City of Mukilteo acquires 98-acre Japanese Gulch property
The City of Mukilteo signed a purchase and sale agreement with Metropolitan Creditors Trust to acquire the Japanese Gulch property on Friday, Dec. 27.
The agreement allows the city to purchase the 98-acre property for $5.4 million.
“We’re the proud owners of the 98 acres at Japanese Gulch,” said Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine on Friday after the deal was announced. “I couldn’t be more happy. We’ve worked very hard.”
The property has been the center of an ongoing debate, dating back to the late 1990s, after Metropolitan Mortgage’s bankruptcy put the property in a liquidation trust.
Several development proposals were filed for the property, including using portions of the property for warehouses, office space and other commercial uses.
The city, along with the state, Snohomish County, Japanese Gulch Group and Forterra, and many other individuals, fought to preserve the outdoor space for public use.
“I am so proud that we are able to ensure the preservation of Japanese Gulch. This has been a priority for my administration and for the outgoing City Council over many years,” Marine said.
“The City is fortunate to have strong allies among the Snohomish County Council; Senator Shin, Representatives Liias and Roberts of the 21st district; the expertise of Forterra and the grassroots enthusiasm of the Japanese Gulch Group.”
The money for the purchase includes $1 million from the state in recognition of the cultural heritage of the property, and $3.3 million in grant money from Snohomish County Conservation Futures program.
The rest of the money came from the city through park acquisition funds and real estate excise taxes.
“We bonded the Snohomish County Conservation Futures fund to seize just this kind of opportunity,” County Councilmember Brian Sullivan said. “We’ve been at this a long time – protection of the Gulch was a must have for the City of Mukilteo and for Snohomish County.”
The land became known as Japanese Gulch after the Mukilteo Lumber Company opened in 1903, and many workers who were Japanese immigrants lived in the area with their families.
“We look forward to continuing to help the City to preserve and maintain Japanese Gulch as a healthy urban forest with trails available to the public,” said Gulch Group President Arnie Hammerman in a press release.