City To Purchase 2nd Parcel Of North Wenatchee WSDOT Property
The city of Wenatchee will complete the purchase of land on North Wenatchee Ave. from the Washington Department of Transportation.
WSDOT has been holding on to a portion of the land while it cleans up environmental contamination resulting from its previous activity.
Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz says the purchase is now needed because the price of the property keeps rising with the Consumer Price Index.
"So, this is property we were going to buy anyhow," said Kuntz. "We were just waiting for it to get cleaned. Meanwhile, there's a cost-of-living adjustment every year based on CPI. Last year the CPI was a bigger number. And it's like at some point, we've got to stop the bleeding."
The City Council originally approved a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) with WSDOT in August of 2019 to buy the North Wenatchee Ave. property that the agency would be vacating.
The city has had plans for some time to redevelop the entire property to be consistent with its North Wenatchee Master Plan.
The sale agreement included the purchase of:
- Parcel A, which is 5.69 acres adjacent to North Wenatchee Avenue
- Parcel B, which is 1.28 acres and is located along railroad tracks at the backend of the property.
Parcel B is the parcel with environmental contamination.
WSDOT began remediation on the property shortly after the sale agreement was executed and continues to perform this work with an expected completion date of 18 months or more.
The purchase price for Parcel B was set in the amount of $667,000 plus CPI inflation in 2019. The current purchase price has escalated to $799,266.10.
Wenatchee City Administrator Laura Gloria says WSDOT has been diligent in its cleanup efforts, but the city needs to get the purchase done to free itself from the continued spike in price.
"They started on it as soon as this agreement was signed," said Gloria. "So, they've been actively working on it. Unfortunately, it's taking time, and we don't want to be paying for that time anymore."
The City negotiated an amendment to the sale agreement to allow the transaction to close now to avoid future CPI increases on the purchase price while the remediation work is completed.
The amendment still requires WSDOT to complete the remediation work.
WSDOT will reserve an easement on the property which will terminate when the work is complete.
The city council approved the purchase agreement with the amendment at last Thursday’s council meeting.
The city has budgeted for the anticipated purchase price increase to nearly $800,000 in its approved 2024 Final Budget.
There's been a lot of speculation, conversation and anticipation of what retail stores might come to the property, which is located in the1500 block of North Wenatchee Avenue.
To date, nothing has been announced for future development of the site.
At one point, the city was working with the consulting firm Retail Strategies, to find the best mix of businesses for the location.
Rededication of Wenatchee's Lincoln Park
Gallery Credit: Mark Rattner with KPQ Newsradio 560