BP buys 1,100 acres for $30 million

Published on Thu, Jan 3, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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BP buys 1,100 acres for $30 million

By Jack Kintner

The BP Cherry Point refinery has purchased an 1,100-acre piece of property, commonly referred to as west Cherry Point, from the Trillium Corporation ending a long-standing effort by Trillium to develop the property as a combination of light industrial and residential property.

The development, called Alden Reach, was announced in 2006 but Trillium was never able to convince the county to change the zoning from heavy industrial to a mixed use designation. Last March Whatcom County Council denied Trillium’s appeal of earlier zoning decisions without discussion, and Trillium chose not to pursue the matter in Superior Court.

The 1100-acre parcel sold for just under $30 million, less than half of Trillium’s original asking price, according to a company source who chose not to be identified. The property includes several miles of deep-water shoreline and upland meadows and woodlands that were once the site of several area farms.

According to BP officials, it’s the last major piece of property they needed to acquire as buffers around their operation. Bill Kidd, BP Cherry Point’s director of external affairs, said that he and former Trillium CEO David Syre had been working on the deal since last summer in what he called a “very amicable negotiation. We felt it’s prudent to have separation between what we do and a growing neighborhood. And as of now we have no future plans for the property.

It’s essentially a piece of risk management, plus there’s value to industrial land in Whatcom County although we’re not in the land speculation business.”

Kidd also said that a prior donation of land to the Whatcom Land Trust for a waterfront park will be honored.