By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — One of the largest developments in Snohomish County in years is finally moving forward.
Lynnwood Place, a mix of stores and apartments across from the Alderwood mall, is planned for the long-vacant 40 acres once home to Lynnwood High School.
The main tenant on the property would be Costco, but Texas-based development company Cypress Equities also wants to build several mid-rise — seven stories or less — apartment buildings with retail stores, restaurants and offices located on the street level.
After completion, Lynnwood Place at 990,000 square feet would rival the size of the mall at 1.3 million square feet. Costco would take up 160,000 square feet on the north 15 acres of the property.
And that leads to the important question: How can the area handle more traffic?
During a well-attended Lynnwood City Council meeting Monday, former City Councilman Ted Hikel asked if council members had ever been held up in traffic around Alderwood mall in the shopping days before Christmas.
“Do you really believe you won’t have more problems (with traffic)?” Hikel said.
Public works director Bill Franz said the development proposal includes the construction of a four-lane bypass road that would wrap around Lynnwood Place and connect Alderwood Mall Parkway with 184th Street SW on the north and west sides of the property.
With changes to some intersections and current streets, the Alderwood area would be busy, but studies show that the traffic would still move, Franz said.
A representative of Cypress Equities maintained that by keeping shopping centered at Alderwood, fewer traffic problems would occur elsewhere.
Ian Casey, 17, a student at Lynnwood High School expressed concerns about the proposed Costco gas station and its location near neighborhoods northwest of the development.
A Costco representative said owners of the Issaquah-based chain are certain that neighbors won’t be bothered by gasoline vapors or need to worry about safety issues.
While a Costco business store is located on Highway 99 in Lynnwood, the nearest full-service Costco stores are off Highway 99 in Shoreline, the Silver Lake Costco in south Everett, the Woodinville Costco on Highway 9 and the Marysville Costco at Smokey Point.
The City Council is considering the changes to the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning code that would allow for the development of Lynnwood Place. People have until Tuesday at the council’s next work session to submit written comments at the city permit center.
City staff and the Planning Commission have recommended approval of the changes that would allow Cypress Equities to apply for building permits. A council vote on the zoning changes is expected as early as Feb. 25. After that comes consideration of specific details of the proposed project, such as architecture, landscaping, entrances and more, along with a review of the development’s environmental impact statement.
The Edmonds School District retains ownership of the 40-acre property and would benefit from lease revenues. The development has been in the works since about 2007 when the Edmonds School Board began working on a development agreement with Cypress Equities.
The economic recession caused a hiatus in the process, said Lynnwood community development director Paul Krauss.
The former high school site has been vacant since 2009, when students were moved to the new Lynnwood High School building on North Road east of I-5.
The voter-approved bond issue that built the new high school also included language that allows the district to lease the site of the former school building. Lease income will go into the district’s capital fund.
Edmonds Superintendent Nick Brossoit told the council Monday that a super majority of voters approved the plan for the land. Lease revenues will help the school district repair and replace many of its aging buildings.
“Leasing this property makes sense,” Brossoit said. “It will save the taxpayers money.”
While the city of Lynnwood does not yet have a detailed analysis of sales tax revenue that would come from Lynnwood Place, “suffice to say it would be significant,” Krauss said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
People can comment until Tuesday on changes to the city zoning codes that would allow for construction of Lynnwood Place. Written comments can be dropped off at the city’s permit center, 4114-198th St. SW, Suite 7. More info: 425-670-5400.