Blaine investors to buy airport for $6 million
By Tara Nelson
In an unusual outcome, Blaine City Council has reached a consensus on what to do with the city’s airport.
During a special meeting Monday, Blaine City Council voted 5-0 to sell 32 acres of the Blaine airport to Gateway LLC, a joint venture between TC Trading owner Tom Hayes and Blaine dentist Patrick Rooney, if the details of an environmental review are favorable for the buyers.
Councilors met during 90-minute closed session and then voted to sell with little public discussion. Washington state law allows councilmembers to discuss real estate or candidate qualification matters in closed hearings.
According to the purchase agreement, Gateway made an offer of $5,976,500 in mid-March.
Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic said he thought the price was fair and that he was pleased at the possibility of doing business with two local principals.
“They’ve given this project a lot of thought and I think their vision for the property is one of high quality development,” he said. “If it happens it’s going to be very beneficial to the city both in terms of jobs, industry and taxes to the city.”
The city will retain a portion of the property for Skallman Park, the public works office and to expand Boblett Street east.
Councilmembers John Liebert, Scott Dodd, Harry Robinson, Bonnie Onyon, Paul Greenough voted to approve the sale. Council member Jason Overstreet was excused.
Council member Charlie Hawkins said he would abstain from voting because he felt the city should wait another five years until some of the current leases expire but agreed that the price was “very fair”.
Both Harry Robinson and Paul Greenough, who was recently appointed to the council to fill the position left by Mike Myers said if they would have been on the council prior, they would not have voted to close the airport but would support the sale since the decision was already made.
Gateway will have 30 days to conduct an environmental assessment and 45 days to submit a binding site plan, or a master plan to detail what types of activities and infrastructure they plan for the property.
The document did not contain specific plans and phone calls to Patrick Rooney’s office were not returned by press time but Tomsic said development there would likely fall under a mix of light industrial, wholesale and commercial for which the land is currently zoned.
The 42 acres is part of Blaine’s Gateway District and was rezoned earlier this year.