Olympia City Council Unanimously Approves Option to Purchase 74 Acre Portion of the Property Commonly Referred to as the “LBA Woods”
(Olympia WA) The Olympia City Council unanimously approved an option to purchase real estate owned by DR Horton, consisting of approximately 74 acres adjacent to LBA Park, at its regular business meeting on July 21. This parcel, located at 3355 Morse-Merryman Road, is the site of the proposed Ashton Woods Development, formerly known as Trillium. As a condition of the option agreement, DR Horton is preserving their ability to move forward with the preliminary plat process to protect their ability to develop the property, in the event the City does not fully exercise the option to purchase.
Acquisition of “LBA Woods” was the top priority identified by the community during a public process the City recently conducted as part of its update of the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan. If purchased, this parcel would be the largest property acquired by the City since Grass Lake Nature Park in 1990. LBA Park would also become Olympia’s fourth largest park behind Priest Point Park, Grass Lake Nature Park, and Watershed Park.
In 2013 the City purchased a 5.3-acre portion of this (originally 79.3-acre) property to locate the City’s planned Southeast Olympia Water Supply reservoir. The City desires to purchase the remaining 74-acre parcel to expand its inventory of passive open space and secure additional athletic field-oriented community park acreage, both of which can be accommodated on this site. Additional efficiencies are presented by the parcels location adjacent to the existing developed support facilities at LBA Park. Field investigations indicate that athletic field drainage problems currently being experienced at LBA Park can be solved in a cost-effective manner by draining these fields into a former quarry excavation located nearby on the D.R. Horton parcel.
The D.R. Horton Company is concurrently seeking approval of a 400-lot preliminary plat for “Ashton Woods,” proposing 238 single-family lots and 162 townhome lots on the same property. The D.R. Horton Company has submitted a preliminary plat proposal and will continue to proceed in that process. A summary of the Option’s terms are below:
The initial cost of the Option is $250,000, with the first Option term expiring on March 30, 2016. The Option can be extended to June 30, 2017, with payment of an additional $250,000 option fee on or beforeMarch 30, 2016. If the Option is exercised and the balance of the acquisition price is paid in full prior to June 30, 2016, the total acquisition price will be $5,000,000. If the option is exercised on or after July 1, 2016, and before June 30, 2017, the acquisition price will increase to $6,000,000. In either case, at closing, all Option to Purchase fees will be credited towards the purchase price of the property. The balance of the purchase price is anticipated to be paid with a combination of revenue such as the proposed Olympia Metropolitan Park District, if approved by voters, or the 2004 Voted Utility Tax. As a condition of the agreement, D.R. Horton will maintain the ability to advance entitlements to the property (the ability to continue to pursue approval of the preliminary plat for Ashton Woods).