The Aberdeen City Council has given its stamp of approval on the placement of a Tesla Supercharger station as part of the future Gateway Center.
The center is envisioned as a regional enterprise location. It would offer conference and event spaces, a gift store, coffee shop and office space for Greater Grays Harbor Inc., which would relocate to the site. There would also be space for other tenants, according to the project plan completed in February.
“We weren’t ready to install anything ourselves,” said Mayor Erik Larson. “But it’s a good fit.”
Larson expects the Tesla station to help attract potential tenants to the center as the first project participant. It would also provide nearby restaurants and retailers with additional business, he said.
“People using the station might want to get something to eat or do some shopping while they wait for their car to recharge,” he said. “It takes about two hours.”
Council member Kathi Hoder said Tesla would also finish cleaning up the old Chevron property and installing infrastructure.
The supercharger station will be in a portion of the project designated as parking area. It’s currently a long-empty lot that used to be the site of a Chevron filling station referred to by locals as “Lake Chevron.”
The city bought it in 2014 for $250,000.
“That lot and ugly fence around it have been a pet peeve of mine,” said Council member Tim Alstrom. “I’m really excited about it.”
Initially, supercharger station will be only suitable for Teslas, but eventually it will be set up to recharge other models of electric cars.
A $30,000 grant will help Aberdeen reimburse Tesla for installing the station. The car company will add the non-Tesla charging stations at a later date, according to the lease agreement.
There are currently five of the charging stations operating in Washington: Burlington, Centralia, Ellensburg, Kennewick and Ritzville.
“It’s a great get,” said Council member Alan Richrod. “It’ll be the only one in the Olympic Peninsula.”
The entire Gateway Center project is estimated to cost at least $8 million. Aberdeen received $550,000 from the state legislature after obtaining $1 million for property purchases. Its location will be composed of the sites of the former Pourhouse and Selmer’s buildings near the Wishkah River Bridge, on the 500 block of East Wishkah Street, and several other neighboring properties.
Nearby is the Crystal Steam Bath building on F Street between Wishkah and Market, also purchased by the city, which is slated to be demolished this year. Other work on the parking area will begin soon with swaling and landscaping near the street.
The city, Grays Harbor County, Greater Grays Harbor Inc. and the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, are major participants in the Gateway Center.
Aberdeen is ceding its role as project leader to the county. The city will own the land and the county will own the building, Larson explained.
Construction on the project is slated to begin sometime in 2017 or 2018.