Point Wells: From the developer's viewpoint

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The internationally recognized architecture firm of Perkins+Will has been retained to develop initial design concepts for the planned redevelopment at Point Wells as a residential/mixed-use community.

Point Wells / Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times / July 23, 2009

Point Wells encompasses approximately 61 acres on the Puget Sound waterfront in the southwest corner of unincorporated Snohomish County. Owned by Paramount of Washington, LLC, the Point Wells site hosts the marine fuels distribution center and asphalt facility of Paramount Petroleum Corporation. Following the implementation of Point Wells' urban center designation and the adoption by Snohomish County of a new Urban Center zoning code, the site would undergo a multi-year environmental remediation prior to the site’s potential redevelopment. Perkins+Will has been retained to advise Paramount on the site’s redevelopment potential.

“A key factor in selecting Perkins+Will is the firm’s emphasis on designing environmentally sustainable projects,” said Paramount Petroleum Environmental Manager Mark Wells. “Because we know this is a very special site, our vision is to transform Point Wells into a showcase for transit oriented, sustainable redevelopment.”

Paramount’s initial vision for Point Wells includes a wide range of potential design features focusing on sustainability, public access and the re-introduction of natural habitats, and minimizing impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods. Sustainable features under consideration include new heating technologies to supplement standard methods, reduction of typical water use, graywater re-use, and other “green” construction elements. Public access to the three-quarter mile of sandy beachfront and pedestrian/bicycle facilities would be incorporated into the eventual design. The high-density community would be built around multiple transportation options to encourage alternatives to automobile use. The re-introduction of forested conditions to the site’s open space, restoring the natural stream, and enhancing salmon habitat are a part of Paramount’s vision.

Wells said that preliminary studies have concluded that the project will produce economic benefits for the community, including jobs and tax revenues, during construction and beyond. Site demolition, environmental remediation and construction could be conducted in phases with a goal of minimizing impacts in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Perkins+Will has an extensive track record of success in designing award-winning projects, including the internationally-recognized Dockside Green development in Victoria, B.C. When it was completed in 2008, the first residential phase of Dockside Green became the highest scoring LEED Platinum Certified project in the world. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices.

“This is an extremely exciting project for us,” said Kay Kornovich, Perkins+Will’s managing principal in Seattle. “Point Wells has the potential to be a premier example of how to best redevelop a long-time industrial site in an environmentally sustainable manner. It’s obviously one of the most beautiful locations in the region. And the mandate we’ve been given is to be creative and innovative in designing a project that recognizes its unique location and characteristics, while maintaining a sharp focus on sustainability and public access as well as maintaining as much open space as possible. Our firm is committed to making Point Wells the ‘next generation’ example of a fully sustainable community.”

“Sustainable design is more than a process of reducing environmental impact,” said Peter Busby, AIA, Perkins+Will design principal and an acknowledged leader in North America’s sustainable design movement. “Sustainability is an essential part of everything we do. It is a holistic approach that incorporates environmental concerns into the design process from the start. Our philosophy is to design projects that not only contribute to human well-being, but also enhance the future of our planet.”

Berkeley, California-based Peter Walker and Partners (PWP), have also been retained to develop the landscape design for the project. Maximizing the site’s unique assets, the development would provide improved habitat and open space in the unique shoreside environment. The introduction of bicycle and pedestrian pathways along Puget Sound, together with a natural stream and restored beachfront, provide the basis of PWP's various possibilities for the site.

Perkins+Will and PWP are collaborating with a wide variety of public agencies and private interest groups to design a large “gateway” park at the east landing of the new Bay Bridge in the San Francisco Bay area. The diverse park is currently in the master plan/conceptual design phase of the 10 month process.

Perkins+Will and PWP Landscape Design are recognized nationally and internationally for setting industry standards for design innovation and for working with some of the world’s most admired clients.

“We look forward to the process of meeting with governmental leaders and our neighbors in surrounding communities. We’ve got the right team in place to provide innovative design concepts for the redevelopment of Point Wells in a way that we can all be proud of,” said Wells.


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