Woodinville Village, a mixed-use wine village development, is now able to proceed with development after resolving a lawsuit with the city of Woodinville. Mike McClure, a partner in MJR Development, the real estate firm that began planning the wine village in the early 2000s, said Woodinville wanted the developer to pay them for frontage improvements on the project, such as curbs, gutters and sidewalks. It’s common for a city to charge developers for improvements bordering the project they’re working on, McClure said.
After the original project was put on hold, a new developer, Legacy Commercial, bought the note from the bank. Legacy has the same vision for Woodinville Village as MJR did, McClure said, but it’s a bigger company with more financial resources.
Walter Scott, who is in charge of brokerage and property management for Legacy, said Legacy inherited the litigation with the city of Woodinville when it purchased the note from Union bank.
“There was a dispute between the developer and the city about the amount that was to be paid for two of the three roundabouts,” Scott said.
Union bank filed a summary judgment motion saying that the city’s case was unfounded legally, and King County Superior Court ruled the bank was correct.
“At this point, providing all legalities are done, I think we’re ready to proceed with development,” Scott said.
Villas have already been built at Woodinville Village. The plans for the development also include several local wineries (including Brian Carter Cellars and DeLille Cellars), restaurants, a day spa, a gourmet grocer, a health club, a hotel and perhaps a distillery or microbrewery.
“This is a fairly involved project, and we’re going to be thoughtful and careful,” so as not to oversupply the community and to protect the environment, Scott said.
McClure compared Woodinville Village to several other mixed-use developments — Mill Creek Town Center, Kent Station and University Village near the University of Washington — that inspired him and Mike Raskin, the other partner in MJR. They liked Mill Creek Town Center’s “wind-y main drag” with retailers on both sides, and they appreciated how the parking in University Village is designed so “it doesn’t feel like a big sea of parking,” McClure said.
But aside from Sonoma and Napa, Scott said there aren’t any other such developments centered around wineries.
“It’s so unique,” he said. “There’s not anything like it anywhere.”
He said Woodinville Village would take advantage of the “natural beauty of Woodinville” while benefitting the city. The development will raise more than $1 million in sales taxes in the first year, and much more once it’s fully developed, Scott said.
Both developers emphasized their excitement about the project.
“We’re excited to move the project forward, and we still believe in the original vision,” McClure said.