A Town Center owner speaks out about Hines property | Letter

The King family would like to set the record straight now and for the future. The property Tom Acker continues to refer to as the “former Hines property” was never owned by Hines. Hines put the three adjacent properties together for a beautiful downtown development that included public areas and a walkway through from 78th to 77th and would have included a 420 car garage partly funded by Sound Transit with 220 stalls dedicated to Mercer Island citizens.

The acre of ground housing Tiger Garden Restaurant, King Insurance, Queen Nails, Goesling Gallery among others has been owned since 1985 by the King family. Two of the families are active Mercer Island residents.

Hines was thwarted in their efforts by a loud “Save Our Suburbs” crowd at public meetings led by Tom Acker and his blue-shirted cohorts. The City Council promised Hines that they would not put them in the moratorium if they waited to submit their prepared plans for permitting. Hines complied but the council reneged on their promise and put them in the moratorium.

We would love to have our property developed to its potential but the code restrictions placed on it that are not placed on properties across the street have made this an unrealistic dream.

Hines isn’t the only large developer to make an offer and then walk away because of development restrictions placed on underdeveloped Town Center properties. Vulcan (a Paul Allen company) and others realized the restrictions were incompatible with any project of value.

It is sad to see a city prefer strip malls in its Town Center when a 5-story building sits across the street.

Our property will sit as it is in its 1962 form until a council is elected that realizes that vitality in the city core brings in dollars to its treasury. No city needs that more than Mercer Island. Its present council put the city in its sorry financial situation.

Judith M. King , manager

King Enterprises of WA, LLC