By Mike Hickey, Principal, Neil Walter Commercial Real Estate
As part of the One Harbor Point team, I’d like to share my perspective on how our project contributes to the community and to clear up some misunderstandings about it.
First, please let me begin by sharing the catalyst for pursuing this project, together with a brief description of our goals for this innovative neighborhood.
Over many years, Erivan and Helga Haub assembled several parcels along Soundview and Harborview that include the Boat Barn (or Egg Building) and its marina, the Green Turtle Restaurant site and its marina, and the upland parcels at the intersection of Soundview and Harborview that will be part of One Harbor Point. The intention of Mr. and Mrs. Haub in acquiring these properties from the onset was to assemble enough property in the heart of downtown Gig Harbor to support a project that would sensibly integrate into Gig Harbor’s Central Business District and connect its residents and visitors to the waterfront.
In 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Haub decided to sell the property and, through a selection process, identified The Cheney Foundation and Cheney family, long-time residents and supporters of the greater Gig Harbor community, as appropriate stewards to further their vision for this south terminus of the downtown core. As an owner of One Harbor Point, The Foundation plans to use ongoing rental income generated by the property to support grantmaking efforts that meet their goal of improving the quality of life in communities where the Cheney Lumber Company was active. This would include Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula and other communities they serve.
Seeking answers to three key questions
The One Harbor Point team is making a long-term commitment to Gig Harbor. We are moving cautiously, still determining the best manner to develop this project. We haven’t submitted plans to the City yet and we are still looking for appropriate solutions to these key questions:
- Will the project impact nesting of our native heron population?
- How can we limit the project’s impact on local traffic and parking?
- How can the project integrate into and benefit the Gig Harbor community as a whole?
Let’s look at the first and possibly most sensitive question. We know herons have nested on the property in years past. Observations indicate they may have stopped nesting there a couple of years ago. To learn more, last winter we called in migratory species experts to conduct a year-long study that began in February of 2016 and will be completed in May 2017 to determine and monitor possible nesting activity. It is being conducted by Soundview Consultants in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the City of Gig Harbor. A meeting was held with the WDFW, the City of Gig Harbor and our representative last spring to discuss possible heron activity on the site. To read the minutes of the WDFW meeting and for more information about the ongoing heron study, go to our website at http://www.OneHarborPoint.com.
Traffic is another significant question we are studying. We accept and will live up to our responsibility to mitigate traffic impacts of our project as determined by a traffic study that will be reviewed by the City.
We are looking at ways One Harbor Point can improve the connection between Gig Harbor residents and the waterfront. We are working to preserve and in some cases enhance views of the Harbor. The Foundation is exploring the possibility of donating some of the property along the waterfront to the City of Gig Harbor for public use. This could include donating the Boat Barn (or Egg Building) and its associated marina.
Finally, we are working to be open and transparent with the community about our thinking, even before our plans are complete. That’s why we’ve created the OneHarborPoint.com website with project facts, updates, and answers to commonly asked questions. We hope you will continue to check back for updates.