Plans for downtown parking lot, commercial building approved by Enumclaw council

The parking lot will be built by January 2022.

Bringing closure to a proposal that has occupied City Hall offices for months, members of the Enumclaw City Council recently approved a public-private downtown development.

At the heart of the arrangement is the large field immediately north of the public library. It has gone unused for years, with the lone exception of a community garden. With unanimous consent of the council the space will be converted to a parking lot, with the anticipated addition of a commercial building on one corner.

The city-owned land is bordered by Railroad Street on the west, Washington Avenue on the north and First Street on the east.

Talks about paving the property were initiated by the owner of the nearby ThunderDome Car Museum, who has sought additional parking for times when events are hosted at the venue. Six months ago, the council authorized city staff to send a draft agreement to ThunderDome and, in November, directed city administration to prepare a resolution that finalizes the deal.

A pair of resolutions – one for the parking lot and another for a potential commercial building – were approved during the council’s Dec. 14 session.

The terms of the joint-use agreement include the following:

• the parking lot is to be completed on or before Jan. 1, 2022;

• ThunderDome gets exclusive of the parking lot for up to 48 continuous hours, once per week, and seven consecutive days once per calendar year;

• except for those specified times, the lot will be available for public parking;

• public parking will have a 12-hour limit with no parking allowed between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m;

• the agreement has a term of 50 years with two 10-year options, but would terminate if ThunderDome ceased operating as a car museum open to the public.

At the same time, the city gave its blessing for ThunderDome to place a commercial building on the northwest corner of the property. Construction would have to be in accordance with current city standards.

The council-approved resolution gives ThunderDome three years to get something built. Then, once a building is occupied, the city waived lease payments for 36 months. On the 37th month, payments would start, at a rate set by a certified appraiser.

Duration of the ground lease is the same as for the parking lot – a 50-year term with a pair of 10-year options.