Plans announced to rehabilitate former Saint Edward Seminary building in Kenmore

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saint Edward Seminary building

The City of Kenmore announced this week to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission its intention to work with State Parks to support the efforts of Daniels Real Estate to preserve, rehabilitate and activate the former Saint Edward Seminary building. The iconic building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore and has been largely vacant since 1976. The City of Kenmore is proposing to play an active role with State Parks to ensure a long-term lease to rehabilitate and reuse the building.

Seattle-based developer Daniels Real Estate has stepped forward with an interest in rehabilitating the building to its former use and grandeur. Daniels Real Estate is also in early conversations with Bastyr University to discuss potential ways the school might be involved. Bastyr, whose main campus is surrounded by Saint Edward State Park, is Kenmore’s largest employer.

Kevin Daniels, President of Daniels Real Estate, is a trustee for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a local real estate investor well known for high-profile projects that focus on community revitalization and adaptive reuse of historic structures. In Seattle, Daniels’ portfolio includes the adaptive reuse of the downtown Sears & Roebuck store, now the headquarters for Starbucks and the largest certified LEED building in the U.S. His portfolio also includes restoration of Union Station, now headquarters for Sound Transit and preservation of the First United Methodist Church, part of Daniel’s Fifth + Columbia Tower.

The 300+ acres of Saint Edward State Park includes undeveloped Lake Washington waterfront, forest and trails, and will likely remain in the stewardship of the Washington State Parks system. Though the exact parameters for the potential lease area have yet to be determined, it would be proximate to the seminary and adjacent buildings. As is typical for rehabilitation of significant historic structures, some space in the seminary would likely be set aside for public access and interpretive areas.

“Saving the historic seminary building in a way that promotes sustainability and environmental values while enhancing the local economy is a huge opportunity for the City, and we are ready to be a helpful partner in this effort,” said Mayor David Baker. “The team that has stepped forward is truly high caliber, with strong community ties as well as national prominence.”

In this scenario, the end product would be the rehabilitation of the seminary to its original use as classroom and student residential space— two uses that are needed by Bastyr University and are included in the University’s Master Plan that was approved by the City of Kenmore in 2009. Bastyr University moved its main campus to its current location in 1996 through the purchase of the 51-acre campus that was originally Saint Thomas Seminary, from the Seattle Archdiocese in 2005.

Instead of constructing new buildings and expanding the physical footprint on the Bastyr campus that is essentially surrounded by the state park, the 80,000-square-foot Saint Edward Seminary building would serve as a new university building. As an example of smart land use practices and sustainability, this project would preserve open space and natural features while breathing life back into an existing and historic structure.


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