Port of Camas-Washougal leaders and RKm Development owner Roy Kim have been working on a lease agreement for the first phase of the port’s Waterfront at Parker’s Landing development for a long time.
Just how long?
“We’ve been working on this long enough that Roy got a grandson,” the port’s Chief Executive Officer David Ripp joked during an April 20 port commission meeting, before port commissioners approved the lease agreement.
Ripp said the lease agreement represents a major step in the port’s quest to bring a mixed-use development to the Washougal waterfront.
“This project has been moving forward since we signed our master lease agreement with RKm, and this is a high point of that process,” Ripp told the Post-Record.
The lease calls for a 50-year term and three additional 10-year options.
“If payments began today, the annual rent would be about $305,000,” Ripp pointed out.
“That’s a great revenue source for the port,” Ripp said. “Besides the revenue, we’re excited about what’s going to take place (to turn) a dilapidated sawmill into a commercial retail mixed-use development that’s going to beautify our area and create a work-live-play atmosphere here at the Port of Camas-Washougal.”
The first phase of construction will build several streets, including a main thoroughfare stretching east to west, along the Columbia River, and four buildings that include 260 apartment units and 56,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
“These are very difficult projects to execute,” Kim told the commissioners during their April 20 meeting. “We’re currently going through disruptions in the short term as a result of all of the global things that are happening (with) interest rates and the costs of construction. Even the consultants and the vendors that we’re working with are short-staffed. But we’ll work through all of that. I think the original vision and the plan that I had in mind is a community that will be here decades from now. We’re looking many years out instead of just the next few years or the immediate (situation). We’re keeping our eyes focused on the prize.”
Ripp said he expects the first phase of construction to begin in the spring of 2023.
“At one point, we were thinking that we’d (start) this fall, but given where everything is right now with the economy and material issues and trying to hire contractors, it will most likely be next spring, sometime, when they’re going to start the construction phase,” he said.
Ripp said the delay should not impact the overall timeline of the project.
“They have 15 years to develop this site, so they’ve got a lot of time,” he said.
Port leaders and Kim began work on a master lease agreement in 2019. Port commissioners voted to approve the agreement in March 2021.
“It’s amazing how much background work goes into these things,” Kim said during the April 20 meeting. “The document that is in front of you today took months … (with) the lawyers going over and over and over it. … It’s been a pleasure to work with the staff, and we’re very excited about this moving forward.”
Looking for feedback
Kim said he has started to have conversations with retailers and asked port leaders and meeting attendees to contact him if they know of people who may be interested in leasing space at the development.
“I’ll continue to ask the community, as well as you, to give us continuous feedback,” Kim told the port commissioners in April. “We continue to meet with people. We just had a meeting with tribe representatives. We have another meeting set up with a potential hotel operator. We’re meeting with one of the potential restaurant (owners) in one or two weeks. We have these talks continuously and are making phone calls. We’re not quite working with smaller tenants yet, but we’re reaching out and working on it. Any continuous input or feedback would be appreciated.”
Commissioners voiced their support of Kim’s efforts.
“We had very little discussion today about the contract because you’ve been working with it for quite some time, and we’re very comfortable with the wording in it,” Commissioner Larry Keister told Kim. “Your original outreach to the community was very important. The community respects that, that (their feedback) will be part of what will be provided to them in the future.”