Seattle approves sale of unused pier to state
The Port of Seattle's governing board Tuesday gave preliminary approval to sell the port's Pier 48 to the state of Washington for $11 million.
The state Transportation Department wants to use the condemned wooden pier and attached property to develop the adjacent Colman Dock ferry terminal. The state also hopes to use the facility, which was built in the mid-1930s, as a staging area during upcoming construction work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
The commission voted 4-1 to proceed with the already negotiated sale, which requires the state to assume any future clean up costs at the site and reserve the first right of refusal for the port if the state decides to sell the property within 15 years.
Commissioner Lloyd Hara, in casting the lone dissenting vote, said he fears the deal would lead to further encroachment of residential and hotel development toward port terminals.
'We have had issues with condos and hotels being too close to port facilities,' Hara said. He argued that the port is a 24 hours a day operation and the closer that residential or hotel property gets to the terminals, the greater number of complaints that will be generated.
The sale's approval did not come as a surprise. The port, facing a possible eminent domain action over the property by the state Transportation Department, had negotiated the terms of the deal with state officials prior to the board action. Port officials said selling the property to the state would also save the port and state money by avoiding the costly eminent domain process. The main negotiations over the parcel were on the actual value. In 2005, the state valued it at $8 million, while the port was estimating a value closer to $20 million.
'Commissioner Hara does raise some valid considerations,” Commission President John Creighton said. 'However, (Pier 48) is an unused, unproductive asset, and here is an opportunity for us to get value out of it while we can ' before it falls into the bay.'
The approved motion for the sale now goes back to the board for a required second vote, however, no date for a second vote has been set.