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Silver Lake condo project would reach for the sky

Buildings in a development that is expected to break ground in the spring would rival downtown's Wall Street Building in height.

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By Krista J. Kapralos / Herald Writer
EVERETT - A Seattle architecture firm plans to break ground this spring for a cluster of high-end condominium and retail buildings that could very well change the north shore face of Silver Lake.

Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald
Ben Zarlingo shows plans for the new development on Silver Lake from the living room of his house on the south side of the lake. The development would be built on the north side, at the top left side of the photo.
According to plans submitted a year ago to the city of Everett's building permits department, the development, called Silver Lake Center, will include two eight-story condominium towers, retail and commercial space, two floors of underground parking and landscaping dotted with fountains and pools. The towers will be 111 feet tall, each comparable to the city's Wall Street Building on Wetmore Avenue in downtown Everett. No dollar figure was available for how much the project would cost. Information was not available on how long the project will take to complete. Alan Clark, head of Arca Architecture Planning and Urban Design, the firm behind the development, said he will publicly unveil his final plans in January. Until then, he won't discuss details of the development. "We want good development, and this is a high-quality development that Mr. Clark is proposing," city planning director Allen Giffen said. "This is one that is going to raise the bar in south Everett." It will be the first large-scale mixed-use development in the city to break ground, beating out the city's plans for land along the Snohomish River and the Port of Everett's North Marina project. As proposed, Silver Lake Center, designed to be built in two phases, would ultimately stretch south from 110th Street SE to Highway 527, which borders Silver Lake, and from Highway 527 on the west to Romio's restaurant and the edge of an apartment complex. The first phase, according to permit applications, will include the towers, underground parking and landscaping. The ground floor of each tower is reserved for restaurant and retail space. Other phases could include a two-story circular tower designed to hold a coffee shop, landscaped open space and high-end apartments. Clark plans to move a Safeway grocery store, now located on his property at the north end of the site, a few feet north to make room for the Silver Lake Center, city land use manager Gerry Ervine said.

Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald
Vehicles on the Bothell-Everett Highway drive past Silver Lake in Everett. A new development of condos and retail space is proposed near the lake's shoreline.
Safeway officials could not be reached for comment. Members of the Silver Lake Action Committee, the group that bitterly fought Costco Wholesale Corp. when the company built a store in the area, said Clark first met with them and shared his initial plans more than a decade ago. "Our reaction was that it was out of scale for the neighborhood, and that's what we told him. So he waited," said Dorthy Vandeventer, 68, head of the committee. "He was going to do this regardless." Clark's firm submitted an application for a building permit last December, and city officials asked the firm to revise certain technical elements of the plans. City Building Permits Manager Tony Lee said his department is waiting to hear back from Clark's firm on the revisions. Lee doesn't expect the plans to change significantly from what the firm submitted a year ago. Ervine said Clark has slowly purchased the lots in the development area over a period of about 10 years, and is now waiting for the state Department of Transportation to complete a widening project on the Bothell-Everett Highway, which hugs two sides of his land. The widening project is nearly complete, Ervine said. It includes a walking trail that will ultimately connect Clark's development with an area known as Green Lantern Park. Clark will rebuild the park as required by the shoreline permit he obtained for his development plan, Giffen said. The park will have design elements to match the Silver Lake Center. Clark appeared before the city's hearing examiner in November of last year. The development didn't require a rezone of the area, so the plans didn't require review by the Everett City Council. "We're expecting that he's going to move forward fairly quickly," Ervine said. "It's taken a long time to get to this point, but it's a large and complicated project." Ben Zarlingo lives with his wife and young daughter in a home on the lakeshore, directly across from the development site. "I wasn't reflexively opposed to this," he said. "I'm a proponent of good, high-quality development that improves the quality of life here. That's what Alan Clark will bring."

The Silver Lake Center, as shown in this rendering submitted by developer Arca Architecture Planning and Urban Design to the city of Everett a year ago, would include nearly 200 condos and retail and commercial space; the actual development may be different.
Several old homes on the site will be removed, including one that is occupied. The resident of the home could not be reached for comment. Silver Lake Action Committee member Peggy Claflin said the development will improve the area. "I don't know anybody that's actually taking action against it," she said. "The area now is such a tumble-down mess, so this will be a great improvement. The height is the thing we'll have to get used to." Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or

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