Vision, persistence, collaboration and partnership. These were the necessary elements used by Mayor Jill Boudreau and the City of Mount Vernon’s Development Services Department to attract a $10 million private investment that will transform the once derelict property, formerly known as the Alf Christianson Seed Co Plant, into what will soon become a thriving hub of commercial and residential property, in the heart of Mount Vernon.
Official groundbreaking for the off-freeway site located on Kincaid Street will take place at 10am on Tuesday morning, October 29th. The event will be the culmination of a two and a half year partnership forged by the city planning department under the direction of Mayor Boudreau, with Visconsi Companies, Ltd; a company specializing in similar development projects across the country.
“We were interested in identifying the right partner, who could produce the right quality development, and have the right resources and the sophistication to navigate this complicated project,” Mayor Boudreau said.
Brad Goldberg, who represented Visconsi Companies on this project, said his company was looking for similar innovation.
“We needed a creative and responsive city mayor and staff to work with,” Goldberg said. “And that’s exactly what we found in our collaboration with the City of Mount Vernon.” Navigating obstacles such as soil contamination, multiple land owners and traffic alterations might have kept most projects like this from becoming successful; but converting property that formerly attracted vandals and arsonists into an attractive, revenue-producing venture was a high priority for Mayor Boudreau.
“This project will include the type of retail that we would typically see along I -5,” she said. “It is one of many attractions that Mount Vernon will have to invite the steady flow of nearly 80,000 vehicles per day to stop here in our city.”
Attractions that she notes will be very different from the unique accommodations and offerings of the city’s historic downtown district, just a few blocks away.
“With the official completion of the floodwall and Riverwalk project, we are gaining a lot of momentum in our discussions of some exciting development opportunities in our downtown. These are the boutique hotels, condos, restaurants and galleries that we have been hoping for,” she said.
The Mayor has taken a similar approach with these interested developers—ensuring that those who invest in the city of Mount Vernon are working to maintain and enhance the existing character and charm of our downtown core.
To further entice new development, Mayor Boudreau prepared and submitted two 7-page applications to the Washington State Department of Commerce, requesting that Mount Vernon be considered for an Opportunity Zone designation. She was awarded 3 opportunity zones for the city, meaning that new investment in and around downtown will translate into huge capital gains tax savings for developers who build within these zones.
“This is an exhilarating time to be a part of this community,” Boudreau said. “We are on the cusp of realizing an enriching return on several years of diligent efforts to reinvigorate commerce, community and prosperity in our city.”