PORT ANGELES — Anian Shores developer Eric Dupar and city officials are finalizing a long-awaited agreement to buy city property for his retail-residential complex and parking garage.
Dupar said he expects a purchase and sale agreement for the 1-acre parking lot he leases from the city will be submitted for City Council approval by the end of April to middle of May.
Then he will submit garage building plans to city community development officials, with whom he’s been consulting.
“That way we can get started on the parking lot this summer,” he said Thursday.
The Bellevue-based developer, who owns the state Social and Health Service building a block away on West First Street, wants to build the tallest building downtown.
The broad, seven-story structure will stand at the corner of North Oak and West Front streets directly across from the Port Angeles Waterfront Center’s Field Arts and Events Hall on West Front.
“We’re ecstatic,” Dupar said Wednesday.
“Breaking ground is definitely coming up here soon, so we’re really excited, and so is everybody who is involved.”
Overall construction could take up to two years, with the parking garage completed by December to accommodate Field Hall patrons, he said. The performing arts center is expected to open by spring 2023.
Dupar is talking today with City Manager Nathan West to finalize additional steps that can be taken before the purchase and sale agreement is presented to council members, West said Wednesday.
Three years ago, on March 5, 2019, council members unanimously approved designating as surplus the parking lot if sold to Dupar and developed as the Anian Shores complex.
He proposed it to them a month earlier in a plan that included 75 residential units that was approved under a 2020 conditional use permit.
Back then, it was a $25 million project, which Dupar has increased to $32 million to $35 million after adding 20-25 units and relocating the garage to the rear of the site.
“COVID made prices go up,” he said Thursday, adding that materials and more residential units added to the cost.
Dupar’s architect is still working on a redesign, which will make it similar in some ways to Field Hall. The architects for both projects have discussed adding common features to Anian Shores.
West said he is confident Dupar and city officials will reach an agreement on the purchase-and-sale pact.
“We’ve been talking about this for years, and we are thrilled that Mr. Dupar wants to make this Anian Shores investment,” he said.
“It’s important to the city that he succeeds and that we work through it to get there.”
Anian Shores will include studios to three-bedroom units.
Whether Dupar builds apartments, condominiums or a mix of the two, rent and unit-purchase prices have not been determined.
“We just don’t know,” Dupar said. “It’s market driven.”
The residential building will have a ground floor of six or seven retail shops and a restaurant facing West Front Street.
It will include an office and a lobby. Dupar will employ a full-time property manager and up to two full-time maintenance workers.
The adjacent parking garage, with more than 350 stalls, will be moved to the south end of the lot, facing the alley, with access off West Front.
It will include subterranean level, a below-ground parking area with 25-50 spaces where police station parking was located that is now filled with dirt.
The fill has been tested and plumbed down to bedrock, where piles will be driven or drilled.
“The dirt should come out very easily,” Dupar said. “We’ve done soil tests.”
The police station, at the corner of West Front and North Oak, was later a copy store, then a pawn shop.
Dupar said a three-bay main entrance to the garage probably will be off West Front Street at the northwest corner of the building, 325 feet west of the intersection of West Front Street and North Oak Street.
“There’s all kinds of room for cars to slow down and go in,” Dupar said.
City officials will determine entrance and exit patterns for West Front and the alley behind Anian Shores.
“By moving the parking garage to the south of the building, more [residential] units will be allowed on the north side,” Dupar said.
He estimated garage construction could take four to five months.
Its relocation and solely placing storefronts on the sidewalk side is in keeping with new block frontage requirements contained in the city’s revised zoning codes, Community and Economic Development Manager Emma Bolin said.
The requirement is intended to make the downtown more attractive and vibrant, she said.
Anian Shores — at about 75 feet the tallest building downtown — needed a conditional use permit to allow for that height, back when the limit was 45 feet.
The new zoning code allows buildings of Anian Shores’ height, likely making the conditional use permit unnecessary.
“It no longer applies to the project unless something changes,” Bolin said.
Port Angeles Mayor Kate Dexter said Anian Shores would fill a void.
“I think we as a council have been excited about the idea of more people living downtown,” she said.
“Ninety-five units is no small number when you look at the number of housing units we need in terms of adding to our housing stock and adding to the downtown. It’s great this is possible and will be great when it’s done.”
Rents and residential unit purchase prices would be market-driven, with a standard goal of 95 percent to 97 percent occupancy, which most multifamily projects shoot for, Dupar said.
“It’s the market,” he said.
“It’s really critical that all across America, that wages keep up with inflation and the cost of building stays inside that envelope.
“We are searching for that sweet spot and we’re hoping the market helps us do that.
“We are sensitive, I am sensitive to people that need to have affordable housing,” Dupar said.
“We are not building some Airbnb monstrosity, I can tell you that.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at email@example.com.