News & Events

Public/Private Effort To Establish First Lodge and Conference Center in WA State Parks

Jan 10, 2017

Commission approves lease agreement to save Saint Edward Seminary building

Daniels Real Estate will invest nearly $50 million to rehab historic building; associated land exchange will add acres and trails to state park OLYMPIA – Jan. 9, 2017

In an historic decision today, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to accept a 62-year lease with Daniels Real Estate of Seattle to rehabilitate the Saint Edward Seminary Building at Saint Edward State Park near Kenmore. As part of the agreement, Daniels agreed to purchase a 9.7-acre private property that lies adjacent to the park and transfer it to State Parks in exchange for adaptive re-use of the building as a lodge. The property adds to the park’s acreage and natural area along Lake Washington and allows the agency to appropriately manage trails as part of Saint Edward State Park. “This project to rehabilitate Saint Edward Seminary will be a great value to the state of Washington ” said Steve Milner, Commission chair. “Thanks to Daniels, our staff and the public who participated in our very thorough public process, we are going to be able to change a significant liability into an asset for our state. Our state’s population continues to grow, and Saint Edward and the Seminary are in an urban area. I think the historic structure will draw new people into the park and introduce them, not only to the historic features but the natural aesthetic of the park and our state.” “We’re very excited to know that this incredible iconic building will be saved for the public to enjoy,” said Don Hoch, agency director.

We’re grateful to Daniels for his ongoing commitment and for his generosity and passion for historic projects and the public benefit they provide.”

Kevin Daniels expressed his enthusiasm for what he says is a unique and challenging project. “It was satisfying to see the overwhelming support for the project,” Daniels said. “It’s also been enjoyable meeting and talking with the people in the community of Kenmore, realizing that the park and this project are very important to them. We’re all going to be working together on something special for our state and future generations.” The Commission had a special public meeting on Thursday evening in Kenmore to take final public comment on the proposal, then convened a special meeting today in Olympia for consideration on the decision. The special meeting included a conference line at Kenmore City Council so that interested public could listen in. More than 200 people attended the Thursday public meeting, with a large majority voicing supporting of the project. Some testimony included concerns over specifics of the lease, including the amount of outdoor education space provided and issues around parking revenue.

Staff subsequently met with Daniels and addressed these concerns, providing lease refinements to the Commission prior to their decision today. The lease and amendments are available online: Following the special meeting today, Kevin Daniels and State Parks Director Don Hoch signed the lease agreement and the property transfer. Once the property transfer is finalized, the lease will take effect. State Parks acquired Saint Edward State Park in 1977. Since that time, the agency has explored a number of ideas for preservation, rehabilitation and re-use of the park’s iconic Seminary Building and grounds. In September 2014, the Commission considered management options ranging from building demolition to rehabilitation—and adopted rehabilitation as its preferred option. The Commission determined it would need to enter a partnership with a private or public entity to secure the capital investment needed to successfully rehabilitate the building. Any project would be required to align with the State Parks mission. It is anticipated that the lease agreement will generate additional annual revenue for State Parks through new Discover Pass sales and approximately $260,000 per year through access fees paid by overnight lodge guests.

For more information and background on the Saint Edward Seminary planning process, visit: