The Port of Edmonds acquired the Harbor Square properties in 2006 as part of a restructuring related to contamination of some of the land. After a redevelopment effort by the combined owners of the Skippers, Old Safeway and Harbor Square properties, including buildings up to 8-10 stories, failed, the Port decided to pursue redevelopment options of its property independently. In 2009, four alternatives ranging from no change to mixed use up to 5 stories were presented to the public in the summer of 2009 for comment. In addition, the Port visited several community organizations, including ACE, to get comments on those alternatives. In 2011 the Port convened a “steering committee” comprised of representatives of various interest groups in the City to provide input. ACE had two members on the steering committee. That committed met privately to work on a plan for the redevelopment of Harbor Square. In early 2012, the Port mailed a brochure to citizens and began gathering input on additional alternatives. Later that year, the Port presented its initial proposal for the rezone of Harbor Square.
As this process unfolded, ACE studied it and provided input on three separate occasions.
- On April 13, 2012, ACE generally supported the Port proposal, but suggested that some aspects of the plan be re-evaluated and changed. That letter can be reviewed here.
- On December 3, 2012, after the Port failed to seriously consider modifying some of the changes that ACE suggested, ACE withdrew its support because it believed some of the changes were not in the best interest of the City and particularly the Downtown Waterfront Activity Center and Harbor Square. That letter can be reviewed here.
- Finally, on March 16, 2013, as part of a presentation to Council, ACE strongly recommended that Council reject the Port plan. That letter can be reviewed here.
Ultimately, Council declined to approve the Port plan, and the Port withdrew its proposal.