Swinerton In the News

Swinerton Builders: May 11, 2017

Ellensburg water park project takes on new partner

In early July, Swinerton Builders of California is slated to become the new partner in the large water park project proposed for the south Interstate 90 interchange area.

Swinerton has bid $15.5 million for the property. According to Kittitas County Superior Court documents, the bid will be accepted on July 3 unless a higher qualified bid is submitted.

“We are joining up with Swinerton Builders as our new partners,” said Gene Martin, project proponent.

According to its website, Swinerton was founded in 1888 and now has over 3,000 employees across the nation. Swinerton projects in this region range from the Yakama Legends Casino to the Southwest Washington Regional Crime Lab in Vancouver.

Long Road
The Surf City Water Park has a history that dates back to before the Great Recession. The recession sidetracked the project, but Martin kept working on a variety of financing sources, including at one time the EB-5 investment program that attracts foreign investments with the promise of visas. It’s been most notably used by Chinese investors. He dropped that when it appeared conventional financing was available.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Martin said of the process to find financing.

A couple of years ago the project picked up steam again and started the state Environmental Policy Act process. That process concluded last October with the city issuing a mitigated determination of non-significance. From the standpoint of city officials, the project is ready to move forward to the next steps.

This fall, though, financing fell through again. That triggered investors calling for a sale of the property. A notice was issued describing eight short plats as shovel ready “with required permits for the development of a destination water park and convention center.” The asking price was $15.9 million.

At the time Martin said that did not mean an end to the water park project. When contacted this week, Martin said the involvement of Swinerton bodes well for the project and that he continues to finalize the financing plans.

“The next thing we do when financing is complete is to start construction,” Martin said.

Plans remain the same
Surf City has been promoted as the Northwest’s largest indoor water park.

The first phase of the project includes the indoor water park and a six-story, 249,894 square-foot, 215-room hotel. The second phase would include another six-story 189-room hotel. The indoor water park would be 117,000 square feet and would feature the first deep water wave machine in the U.S.

Martin said those plans have not changed.

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