Local businesswoman Marilyn Nelson’s proposal for downtown Enumclaw, between Initial Avenue and Stevenson Avenue, got the Enumclaw City Council’s attention with its public pavilion and historic-looking retail and condo structures. However, the project was quickly deemed to be financially untenable. Image courtesy city of Enumclaw

Local businesswoman Marilyn Nelson’s proposal for downtown Enumclaw, between Initial Avenue and Stevenson Avenue, got the Enumclaw City Council’s attention with its public pavilion and historic-looking retail and condo structures. However, the project was quickly deemed to be financially untenable. Image courtesy city of Enumclaw

Plans for development of downtown block called off

The numbers just didn’t work out, Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro said.

Editor’s note: In the April 10 edition of The Courier-Herald, it was reported Marilyn Nelson approached an enthusiastic Enumclaw City Council about a downtown plan in late May. However, the council announced April 8 that the plan did not pan out financially, after print deadline. Here is the updated story.

In the end, the numbers just didn’t work. So, the city of Enumclaw is moving forward, exploring a second option for a prime, downtown piece of real estate.

At issue is the square block that fronts Cole Street and is bounded by Initial and Stevenson avenues. It’s presently home to small buildings housing Arts Alive! and the Chamber of Commerce, but is considered underutilized.

The city thought it found an answer in downtown business owner Marilyn Nelson, who pitched an idea for a building with ground-floor retail shops and two floors of residential living. Next to the multi-use building would have been a pair of open-air pavilions suitable for a range of community use.

But, it was announced Monday night, everything has been scrapped. Mayor Jan Molinaro said it was by “mutual agreement” that plans have ground to a halt. City Attorney Mike Reynolds explained simple economics dictated that the plan was not feasible.

One councilman called the news “a punch in the gut.” Nelson’s plan, he added, “is just what we were looking for.”

The city had made it clear that the lot was open for development and had advertised for options. With one plan off the table, it was agreed that the city return to local businessman Donn Bauer, who had earlier pitched an idea of his own.

Molinaro and the council, by consensus, said the correct course of action would be to continue talks with Bauer, explain what they preferred in the Nelson alternative and – if Bauer was receptive – talk about the financial details of such an undertaking.


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