KENT, WA-The King County Council approved a $10 million loan to Kent city officials yesterday, paving the way for the purchase of a 17-acre plot of land that Kent officials have designated as an urban town center.

The land to be purchased is the Borden Chemical Plant property and adjacent Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad property, which is located between James and Smith streets, and spans from 4th S. and 1st S. Because the two properties cost a total of $12 million, the city plans to borrow money internally to make up the difference. Once developed, Kent officials believe the land will generate 10 times the sales and property tax revenue it now generates.

The city’s plan is to clean up the Borden land and then resell the two properties to a private developer under specific design guidelines that would mandate the mix of residential, retail and office space envisioned by the city. Brent McFall, the city’s chief administrative officer, says that more than five developers have already expressed interest in the project.

The city is anxious to close on the property and hopes to have redevelopment well under way within three years. Before anything can happen, however, the site, which contains contaminates that include methanol and urea formaldehyde, would have to be cleaned. Environmental consultants are now evaluating the property to determine what contaminants exist and how much it will cost to clean it up. The city of Kent is in negotiations with Borden officials over the costs associated with the cleanup and demolition.

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