Ellensburg Washington - Efforts to develop up to 1 Million square feet of regional retail trheate vitality of downtown

Released on = June 21, 2007, 8:14 am

Press Release Author = Ellensburg Downtown Association

Industry = Government

Press Release Summary = As efforts move forwar to permit up to a million square feet
of regional retail development in this central washingto town of 18,000 downtown
merchants seek mitigation measures

Press Release Body = Press Release
For Immediate release June 20, 2007
For more information contact: Timothy Bishop, CMSM
Ellensburg Downtown Association 509-962-6246 info@ellensburgdowntown.org

Ellensburg Downtown Association Proposes Mitigation Measures to Offset Impacts of
Proposed Regional Retail Development
The Ellensburg Downtown Association has developed a list of proposed measures to
help offset the potentially damaging impact that proposed new regional retail
development on the outskirts of town may have on Downtown. The Association will
present their recommendations to the City Council at a special council meeting June
20th at 7 p.m. at City Hall (501 N Anderson).
The City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would establish the
permitting guidelines for up to one million square feet of regional retail at the
two highway interchanges on the edge of town. The Ellensburg Downtown Association
is requesting that the City council include provisions to mitigate the impact of
this development on the Downtown as part of the permitting ordinance. "We believe
it's very important that these issues be worked out at the front end of the process"
according to Association Director Timothy Bishop.
The Ellensburg downtown Associations proposal includes four (4) key elements.
A request that the City dedicate a percentage of sales tax revenue from new
regional retail development to fund downtown revitalization efforts
A request to include a developer fee based on the amount of square footage to be
built with these proceeds going to support Downtown marketing, promotion, and
revitalization efforts
Establish a minimum leasehold storefront size for regional retail to both ensure
that business are large enough to create a regional draw and to minimize the
recruitment and or relocation of existing downtown businesses
That any regional retail development be subject to an economic impact analysis
study prior to permitting to ensure that the size of the project does not exceed
market capacity
The Ellensburg Downtown Association will present their recommendations at the June
20th special Council meeting and the Council is scheduled to hear the proposed
permitting ordinance at their regularly scheduled council meeting on Monday June
For more information contact the Ellensburg Downtown Association at 509-962-6246 or
by email at info@ellensburgdowntown.org

Note to reporter. The following two pages contain the proposed mitigation
provisions in detail

Ellensburg Downtown Association
Proposal to Mitigate the Impact of Regional Retail

#1 Dedication of 30% of sales tax revenue from regional retail for downtown
revitalization efforts. This is based on the North Bend example.

This position has been supported throughout the discussion by both the EDA Board and
the council

#2 Development fees based on square footage of regional retail leasehold space
payable at the time of permitting.

This is based on the Auburn example where the Super Mall was required to make a
monetary contribution directly to the Auburn Downtown Association to offset the
economic impacts of that project. This mitigation tool also helps address the need
to offset the economic impact on the frond end of development instead of waiting up
to a year or more after the new retail center is operating to see any mitigation

#3 Recognizing that the relocation of an existing downtown business has a more
significant impact than simply added competition, we recommend that the Council
reexamine the minimum leasehold storefront size of 10,000 square feet.

This proposed mitigation tool recognizes that the economic impact of a business
being recruited out of Downtown has a far more significant impact than simply
introducing additional competition at the edge of town. This is a particular
concern given that a number of downtown businesses have reported already being
approached with regards to relocating at one or the other of the interchanges as
development occurs. The intent of this mechanism is to ensure that existing
businesses relocating to the interchanges can expand to a size that will generate
increased retail sales rather than merely reallocate existing sales. Furthermore,
by establishing a minimum size for leasehold storefronts, this mechanism provides a
disincentive to developers who may otherwise find it easier to recruit new tenants
from across town rather than across the pass.
This particular tool is consistent with the comp plan and with the often-cited
desire for business retention in the Downtown, and it is a safeguard for the city.
Additionally, this tool is supported by the state in their letter dated June 15,

Much of the discussion and the planning to allow for regional retail to develop at
the Interchanges has been driven by the belief that this new development will
capture new retail sales and generate new sales tax revenue. It is in the City's
best interest to ensure that the regional retail development performs as intended
and not just rearrange existing sales. This is of particular importance given the
Councils support for the dedication of a portion of the sales tax generated by this
new development.

#4 Recommend that the City require an Economic Impact Analysis for any proposed
Regional Retail development prior to issuing any such permit.

The City's own economic study, conducted as part of the comprehensive plan update,
indicates market capacity for between 200,000 and 300,000 maximum square feet of
Regional Retail and the proposed ordinance would generate roughly 430,000 square
feet of retail space per project, or nearly twice what the City's own study
indicates market support for, based on the minimum project size for Regional Retail
development of 40 acres and assuming a density of 25% lot coverage. It simply does
not make sense that the minimum development size should be twice the market

Web Site = http://www.ellensburgdowntown.org

Contact Details = Ellensburg Downtown Association
103 E 4th Ave # 204
Ellensburg WA 98926


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