Letter to the Editor: Better to sell Hawthorne Hall and encourage new owner to provide senior housing


Last updated 11/4/2020 at 12:15pm

I’d offer a suggestion for the Hawthorne Hall re-use consideration (https://bit.ly/3mGjPLk), in discussion over whether to ‘save’ the 100-year old Boys & Girls Club building, and then let it become a City of Mukilteo operation.

I’m a civil engineer, working with both residential and commercial developers, (owners not contractors). When a property is being considered for development, they will often do a “pro forma pre-dev assessment,” where a schematic set of development plans is presented for code review to the local jurisdiction.

It’s not a complicated thing. We’ve generated a set of these  “pre-dev” permit review plans in less than three workdays on sites that are this small, and are this simple to lay out.

Should cost no more than $2,500.

The city permit center then has to review the proposal.

That’s when you find out the real costs of development, with all of the countless mitigations that site work entails – not the least of which is wholly inadequate parking space and the traffic mitigation that cannot be accommodated; then providing for buried onsite storm runoff detention, and new outfall down into the gulch with habitat issues.

Then as someone, who lives by a 90-year-old Mukilteo house and has crawled underneath to shudder, I would pay for a professional renovation contractor to give an estimate – first, before relying on OTAKs general cost assessment, as a “go-forward” for any City Council appropriation.

I believe you’ll find the real number is quite a bit higher.

Finally, if the facility is taken over by the city, then it will need day and evening staff. That’s $120,000 a year, and not counting the operations and maintenance costs, even if the building is brought up to Washington Energy Code.

Although it would be great to have indoor ball courts, it doesn’t pencil either in capital or operations levels.

Who’s going to pay the $500 a day-use user fees?

And how would you pay down the $2,235,000 bond?

A far better use, in my opinion, is to sell off the property, with the legal condition that it be used for “senior housing,” which would be entirely consistent with the neighborhood, and addresses a perceived need for “low-income housing.”

Coming soon to Mukilteo fencing

Budget money ahead in the time of COVID! Just my two cents.

Like the Ice Princess sings, Let It Go!

Robert A. Marmaduke



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