After its closure more than a decade ago, the Red Apple Market in Sumner was demolished Thursday.
The demolition of the building was a long time in the making, and many city officials aren’t too sad to see it go.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Sumner Mayor Bill Pugh said of the demolition. “Not only are we getting rid of a blighted building but we’re setting up for a new beginning.”
It’s an incredible opportunity. Not only are we getting rid of a blighted building but we’re setting up for a new beginning.
Bill Pugh, Sumner mayor
The grocery store closed in 2006 and has served as a parking lot ever since — first for city staff, then last year as a reserved commuter parking lot.
The final decision to demolish the building was passed by City Council last fall.
The property will be paved over to add more parking stalls, with a tentative completion date of spring. In the meantime, parts of the lot will still be available to commuters.
The temporary overflow solution is to let Red Apple Lot pass-holders park on the adjacent street parking around the site, most of which is normally three-hour parking, Carmen Palmer, Sumner’s communications director, stated in an email.
In the future, the lot will be highly desirable to developers — but first, the city has to complete a clean-up process for soil contamination underneath the property. The contamination was caused by a former gas station adjacent to the market.
“After years of work from our Legal Department, we did get compensation from the gas companies as well as the owner of Sumner Tow,” Palmer said. “While we appreciate the contributions, there is still cost to the city to remediate the soil, to demolish the building, etc., which is why the Red Apple lot is paid reserved parking and not just an open lot.”
Funds raised from the paid lot will go toward continued cleanup of the site, which will be a multi-year process.
After the cleanup is completed, the only question that remains is how the site will be developed.
“(The lot) fits the current demand to offer retail/services on the ground floor to further support a strong, healthy downtown core, and housing options upstairs that offer the highly desirable multi-family option within walking distance to the Sound Transit station plus easy access to Main Street,” Palmer said. “This is the kind of housing that is in high demand with downsizing seniors, with millennials and even with families.”
The first step toward any sort of development was demolition of the site. Sumner residents aren’t sad to see the building go, either, Palmer said the day before the demolition.
“I just ran out to take a picture of the equipment staged, and a man walking by asked when it was coming down. I answered tomorrow, and he said, ‘Finally!’ I think that answers it all best,” she said.