buyer to purchase the land under the condition that they build a commercial business park.

The land, off Larson Avenue next to Tolt McDonald Park, is known as the Schefer Riverfront property. It currently holds one of the city’s two dog parks, but city officials want to make way for office, retail and restaurant space on the property.

City officials said they are hopeful that those updates will make the space a destination for outside visitors — creating greater tax revenue diversity, additional jobs and attracting more patrons to already established businesses downtown.

“This is not just some land in the middle of nowhere. This is right there next to Microsoft, next to Redmond, so we want to emphasize the vitality of our city,” City Manager Ana Cortez said at the June 7 city council meeting.

In a message to the Valley Record, Cortez said the city wants to be more aggressive on its economic development opportunities and is excited about bringing in a developer to revitalize the space. She also pointed out that the city already has a dog park at Valley Memorial Park.

Last week, the city announced that it would be taking bids from potential buyers until Sept. 8, with a selection and process to follow. A development agreement is expected to be finalized at the beginning of next year.

Thus far, the city has a list of over 30 interested developers, according to a city press release. Negotiations are expected to start at $2.4 million.

“This property presents a great economic development opportunity for the future of Carnation,” Mayor Kim Lisk said in a press release, noting that the city expects to welcome over 200 new homes in the future.

Having owned the property since 1999, when the city bought it for half-a-million dollars, the city announced plans to sell the property on its Facebook page back in December 2021.

The property totals 8 acres, but the city is planning to retain a 1 acre segment that holds its sewer system vacuum station, leaving 7 acres available for potential developers.

The property — excluding the section the city plans to retain — was valued at just over $2 million in July of 2021, according to a presentation given to the city council on June 7.

Ricardo Noguera, an economic development consultant working with the city on the project, said the goal of the development includes creating an image change for the city and attracting more residents to downtown businesses, specifically in the afternoon. During the day, residents leave Carnation, Noguera said, leaving no customer base for downtown businesses.

“By attracting businesses to this site, that is going to employ folks to patronize businesses along Tolt Avenue,” Noguera said. “When folks think of Carnation, not only will they think of Carnation Farms and different key businesses, but this site will hopefully support future business that will draw folks from the outside to Carnation.”