Developer moving ahead with plans for Auburn drive-in property
By ROBERT WHALE
Auburn Reporter News reporter
October 18, 2012 · Updated 1:05 PM
The Robertson Property Group plans to turn the Valley 6 Drive-In Theaters site into a 70-acre, multi-phased, mixed-use residential and retail development, The Auburn Gateway.
That much is known.
Still unknown is exactly what businesses RPG hopes to attract or even when the Valley 6 will close.
But on Monday evening the Auburn City Council approved an ordinance rezoning four parcels totaling 11 acres of RPG's property at 219 49th St. NE, thus fulfilling the development agreement requirements approved by the Auburn City Council in November 2011.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Backus explained an oddity about the ordinance: why it had not followed the usual protocol and undergone review by the Planning and Community Development Committee.
"This was actually an ordinance brought forth from the hearing examiner, and it is a rezoning of a parcel totaling approximately 11 acres from ... heavy commercial to ... mixed-use commercial, and it is the recommendation of the hearing examiner that we accept that change," Backus said.
John Manavian, vice president of Real Estate Development for Los Angeles-based RPG, the real estate arm of the family that proposes to develop the theater property it has owned for more than 50 years, offered a glimpse of the project's status.
"We're working diligently right now with our consulting team to set the parameters of our property and our roadway systems and surveys so that we can begin to lock in how I Street's aligned with South 277th."
The RPG buys private movie theaters and properties throughout the country and develops them into something different than cinemas.
Last November the Council approved an ordinance and a master development agreement (MDA) between RPG and the City that set out guidelines for the development of the property. That allowed RPG to begin offering about 70 acres of property, that is, the Valley 6 site and several adjacent properties at the city's north end, for office, retail and residential development.
The Auburn Gateway Project site plan included in the MDA shows a multi-phased development of 720,000 square feet of retail, 500 residential units and/or up to 1.6 million square feet of office space.
It also calls for the extension of I Street Northeast north to South 277th.
In the MDA, the RPG agreed that the layout and uses of the Auburn Gateway Project would follow these strictures:
• Other than common areas, parking and access, no multiple family residential uses will be allowed on the ground floor of any building, only in the upper stories of multi-story buildings.
• It must contain more full-service, sit-down restaurants than fast food, including drive-thru restaurants.
• Gas stations and car repair service and parts business will be built only as part of a larger retail operation.Contact Auburn Reporter News reporter Robert Whale at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-833-0218, ext. 5052.