Allsop applies for industrial Squalicum Lofts project


The developer of the controversial Squalicum Lofts project has applied to build a 128,500-square-foot light-industrial development on Squalicum Way.

Property owner Mike Allsop had originally proposed a mixed-use, green development on the 7.5-acre site at 905 Squalicum Way, but the City Council rejected a request to consider rezoning the land from industrial to mixed-use residential and commercial last March.

The project, located adjacent to the proposed new Sqaulicum Creek Park, is designed to include four buildings, parking, and on- and off-site storm-water management facilities.

The city accepted shoreline permit applications and a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) checklist for the whole project, as well as a building permit application for one of the four buildings — Building A — on Jan. 18.

The project has an existing planned contract from 1994 that the city will work within, said city planner Steve Sundin.

Allsop, who owns Allsop Inc., plans to relocate his company’s offices from 4201 Meridian St. to an approximately 15,000-square-foot space in the Squalicum Lofts site and will lease and/or sell the rest of the units, he said. He envisions uses that include retail, warehousing and light-industrial, he said.

The project’s architect, Brett Detering from RMC Architects, said the four buildings will be adaptable and will accommodate a variety and number of tenants.

Allsop hopes to design all four buildings to receive silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. He said he will use Building A to determine the economic viability of aiming for LEED certification for all of the buildings.

This would be the first industrial LEED project Detering has worked on, and he said they seem to be uncommon.

Because of the LEED component, Sundin said the project has been accepted to participate in the city’s pilot program for permit review, which aims to streamline the permitting process. This will be the first industrial pilot permit, Sundin said.

Allsop’s original mixed-use plan for the site had been designed to receive gold LEED for Neighborhood Development Certification, said Allsop.

Despite a recommendation by the city’s planning staff and Planning Commission to approve consideration of a rezone, the city council rejected Allsop’s rezone request after a coalition of northern neighborhood associations, including Birchwood (where the project is located), Columbia, Cornwall Park and Lettered Streets, expressed opposition to development there.

Flip Breskin, a Columbia Neighborhood Association board member, said the association will likely meet again to discuss the project and craft a response to the application.

Residents are concerned with issues of preserving salmon habitat and preventing pollution in Squalicum Creek, and also have concerns about heavy truck traffic flow along Squalicum Parkway, she said.

Breskin was heartened to hear the project might include LEED certification.

“If it’s going through LEED certification, that would be far better than I expected,” she said. “We’ll cross our fingers and hope it’s true, because (the plan) looks like (it includes) a lot of pavement.”

Frank Ordway, acting president of the Birchwood Neighborhood Association, said his association is not going to oppose the project’s new plans. The association will work with the developer and the city on buffer and trail connection issues, he said.

“Most people on my street are perfectly comfortable with what they’re doing,” said Ordway, who lives across the street from the site. “There was a huge uproar about their previous proposal, and I feel for them because they had some interesting ideas,” he said. “The city didn’t do them any favors regarding the process they went through.”

A written public comment period for the project will end on Feb. 18 and a public meeting will be scheduled at a future date, Sundin said.

Allsop is optimistic the development will be approved by the city.

“We have a planned contract with the city, and this meets the criteria of the contract,” he said. “So I don’t think there are going to be too many issues.”

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