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Horses to return to Stevenson Farm

Renderings of the former Stevenson Farm site, now referred to as MI Funny Farm, show a number of new buildings. McClellan Architects is the firm assigned to the project. - Contributed art
Renderings of the former Stevenson Farm site, now referred to as MI Funny Farm, show a number of new buildings. McClellan Architects is the firm assigned to the project.
— image credit: Contributed art

Promises to keep Mercer Island’s former Stevenson Farm an equestrian site are progressing. The approximately five-acre parcel, at 6053 Island Crest Way, was sold in August 2012, after property owner Lewis Stevenson died in 2011.

Early renderings by McClellan Architects reveal a built-out but still green site registered with the King County Assessor’s Office as MI Funny Farm. The property was sold for $5.8 million to TAE Real Estate Holdings, LLC of Bellevue, whose manager, Thomas Ellison, is owner and chairman of Savers, Inc., best known for its Value Village chain in the Northwest.

In fall of last year, owners applied for permits to begin construction of a single-family residence, a carport, barn and horse arena.

Public records show that the current owner had to get city approval to legally continue the site’s “non-conforming use” as a horse farm.  Final approval is still pending with the city, which is waiting for a response from MI Funny Farm regarding changes to the plan.

The Stevenson Farm was boarding 10 horses — about half of its 20 stall capacity — when it shut in 2011, ending a 60-year legacy of lodging horses. The land was purchased back in 1951 by the Stevenson family and has retained much of its original character. When the site sold in 2012, many of the still standing structures had been there since the early 1950s, including chicken houses, a cabin and a horse barn. Lodging was a mostly self-care operation. For $200 a month, boarders had open space, access to water and basic services like manure clean-up in the pasture, though stalls were not outfitted with electricity.

For a brief time the Mercer Island School District considered buying the property to use as a site for the districts expansion or as an asset to acquire future land for construction. However, after speaking with neighbors who vehemently opposed the plan, the School District withdrew that idea.

Since its sale the owners have applied for and proceeded steadily with basic maintenance and demolition permits, bulldozing all existing buildings, many of them rundown and caked with moss.

McClellan specializes in equine facilities, including barns and riding arenas, with over 100 projects under the firm’s belt.

The property owners and McClellan Architects could not comment in time for deadline.

 

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