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St Edward Seminary will become a hotel

The decaying old building is getting a makeover—and a spa—in a deal with a private developer

Peter Stevens

The historic, late Romanesque seminary in St. Edward Park in Kenmore may soon be a hotel. The Washington State Parks Commission unanimously gave their OK to a 62-year lease to Seattle developer Kevin Daniels, who specializes in restoring historic buildings—previous projects include the Frye Art Museum and the Starbucks Center. The seminary, which has fallen into disrepair, would be rehabilitated by Daniels into a hotel with 80-100 rooms, meeting rooms, a restaurant, and wellness spa, and any significant changes would have to be approved by the parks department.

The lease also includes the park’s pool and gymnasium, although there are no current plans to develop either.

The Seattle Times reported on the benefit to Washington State Parks in its earlier coverage of the deal:

In lieu of rent, Daniels will purchase and transfer to state parks almost 10 acres of privately owned, undeveloped Lake Washington waterfront on the north edge of the park. A recent appraisal put the value of that property at $3 million.

Additionally, Daniels has agreed to charge overnight guests a fee comparable to a daily Discover Pass. State Parks estimates that will generate an estimated $246,000 a year for its general fund, or $55 million over the life of the lease.

Parks and Daniels both seem pretty pleased with the deal—Parks gets an extra quarter million dollars a year, and Daniels gets a new venture and a gorgeous restoration to add to the portfolio. But some neighbors aren’t as pleased with the arrangement.

A citizen advocacy group, Citizens for St. Edward Park, have been fighting commercial interest in the seminary for years—back in 2007, they opposed a McMenamins takeover, eventually driving the project away. Their Change.org petition opposing this project and demanding the state park “must remain publicly owned in its entirety” got nearly 3,000 signatures, but it appears to have not swayed this particular project.

St. Edward Seminary was originally built in 1931 by John Graham, Sr, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It operated as a seminary until 1976 and has remained largely unused since then, although park employees have periodically lived in apartments within the building.

Saint Edward Planning [Washington State Parks]

Frye Art Museum

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