Thomas Architecture Studios, the firm overseeing development plans for Destination Waterfront, is eager to see green grass growing soon on some of Port of Olympia’s downtown waterfront properties in line with the community’s Vision 2050 plan.
During the Port Commissioners’ work session yesterday, Ron Thomas of Thomas Architecture Studios underscored the importance of pushing this project forward, telling commissioners, stating, "You are setting an example for all those you have leased properties and buildings to. You're in this for the long term. You will get paid back long-term many times over if you will make that long-term investment."
Thomas added, “So you will view it as an opportunity to speak with something physical that reflects many, many generations of investments."
The Port of Olympia's Vision 2050 research project, which solicited public feedback on port operations over the next few decades, gave birth to the Destination Waterfront project.
Destination Waterfront could turn some of the downtown properties into a community hub and tourism destination, complete with museums and other attractions. The area could also serve as an open space while providing leisure and water access to the public. Industrial growth was the least preferred option.
The Thomas team stated that there would be several learning opportunities in the peninsula after the project is officially launched.
The downtown waterfront properties would become “a cross discipline and lifelong learning area where everyone can be gaining access to the water, learning about water, and becoming the active stewards of the water in the shorelines," according to Project Manager Amos Callendar of the Thomas Architecture Studios .
Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) authorized a $50,000 grant to the Port on May 21, 2021 for this Destination Waterfront Development Vision, which will be used as a marketing tool for investors.
According to Thomas Architecture Studios, the port peninsula might to grow into a waterfront destination with various first-rate services and areas for both active and passive enjoyment. The proposed facility would provide access to the water, the nearshore, and the current city center.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Destination Waterfront could affect the Port's industrial-zoned properties. None of the Port's marine terminal properties are included in Destination Waterfront.
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