Public works yard on Avenue D being prepared for eventual sale
SNOHOMISH — Nearly 10 acres of land along Avenue D near the Snohomish Square shopping center may be up for sale by this time next year.
The acreage, a former county public works yard, might sprout the next Mill Creek Town Center or something similar according to early conjecture, said County Public Works special projects manager Randy Blair.
The commercial-zoned plot has been out of use for a decade after the maintenance operation there was relocated to Cathcart Way.
Developers haven’t been given the chance to lay hands on the hot property because of lengthy cleanups caused by two rounds of contamination that are nearly finished.
The most recent hazard was discovered in 2013. It came from the nearby shopping center owned by Skotdal Enterprises. One of its tenants, a dry cleaner, had leaked solvents into the old yard’s
upper terrace, contaminating nearby groundwater.
Snohomish County completed the first cleanup to remediate contamination after decades of industrial use. The lot served as the county road maintenance and shop facility from the 1930s to 2008.
Skotdal is nearing the end of its voluntary cleanup process. An October letter to the state Department of Ecology details the progress, Blair said.
In return, Ecology is preparing to issue a preliminary letter by the end of the year saying it anticipates the site will likely meet cleanliness standards with no further action to be necessary, said Ecology site manager John Guenther.
“They’re injecting a chemical into the groundwater that reacts with contaminants, that basically breaks it down to nontoxic compounds,” Guenther said.
Letters that formally show the site is cleaned up would help make properties more attractive to buyers.
In 2019, the county plans to hire a consultant to figure out the “highest and best use” for the property, in cooperation with the city, the County Council and County
Executive Dave Somers.
The consultant’s work and the ensuing process could take six to nine months. The county might list the property for sale or lease by the end of next year, according to Blair.
The sale will come several years later than planned: the County had initially expected the all-clear in 2013, before receiving news about the solvent leak.
An Ecology determination that no further action is needed is not a requirement for selling a property. However, it is commonly thought to make sales easier.
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