McDonald's looking again at Bayview

"Golden arches may rise from this site on Howard Road at Highway 525.Jim Larsen, staff photoMcDonald's is once again eyeing the Bayview area as the site of its first Whidbey Island restaurant outside of Oak Harbor.Island County Planning Director Phil Bakke confirmed Friday that somebody from the huge corporation had stopped by his department in Coupeville. A representative of McDonald's came in with clearing and grading inquiries, Bakke said. It was a three-minute conversation a couple of weeks ago.Bakke didn't get the representative's name.This isn't the first time McDonald's has had its sights set on Bayview. Five years ago, the company nearly purchased property near the Bayview Exxon station, across from Whidbey Tire and Auto. Plans then were to build a Chevron gas station with a 30-seat McDonald's restaurant included.The real estate agent in that deal was Lanny Edgeman, of I-5 Realty. Edgeman confirmed Friday that McDonald's is back and looking at other property in the Bayview area. The 1996 plan fell through due to high development costs at the proposed site, Edgeman said.McDonald's has talked to the county. That's the most action that's occurred, Edgeman said. He said the 1996 project had been much further along, and included signed contracts. But that all fell apart due to what Edgeman described as excess cost potentials . . . it wasn't the right place at the right time. At the time, high septic system costs were mentioned in news stories.The new site is apparently just up the highway, between Howard and Kramer roads, in the area of Blue Star Rockery. Edgeman said access to the McDonald's site would be from a county road rather than from the highway.The grading inquiry was made regarding property owned by Verlane Gabelein. Gabelein did not respond to a message left on his telephone answering machine. Nor did Brad Jeffers of McDonald's real estate office in Bellevue.Edgeman described the latest McDonald's project as tentative. There's no signed contract yet, he said. He described early inquiries with the county and water district as due diligence, before they do the hard work with the county to finally get a building permit. "

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