Kenmore to work with State Parks, Bastyr University and Daniels Real Estate to restore iconic building
The City of Kenmore announced this week to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission its intention to work with State Parks to support the efforts of Daniels Real Estate to preserve, rehabilitate and activate the former Saint Edward Seminary building. The State Parks Commission discussed the project with City representatives at a July 23 work session in Bellingham. The iconic building which is on the National Register of Historic Places is located at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore and has been largely vacant since 1976.
In response to the Washington State Parks Commission’s Resolution in 2013, which directed state parks staff to explore partnerships with other public and private sector entities to rehabilitate and preserve the building, the City of Kenmore is proposing to play an active role with State Parks to ensure a long-term lease to rehabilitate and reuse the building. This could include the formation of a Public Development Authority. A similar agreement was formed in 2013 when the Washington State Parks Commission approved a lease with a Public Development Authority chartered by the City of Port Townsend for a portion of Fort Worden State Park in Jefferson County.
Seattle-based developer Daniels Real Estate has stepped forward with an interest in rehabilitating the building to its former use and grandeur. Daniels Real Estate is also in early conversations with Bastyr University to discuss potential ways the school might be involved. Bastyr, whose main campus is surrounded by Saint Edward State Park, is Kenmore’s largest employer. The Bastyr University Board of Trustees recently authorized university administrators to request a business plan from Daniels Real Estate for review as Daniels develops a proposal for the restoration of the historic seminary building.
“We’re greatly encouraged about the City of Kenmore’s interest in the historic seminary building at Saint Edward State Park,” said Cindy Whaley, State Parks Commission chair. “We look forward to continuing the discussion and working closely with the City to explore an appropriate solution for the building. We want to ensure that any future resolution is in keeping with the State Parks mission and preserves the significant natural and historical features of this park.”
Kevin Daniels, President of Daniels Real Estate, is a trustee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a local real estate investor well known for high-profile projects that focus on community revitalization and adaptive reuse of historic structures. In Seattle, Daniels’ portfolio includes the adaptive reuse of the downtown Sears & Roebuck store, now the headquarters for Starbucks and the largest certified LEED building in the U.S. His portfolio also includes restoration of Union Station, now headquarters for Sound Transit and preservation of the First United Methodist Church, part of Daniel’s Fifth + Columbia Tower.
The 300+ acres of Saint Edward State Park includes undeveloped Lake Washington waterfront, forest and trails, and will likely remain in the stewardship of the Washington State Parks system. Though the exact parameters for the potential lease area have yet to be determined, it would be proximate to the seminary and adjacent buildings. As is typical for rehabilitation of significant historic structures, some space in the seminary would likely be set aside for public access and interpretive areas.
“Saving the historic seminary building in a way that promotes sustainability and environmental values while enhancing the local economy is a huge opportunity for the City, and we are ready to be a helpful partner in this effort,” said Mayor David Baker. “The team that has stepped forward is truly high caliber, with strong community ties as well as national prominence.”
In this scenario, the end product would be the rehabilitation of the seminary to its original use as classroom and student residential space— two uses that are needed by Bastyr University and are included in the University’s Master Plan that was approved by the City of Kenmore in 2009. Bastyr University moved its main campus to its current location in 1996 through the purchase of the 51-acre campus that was originally Saint Thomas Seminary, from the Seattle Archdiocese in 2005.
Instead of constructing new buildings and expanding the physical footprint on the Bastyr campus that is essentially surrounded by the state park, the 80,000-square-foot Saint Edward Seminary building would serve as a new university building. As an example of smart land use practices and sustainability, this project would preserve open space and natural features while breathing life back into an existing and historic structure.
“While this is still in the exploratory phase,” said Bastyr University President Daniel K. Church, PhD, “if the project moves ahead, we welcome the opportunity to see how we might collaborate in preserving this historic resource under the guidance of Daniels Real Estate, a firm with a proven track record of success in local restoration projects.”
“Our team is looking forward to working with the State Parks, City of Kenmore and Bastyr University to find a solution to restore the Saint Edward Seminary building to its former glory while providing the University with much needed classrooms and living spaces for their students,” said Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Real Estate.
Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey emphasized that, “broadly based public input and discussion will be an essential part of this journey, because this Park and seminary buildings are so important across our entire community and region.”