The next major step for the Locust Street Redevelopment project is to find a builder for more than 20 homes proposed on city-owned property
Sal Maniaci, community and economic development director, presented the Washington City Council Monday with a draft request for qualifications (RFQs) for developers.
The Locust Street Redevelopment is located on city property on both sides of Locust Street between Eighth and 10th streets at the location of a former Frick’s building, a mobile home park and one home.
The ultimate goal, Maniaci explained, is for a “higher-density” development that would attract young families or those getting their start in the Washington workforce.
“We have been fortunate in the past few years to see an increase in residential growth,” he commented, “but it frankly has not been in the price range that is facilitating first-time home buyers and young professionals who are looking to owner occupy.”
To attract those buyers, the home prices in the development will be capped at $185,000 for 75 percent of the homes, and no more than $250,000 for the remaining 25 percent of the residences, according to tentative plans.
To achieve that goal, Maniaci continued the city will transfer the three parcels to the 353 Washington Redevelopment Corporation who will seek RFQs.
“They have a little bit more liberty when it comes to reviewing proposals,” he said. “When the city sells property, we sell it to the highest bidder — the whole point of the Chapter 353 statute is that they are able to redevelop an area, review proposals and determine what’s best for the community, rather than just take the highest bidder.”
Manaici said the city would consider a planned development which could include smaller lots. That could include homes with shared walls.
“We feel we have to have more than 20 units to entice developers,” said City Administrator Darren Lamb.
Maniaci added plans could call for Wainwright Street to be extended into the development.
The total size of the city-owned property is 1.3 acres.
History of Project
The redevelopment plans began in 2015 with the city’s purchase of the Frick’s Trailer Park property at 800 Locust St., south of Eighth Street, with plans for stormwater improvements. A goal of the project is to manage the creek and protect properties from flooding.
The Frick’s building was razed in 2017, and that will be the location of a trailhead for the future Busch Creek Greenway bicycle and walking path. The designs for the path call for a trailhead with a parking area at Eighth and Jefferson streets.
Last year the city purchased a home at 902 Locust St. which will be part of the larger area to be utilized for the homes.
Aside from areas to be used for stormwater improvement, and the Busch Creek Greenway, the remaining acreage will be used for the residential development.
“The reason this has been stalled is we decided to purchase that additional property to the south (902 Locust St.) which is subject to close March 1, but we wanted to have this RFQ ready to go as soon as we close,” Maniaci said. “Ideally we will get construction going by late spring or summer.”
This project could be copied in other areas of Washington to continue to provide housing, he added.
“Hopefully this will be a model for future developments if more property becomes available,” Maniaci said,
He added that includes the Sporlan Valve Plant 1 Superfund Site on Seventh Street.