Saint Edward Planning - Seminary

Seminary Building with people walking up to it

Daniels Real Estate, a Seattle-based development firm, is proposing to rehabilitate the historic Seminary building at Saint Edward State Park. The firm’s goal is to make the aging building economically viable while retaining its historic character. The firm has submitted a concept proposal to State Parks that reuses the building as a “great lodge.”

The project is designed to expand and improve outdoor recreation at the park, while allowing all visitors the opportunity to use and enjoy the Seminary.

ABOUT THE PROPOSAL:

  • Expands the area of Saint Edward Park. Through a land exchange with Daniels Real Estate, State Parks will acquire 9.77 acres of undeveloped, forested waterfront land, known as the McDonald property.
  • Preserves the Seminary building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Prevents  potential development of the McDonald property, conserving precious undeveloped waterfront land on Lake Washington.
  • Investment by Daniels Real Estate. The firm will acquire nearly 5 acres, including the Seminary, pool and gym building complex and pay for improvements. Visitors will continue to have permanent public access to all existing open space.
  • Allows full public access to the Seminary building for the first time in its 90-year history. (Currently , the building is closed because of its decaying condition.) The proposed use will include:
    • Overnight accommodations
    • Restaurant
    • Rentable conference rooms for events
    • Restroom facilities
    • Cafe

ADDRESSING RUMORS:

  • Saint Edward State Park will not be sold. Daniels Real Estate has the ability to invest and maintain the Seminary building and the 5 acre area.
  • No net loss of parking. The parking lots, however, will be redesigned to make them more aesthetically pleasing and functional.
  • We don’t expect the park entrance road to be widened or altered as a result of this project.
  • The forest will not be clear-cut. Some trees will be removed to improve the existing parking lots, but this is mitigated with the acquisition of the forested 9.77 acres. In addition, new trees will be planted in the areas around the redesigned parking lots.

A WORD ON TRAFFIC

State Parks is concerned about traffic impacts to the local community. As we consider the proposal, we will ensure that traffic issues are studied and potential problems identified.  State Parks will work with the City of Kenmore to find ways to ensure unfettered access.

CONCEPT PROPOSAL BY DANIELS REAL ESTATE:
Daniels proposes to rehabilitate the seminary building for a new use, while attempting to retain as much of the historic fabric and character defining features of the seminary as practicable. The process required to realize this vision involves a phased approach, with a land exchange first, and rehabilitation of the seminary second. Each phase includes intermediate milestones that will be used  to demonstrate progress to the Director.

In the first phase, Daniels seeks to acquire the building complex, including the seminary, pool, gymnasium, and associated open space from the Commission in exchange for an undeveloped 9.77-acre tract of waterfront land referred to as the McDonald property. Located on the northwest corner of the park, the McDonald Property includes over 450 feet of Lake Washington shoreline, steep ravines, and forested uplands. The property is contiguous with the park and located within the long-term boundary. It, along with an adjacent property, is the last remaining undeveloped forested shoreline property on Lake Washington. Acquisition will preserve habitat, resolve ongoing management problems, and support recreational opportunities including hiking, swimming, fishing, and kayaking.

The second phase involves rehabilitation of the seminary by Daniels. Their objective is to preserve a building listed on the National Register and repurpose it in a manner that is considered productive and compatible with the State Park mission. Given the overall poor condition of the building today, and the need to meet current building codes, the cost of rehabilitation requires a significant investment on the part of Daniels, with costs estimated between $30 million and $50 million. As a result, Daniels proposes to first acquire the building complex in fee.     

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Background
Built in 1931, the Saint Edward Seminary building is a significant historical structure and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. The seminary structure and associated landscape are part of a collection of 700 historic structures and sites managed and cared for by Washington State Parks.
 

Aging Seminary needs rehabilitation

The aging Seminary building has been in a state of disrepair for years. Rehabilitation would require resources well beyond State Parks’ means.  

At its regular meeting on September 2014, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission directed staff to explore the possibility of rehabilitating the building. (Download the agenda and minutes. Action item on the Seminary building begins on page 101.)  

Previously, in 2013, the Commission also adopted a resolution to authorize the Director of State Parks to “explore partnerships with other public and private sector entities for the purpose of rehabilitating the Saint Edward Seminary building.” 
  
Since September 2014, staff has continued to seek out private or public sector entities to preserve the building. In August, the Director received a letter from Daniels Real Estate, which outlines a concept to preserve the building. Staff has reviewed the concept and believes it is realistic, has the potential to be a successful project, and could greatly enhance the visitor experience of the park. 

Contact Information:

Project Leads: Michael Hankinson, Planner and Nikki Fields, Planner

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission E-mail Stedward.Planning@parks.wa.gov Phone: (360) 902-8671 P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650