Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said negotiations are continuing with the Army as to whether the city will receive control of the 28-acre Army Reserve base along the northeast corner of Discovery Park.

   The site is the last vestige of the Army base at park location.

   “There are still some legal and regulatory hurdles to work through,” McGinn said after the Feb. 25 closing ceremonies for the reserve center. “[The Army] will transfer the property to someone and the City of Seattle will be first in line.”

McGinn said the army must complete an environmental study of the site, under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, before it can discuss transferring the property to the city or anyone else.

Also being negotiated is whether the city would have to pay for the property or whether it would be transferred to the city control free of charge.

   McGinn said the city is also re-evaluating whether to propose using the site for the housing developments originally put forward in a 2008 plan. 

   That plan called for between 108 and 125 housing units be developed on the reserve center site. The units would range from housing for the homeless to market-rate homes selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

   The city also needs to resolve a lawsuit   by local Magnolia residents who were opposed to the city’s low income housing plans and also maintained Seattle had to complete its own environmental study of the site before moving forward with any development. However, city officials say they are not willing to pay for an environmental study of the site until they are clear that the army will turn the property over to their control.

   McGinn’s Senior Policy Advisor Kenneth Pittman said that it may take another six to eight months before the Army completes its NEPA study and the city has completed its evaluation of the site and made a new recommendation.

   During his speech, McGinn said he could relate to the mayor who passed on buying Fort Lawton for $1. But he assured the crowd he wanted to do something “special” with the reserve center when and if it is turned over to the city.