While not a resident of Maple Valley, as the contractor of the Capstone Office Building, I feel it incumbent to bring to the public’s attention some issues regarding the recent city manager’s decision to pursue a different location for City Hall than the move to the Capstone Building, which had been previously negotiated before Mr. Johnston arrived on the scene.
Perhaps the most glaring item appears to be the city’s willingness to ignore their own codes when choosing a location. The city has strict parking requirements for office buildings and has chosen a location that fails to meet the code by better than 25 percent. This is for a user who typically exceeds normal parking requirements. You can look forward to not finding a parking space when you next visit City Hall. The city manager apparently is willing to play fast and loose with the numbers as well. He has compared the future expenses for the city between the Windemere Building and the Capstone Building based upon different criteria. Mr. Johnston apparently intends to leave the Windemere Building “as is” versus the Capstone Building, which was being designed to the city’s special requirements. As the Windemere Building does not have any council chambers, one can only assume that the City has decided they are not necessary. If this is the case then perhaps Mr. Johnston should have requested a revised proposal from the owners of the Capstone Building reflecting this revision. There are numerous other items that were requested by the city as part of their lease negotiations with the owners of the Capstone Building, which are not existing in the Windemere Building.
While not directly involved in lease negotiations, I have been led to believe that when a true comparison is made, the Capstone Building can be acquired at a lower cost.
As mentioned by Rick Pasko, a real estate developer in the Maple Valley area with no “skin in the game”, the Capstone Building provides superior location and amenities to the Windemere Building. Additionally, one should question why the city needs to get a deal done with the owners of the Windemere Building in a week after negotiating in good faith and having reached an agreement with Capstone owners over a 10-month period.
Finally the citizens of Maple Valley need to be aware that the owners of the Capstone Building, David and Jackie Soleim, who are long time residents of Maple Valley, and who have throughout the years been strong supporters of the city and various civic activities, will be significantly hurt by Mr. Johnston’s decision to invalidate 10 months of mutual cooperation by the city and the Soleims for what appears to be a somewhat arbitrary and knee jerk decision.
I would urge the citizens of Maple Valley to inquire of Mr. Johnston what the urgency is in changing locations at the 11th hour and why. Further I would urge you to contact your elected officials and have them make sure that the final choice for your City Hall meets not only the financial needs of the community but the functional code and image requirements you should expect.
Robert W. Power,