Port Blakely Communities President Alan Boeker will resign next week

January 8, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2:14 p.m. Jan. 8, 2010

Port Blakely Communities President Alan Boeker will step down Jan. 15, the Issaquah Highlands developer announced Thursday.

René Ancinas, the president and chief operating officer of parent company Port Blakely Companies, will assume responsibilities for the real estate division. Ancinas will work alongside Judd Kirk — a senior adviser and a key player in establishing the vision for the highlands — and other managers after the transition.

A statement from the company said Boeker would “pursue other development opportunities in the real estate industry.”

Boeker joined Port Blakely in 2007. The tenure included milestones as the highlands boomed and grew to include more than 7,000 residents.

Last October, Gov. Chris Gregoire and other dignitaries broke ground for a Swedish Medical Center campus in the community — a project that will create more than 1,000 jobs by the time the entire hospital opens in 2012.

The community recorded another achievement last December, when dignitaries broke ground for a YWCA affordable-housing complex. Volunteers continue construction on Habitat for Humanity houses in the community, and plans for a Regal movie theater are in the works.

But problems with the urban village concept — with homes, offices and shops built within close proximity — came to the fore as the economy soured.

Residents grumbled throughout 2009 about the pace of commercial development in the community. A plan to allow a highlands gas station sputtered in late December. Deals to bring a grocery store to the community faltered as well.

Port Blakely seeks a partner to complete the planned commercial development in the highlands. The company praised Boeker in a statement posted on the highlands’ Web portal Thursday.

“Most important, he stabilized the project amidst a tough and unforgiving economy, which laid the foundation for us to be able to move forward with a partner,” the company statement said.

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8 Responses to “Port Blakely Communities President Alan Boeker will resign next week”

  1. AGA on January 8th, 2010 3:47 pm

    ….Residents grumbled throughout 2009 about the pace of commercial development in the community. A plan to allow a highlands gas station sputtered in late December. Deals to bring a grocery store to the community faltered as well.

    and the new 230 units will suffer the same fate…. when will you all wake up and see the calamity?

  2. rebecca on January 8th, 2010 3:50 pm

    My husband and I were owners in the Issaquah Highlands up until last month when our house FINALLY closed for sale. Through the closing process we discovered MANY issues and hidden fees associated with living in the planned community. Not only were development promises not kept, but as owners we were liable to pay a “move out” fee to Port Blakely directly which was a hefty percentage of the sale of our home!. Apparently the “fine print” is detailed in the 250+ pages in the CCRs provided upon move-in. Turns out, that owners who sell (and this does NOT apply to buliders), have to fund the payroll and operations of Port Blakely itself. This practice does not exist anywhere else in the State of Washington. Never would I recommend the Highlands after dealing with the sale process or the faltered promises from the builders or the community management itself. Economy aside, it’s a poorly managed community with many missed expectations as well as hidden surprises.

  3. dat on January 9th, 2010 10:25 am

    Anyone who says they didn’t know there was a % payable to the Highlands Council on moveout clearly didn’t perform due diligence when they purchased. It’s in the documents you are supposed to actually read before signing.

  4. Amy on January 9th, 2010 1:46 pm

    HI Rebecca!

    What was this “move out” fee? Is it the 1/4%?

  5. Adam on January 9th, 2010 2:46 pm

    Rebecca, the fee that you are talking about does NOT go back to Port Blakey – it goes to Highlands Council which is completely separate – Highlands Council puts on events in the community and runs Blakely Hall – the idea of the fee (.25 percent (a quarter of one percent (or $250 for every hundred thousand dollars of the sale price)) is to reinvest in the community – Sorry you didn’t read the CC&R’s but you’d better believe that we did before we moved in – in the grand scheme of things I think it is a small fee to pay when you consider how nice some of the events are. And furthermore just because a fee isn’t used elsewhere doesn’t make it a bad idea – we moved to IH BECAUSE it is different.

    Certainly the delays have been frustrating, we’ve been here since 2001 – but the thing all along is that PB has wanted to do this RIGHT. Part of the delay in getting a grocer was that community feedback was to wait for getting a DIFFERENT grocery store than the QFC’s and Safeways that can be found everywhere.

    As for Alan, I guess that he was supposed to be a great numbers guy, but unfortunately he suffered in comparison to Judd Kirk who was much more of a people person. Rene has been good in other dealings I’ve had with him in the past and I believe is actually part of the family that started/owns Port Blakely.

  6. Bob on January 11th, 2010 10:28 am

    And, the reason for wanting a different grocery store was so we could spend more money for the same products than at Safeway or QFC? It’s time to realize that the hubris of Port Blakely is no longer an excuse for the lack of commercial development and services in the Highlands. The original ideas have long passed. How do we measure “…wanted to do it Right.” Perhaps, when we have a grocery store, a movie theater, a few more family friendly restaurants, etc. Those would be a good start. We don’t need more ideas, we need people who know how to make things happen.

    Finally, where does all of this community feedback come from? I hear things like 75%… It would be surprising and welcome, if that high of a percentage responded to anything. Is there data, facts or just generalizations. If you have the data publish it, along with how it was collected, and if possible by community. No more statements without verifiable facts. It’s performance that counts. Let’s get some business friendly leases and agreements signed and move forward.

  7. Adam on January 11th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Community feedback came from a variety of sources, I know that PB has officially conducted a number of surveys in the past, but informal polls were frequently taken at the various “Town Hall” meetings that have taken place at Blakely Hall over the years – and they always stated that they could have a QFC or Safeway signed on quick, but people always stated they wanted something different.

    I can’t help but laugh at Bob’s question about 75% of the community responding to anything – of course that high of a percentage of the community didn’t respond. Have you ever tried to organize a community meeting or get communities in general to respond to surveys? It is like pulling teeth to get people to respond. People would rather sit back and armchair quarterback decisions that they weren’t involved with because they were “too busy” to get involved in the first place. Having said that, there is a Town Hall meeting on Feb 3rd @ Blakely Hall to discuss the retail that I hope to see you at Bob :)

    Finally, I throw the question back at you though Bob – do we really want another QFC? I can drive to 3 different ones in about 10 mins. Heck I can get to 2 Safeways in that time. The feedback was always that people wanted something more special and people understood that could come with higher prices but it also meant that they could get more specialty items and perhaps more selection of items. If you’ve ever visited a Central Market you would understand why PB worked so hard to try to get them to come to Issaquah – and I’d argue that their prices were frequently better than QFC.

    Again, in case anyone missed it above – Town Hall Meeting @ Blakely Hall on Feb 3rd from 6 – 7:30PM to discuss High Street Retail and future Development plans.

  8. Bob on January 13th, 2010 12:21 am

    The “people” wanted something more special… The “people” being the attendees at the Town Hall meetings? Statistically, not a representative sampling. Would be interesting to know the demographics. But, apparently they don’t have that information.

    Answer to your question – Yes I would be happy if we had a QFC, Safeway or Central market, etc……. But, we don’t, and that’s my issue. Any truth to the rumor they lost one of the markets because PB moved the location?

    Adam, my question back to you. What were the responses to PB’s surveys? Your statements are intriguing, but lack facts, data and specificity. Is any real data available? Can we see it?

    Thanks, for the notice on the Town Hall meeting, I’ve put it on my calendar

    I believe we’re going to see major changes to the original plans for a high end shopping areal in the Highlands. Those plans have tanked with the recession. That may be the agenda for the next Town Hall meeting.

    Sideline – Central Market, Metropolitan Market, Larry’s Market (Rip), Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck), been there, done that, have the T-shirt. I understand there are about 9000 people in the Highlands. It’s a pretty sure bet that most of them just want to buy groceries, not have a glandular reaction to a ‘Tony” grocery store in the hood. You know, the ones that are too busy and don’t have the time to attend Town Hall meeting or drive off the hill.


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