Editor's Note: More information, including presentation documents provided during this meeting, can be found here.

The Interbay Public Development Advisory Committee has more redevelopment concepts under review than when it started, and hesitated to leave any off the table on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

As the advisory committee works toward a November deadline to recommend to the state Legislature and governor’s office how to get the most public benefit out of repurposing the Washington National Guard’s armory site, the latest consideration has been blending industrial and residential uses on the 25-acre site.

The committee has been meeting at the armory since late last year to determine the best way to redevelop the property in a way that provides the maximum public benefit as outlined in a legislative proviso.

It’s almost certain that federal funding will not be made available in the near term to facilitate the National Guard’s move to North Bend, which would require constructing a new armory —now called Readiness Centers — a field maintenance shop and helicopter pad. That’s estimated to cost up to $105 million, and doesn’t include the price of acquiring the property.

Negotiations started in July to buy a 25-acre site in North Bend from Puget Western, Inc. The Legislature approved $6 million toward the purchase during its last session.

Nothing can happen until the National Guard finishes relocating. Maul Foster and Alongi senior planner Matt Hoffman told the committee on Wednesday that it will be 5-10 years after the relocation before any funds are gained from the Interbay site.

Consultants working with the advisory committee did explore the potential of a long-term hold option, where the land could be leased rather than sold off. The Port of Seattle and Seattle Housing Authority use this model, said Jim Darling with Maul Foster Alongi.

Maintaining public control over the 25-acre site would generate more revenue for the state, but the return would take much longer. Deducting the cost of the armory relocation, debts and administrative costs, Darling said, the return could be $191 million over 25 years if the property were leased for industrial use, for which it is currently zoned, or $106 million if the state opts for a hybrid model that includes housing.

Committee members took the information, but it appeared the modeling was more an exercise than a real possibility. Washington 36th District Rep. Gael Tarleton said Pacific Medical Center (PacMed) did something similar but with a built project. The armory site has deficient military facilities that would not be repurposed, and also would need utility and transportation infrastructure upgrades.

Brian Lloyd, vice president of Beacon Development and a committee member, said it would allow the state to respond to the market, the health of which will be unknown by the time the property is available.

Committee members agreed a community preservation and development authority (CPDA) would be the best entity to manage the sale and redevelopment of the property.

Redevelopment concepts started with options to keep the site zoned for industrial use or seek rezones to allow for either mid-rise or high-rise housing with commercial, civic and pedestrian spaces.

Consultants shared industrial/residential hybrid concepts during the Sept. 11 meeting. One option would use industrial buildings to buffer the BNSF rail yard adjacent to the armory on the west end while placing multifamily housing on the east end. The other option would be to build residential units over industrial buildings, which would need to be restricted to uses that didn’t generate a lot of noise, vibrations or odor, Hoffman said. Something like a distribution center also wouldn’t be ideal, he said, due to the high level of traffic around residences.

Hoffman said SODO and Ballard have projects being developed that use the model of industrial next to housing, a concept that is becoming more common in high-cost urban markets.

Two examples of housing over industrial were found in Canada. The Strathcona Village in Vancouver, British Columbia is adjacent to the Port of Vancouver and near a rail line, much like the Interbay property. Most of the housing was market-rate condos, but there are 70 affordable housing units.

“The developer in Vancouver had no issue selling his units,” Hoffman said.

He said the City of New York determined the best way to implement such a model is to offer cheap land with high-end housing above.

“Housing above is tough to pencil,” Hoffman said.

A summary of redevelopment concepts shows a residential-over-industrial (vertical integration) model could support 1,200 housing units — 360 at less than 60 percent of area median income and 240 at 60-120 percent — and generate between 280-340 industrial jobs while maintaining 3.4 acres of public open space. Annual tax revenue is estimated at $8.1 million from sales, property and B&O taxes.

Keeping industrial and residential buildings separate would bring in about $11 million in annual tax revenue, but nearly halve the amount of residential units that could be supported on the armory site. Industrial jobs created are estimated at 540-660.

A high-rise residential concept would also generate around $11 million in annual revenue, plus 3,258 housing units, more than half of which could be at affordability levels.

A mid-rise residential concept would generate $7.5 million in annual tax revenue and 1,853 housing units, and more than half could also be affordable.

An industrial-only concept would generate roughly $12.3 million in annual tax revenue and 760-920 jobs.

Affordable housing has been a big ask from community members every time they’ve attended an open house to provide feedback about repurposing the armory site.

Tarleton said she has different feedback in her inbox directing her to consider the job-creation potential the site would provide staying zoned for industrial use. Outgoing Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, who was absent from the Sept. 11 committee meeting, shares those sentiments.

Lloyd said he found it ironic that the Port of Seattle is concerned about the loss of 25 acres of industrial land when there are 100 acres west of the railroad tracks that are not being well utilized. Lloyd was referring to the port’s Terminal 91 property, which is slated to add 100,000 square feet of light industrial space in the next few years.

Washington Sen. David Frockt said it’s important to provide Olympia with as much information moving forward as it remains unclear what the city may decide. The City of Seattle is developing an industrial land study as it works toward updating its Comprehensive Plan.

Sound Transit is also expanding light rail from West Seattle to Ballard, Hoffman said, and tracks are expected to run along the west edge of the property, which is why an assumed 100-foot buffer is expected to be cut out of the armory site. A Smith Cove station area will likely be located south of the Magnolia Bridge, which is being looked at for replacement, he said.

Former Gov. Gary Locke, who serves on the committee, said he’s not sure the state will simply give up a portion of the armory site for light rail development, suggesting the regional agency purchase whatever it needs.

Tarleton, who supports replacing the Magnolia Bridge, successfully pushed funding through last session for assessing and producing a report for the Ballard-Interbay Regional Transportation System, which she said could come before the Legislature in 2021. She hopes the intergovernmental study will bring agencies together to better collaborate on the multiple projects that will be taking place so close together in the corridor.

Because the new Readiness Center will have to be operational before anything can happen with the Interbay site, funding for the move will likely be heavily dependent on the Legislature. Tarleton said there are ways of working with federal partners to demonstrate state buy-in and help push the relocation as an important federal mission. Frockt said he also would not assume the federal government won’t cover any of the cost.

“Sometimes things change,” he said. “Military money gets shifted to other things. We saw that earlier this week.”

Frockt was alluding to the multiple military projects that are planned for defunding to support a southern border wall.

On top of moving roughly 600 guardsmen out of Interbay, the National Guard will also need a new readiness center to absorb soldiers that will be displaced at Boeing Field. Washington Army National Guard Col. Adam Iwaszuk told the committee that King County International Airport would not renew its license, which expires in June 2023.

A draft recommendation report will be submitted to the Interbay Public Development Advisory Committee on Sept. 18, with action on the report expected during the committee’s last meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The public can weigh in then or at a final open house meeting from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the National Nordic Museum, 2655 NW Market St.