ROSLYN, WA — Forterra, a Washington-based nonprofit, will purchase a 30-acre property in Roslyn and explore developing the property for attainable housing, park and wetland space, community parking, and/or other uses. An affiliate of the organization intends to close on the property in November 2020 and begin dialogue with the community in 2021 about how to best develop the site.
The 30-acre property sits within Roslyn’s city limits and historic district, just southeast of the town center and adjacent to the Coal Mines Trail. Forterra is purchasing the property from a company affiliated with Suncadia, a local resort, and intends to work with the community to explore a variety of opportunities for the site, including livable, affordable, and sustainable housing that fits within the character of Roslyn.
“Our foremost goal is to listen, understand and respond to the community’s needs,” said Michelle Connor, Forterra president and CEO. “We have heard there’s a need for attainable housing and want to work with the city and community to build on the opportunity this land provides.”
The Roslyn Downtown Association reached out to Forterra in 2017 about the opportunity to purchase the property. The two organizations also worked together in 2019 to transfer ownership of the Northwest Improvement Company building in an effort to preserve an important structure in Roslyn’s history.
“I am delighted Forterra has decided to become a member of our community,” said Jeri Porter, a Roslyn Downtown Association board member. “Having served our city, eight years on council, eight years as mayor, and equally as many years on the RDA board, I appreciate Forterra’s intended use of the property obtained from Suncadia. This project addresses Roslyn’s needs, following their commitment to Roslyn’s rich history while protecting the property’s wetlands and open space.”
Forterra will work with Roslyn residents and city leadership to craft a development approach for the property. Forterra will begin visioning and dialogue with the community in 2021, building on prior planning efforts by the University of Washington’s Storefront Studio program, led by Jim Nichols, and the consulting firm The Ostara Group, led by Rebecca Zanatta. Forterra is committed to community-driven design and seeking to incorporate community priorities through the physical development, such as honoring Roslyn’s historical character, providing public parking and developing commercial space or other community attractions. In addition to developing housing, Forterra will incorporate healthy wetlands and beautiful greenspace within the site.
Momentum for this effort was generated through the leadership of Sen. Judy Warnick who sponsored legislation in 2019 providing funds for a Local Community Projects grant to advance the effort. The grant, funded through the Department of Commerce, provided necessary resources for Forterra to conduct due diligence and purchase the property. Suncadia has worked closely with Forterra, offering flexibility and patience, which has helped Forterra’s effort to purchase the property.
Forterra has worked in the upper-Kittitas County area for more than a decade, completing a number of habitat and ranch conservation projects in that time. In 2013, Forterra helped conserve over 50,000 acres in the Yakima River Basin watershed, now designated as the Teanaway Community Forest. The 30-year-old nonprofit works across Washington to conserve land, develop innovative land use policy and support community-driven development.
Managing Director of Media Relations and Storytelling, Forterra
Roslyn Downtown Association
Forterra is a Washington-based nonprofit that enhances, supports, and stewards the region’s most precious resources — its communities and its ecosystems. Forterra conserves and stewards land, develops innovative policies, and supports sustainable rural and urban development. In its 30-year history, Forterra has helped conserve more than 250,000 acres. Its work stretches from the farmlands and river canyons of Yakima to the estuaries and forests of Washington’s coastline, reaching more than 100 counties, cities, and towns. Visit www.forterra.org.