Andy Bronson / The Herald A parking garage deck is worked on as construction of the seven-story apartment building called CityCenter Apartments on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015 in Lynnwood, Wa. Lynnwood is experiencing a jolt of construction with two dozen major projects and more than $1 billion in development under way or soon to be underway.

Andy Bronson / The Herald A parking garage deck is worked on as construction of the seven-story apartment building called CityCenter Apartments on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015 in Lynnwood, Wa. Lynnwood is experiencing a jolt of construction with two dozen major projects and more than $1 billion in development under way or soon to be underway.

A billion dollars and change: Lynnwood grows up, literally

LYNNWOOD — Stand on the corner of 196th and 36th avenues, outside the Lynnwood Convention Center, and you can see the growth coming.

A crane towers to the south, putting up a seven-story apartment building. A couple of blocks to the west, a second crane is building an eight-story apartment building.

“I think the buzz is going out there now that the projects are happening,” said David Kleitsch, the city’s economic development director. “I think you’re going to have a lot more buzz when they start going vertical.”

These are big projects for the city that will forever change Lynnwood’s skyline, but it’s just a harbinger of things to come. The city is expecting a jolt of construction with nearly two dozen major projects in the pipeline.

So far, only six of those developments are under way.

The projects are a mix of public and private investments that will notably add more than 1,600 apartments to the city.

In all, the city expects more than $1 billion worth of construction in the next four years.

Engineer Chevy Chase, whose firm CG Engineering is working on a couple of the early projects, said he’s not surprised by the amount of development coming to Lynnwood.

“It seems like it’s time for it to me,” Chase said. “We had this long recession and there was pent-up demand. It seems like it’s long overdue.”

Now, the city is trying to get ready for all the new people — and the traffic and demands for public service that will entail.

“There are lots of moving parts right now, but we’re trying to get it all on the same train tracks,” Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith said. “So we’re ready for our growth and will be excited about it.”

Two of the most visible projects already begun are the seven- and eight-story apartment complexes near the convention center.

The CityCenter Apartments is to the south of the convention center. It will include 347 units and is an affordable housing complex.

To the west is the 308-unit City Center Senior Living Apartments. Both projects are in what the city envisions as Lynnwood’s City Center, a planned downtown for a city that never developed one.

A third apartment project is just getting started, called the Reserve at Scriber Lake Apartments, adding 295 units in a five-story building by the lake near Highway 99.

Also under way is work on the Edmonds School District’s maintenance and transportation facility, visible off I-5 in south Lynnwood, and Lynndale Elementary School, in west Lynnwood.

In the coming-soon category: Developers have submitted plans for a 150-room, six-floor Hilton Garden Inn Hotel just to the south of CityCenter Apartments, and the 231-unit Evergreen Village Apartments, along Highway 99.

The city expects three more major apartment complexes to move forward, including the second phase of Lynnwood Place, the mixed-use development at the Costco near Alderwood mall. The Edmonds School District is to build another elementary and add a second story to a third elementary.

Edmonds Community College has its own plans for a $36 million science, engineering and technology building on campus. The project is at the top of the wish list for the state’s community colleges and could be funded as early as this year.

Together, the projects represent a massive investment.

“With the rate of development seemingly accelerating, there are lots of reasons to think that the next 10 to 15 years is going to be Lynnwood’s decade,” said Paul Krauss, the city’s community development director.

Lynnwood typically approves about $50 million worth of development in a typical year. Last year, the city approved $201.5 million worth of construction projects. The city expects another $200 million in construction this year and another $200 million of construction projects in 2017.

Then, in 2018, Sound Transit is expected to start on the $400 million Lynnwood segment of light rail. In all, that’s more than $1 billion in construction

And the city isn’t really seeing the development yet that will happen when light rail reaches the City Center by 2023.

Could another recession put a damper on growth? Of course, Krauss said.

“Economic cycles come and go. God forbid they will ever be as severe as the last one,” Krauss said. “You have boom times and you have times when things go slow.”

But that construction is coming. A recession may delay some development, but eventually it will be built, Krauss said.

With so much construction planned, people have expressed concerns to Mayor Smith.

She said the city has worked to push development away from neighborhoods and into the City Center or around Alderwood mall, which is considered a regional growth center, or along Highway 99.

As Kleitsch puts it, the city is trying to protect its neighborhoods.

Still, there will be challenges, particularly with traffic in a city that already attracts large numbers of out-of-town shoppers to Alderwood mall or to other retailers and restaurants.

Two major road projects are planned to help with the traffic headaches. The city of Lynnwood already has $20 million to widen 196th Avenue from the Convention Center to the west, to Fred Meyer, a little less than a mile.

The work would add a lane in each direction, plus wider medians and wider sidewalks. There also will be bus lanes.

The city is also hoping to build a $30 million bridge west of Lowes, across I-5. That project, called the Poplar Way Bridge, would create a new route for traffic getting off the freeway to get to Alderwood mall.

Smith said that city staff is trying to figure out how to provide police and fire services and parks to so many new people.

She said she’s not concerned that so many of the new housing projects are apartments.

“We found a lot of young people moving into Lynnwood — it’s their lifestyle not to be burdened with a mortgage payment,” Smith said. “They would much rather be flexible and be mobile.”

She said those apartments will also provide needed housing for the city, which is expecting to add 20,000 residents within 20 years.

The affordable-workforce CityCenter project will be a place to live for many of the city’s restaurant and retail workers. The City Center Senior Housing Apartments will provide housing for older people who want to live in the community.

Other projects are planned to provide a diverse stock of housing for the city, including Lynnwood’s first development with homes reaching up to a million dollars, near Hall’s Lake.

Nearly half of the new apartments coming to Lynnwood will be built in the City Center area around I-5 and 196th Avenue.

That, along with the new hotel and coming light rail and a plan to add City Hall in the area, will energize the City Center, bringing an urban feel to that part of the community. When those people arrive, restaurants and shops are expected to follow, Kleitsch said.

Chase, the engineer whose company is working on the CityCenter Apartments, said he expects the projects will transform that area.

“I think there’s a domino effect,” Chase said. “As they’ll start all that work that whole area is going to change.”

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - In this Monday, March 23, 2020, file photo, a worker walks near a mural of a Boeing 777 airplane at the company's manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash., north of Seattle. Beginning in 2024, some 737 planes will be built in Everett, the company announced to workers on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
With 747 out, Boeing to open new 737 Max line at Everett’s Paine Field

Since the last 747 rolled out of the factory, speculation has been rife that Boeing might move some 737 Max production to Everett.

IonQ will open a new quantum computing manufacturing and research center at 3755 Monte Villa Parkway in Bothell. (Photo courtesy of IonQ)
Quantum computing firm IonQ to open Bothell R&D center

IonQ says quantum computing systems are key to addressing climate change, energy and transportation.

Nathanael Engen, founder of Black Forest Mushrooms, sits in the lobby of Think Tank Cowork with his 9-year-old dog, Bruce Wayne, on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Growing green mushrooms in downtown Everett

The founder of Black Forest Mushrooms plans to grow gourmet mushrooms locally, reducing their carbon footprint.

Barb Lamoureux, 78, poses for a photo at her office at 1904 Wetmore Ave in Everett, Washington on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Lamoureux, who founded Lamoureux Real Estate in 2004, is retiring after 33 years. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Barb Lamoureux, ‘North Everett’s Real Estate Agent’ retires

A longtime supporter of Housing Hope, Lamoureux helped launch the Windermere Foundation Golf Tournament.

AGC Biologics in Bothell to produce new diabetes treatment

The contract drug manufacturer paired with drug developer Provention Bio to bring the new therapy to market.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
US board says Boeing Max likely hit a bird before 2019 crash

U.S. accident investigators disagree with Ethiopian authorities over the cause of a 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash.

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, left, and store manager Dan Boston, 60, right, work to help unload a truck of recliners at Behar's Furniture on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Behar's Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it's time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Behar’s Furniture in Everett closing after 60 years

“It’s time to move on.” The small family-owned store opened in 1963 and grew to cover an entire city block.

Katy Woods, a Licensed Coach, Branch Manager, and experienced Banker at Coastal Community Bank.
Coastal Community Bank Offers Classes for Businesses

To support local business owners and their teams, Coastal offers complimentary Money… Continue reading

Innovative Salon Products online fulfillment employees, from left, Stephanie Wallem, Bethany Fulcher, Isela Ramirez and Gretchen House, work to get orders put together on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at the company’s facility in Monroe, Washington. The company began including pay, benefits and perks to its job listings over a year ago, well ahead of the new statewide mandate to include a pay range on job postings at companies with over 15 employees. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New state law requires employers to give pay range in job postings

Washington’s new pay transparency law aims to narrow wage gaps based on race or gender — though some companies may seek loopholes.

Paddywack co-owner Shane Somerville with the 24-hour pet food pantry built by a local Girl Scout troop outside of her store on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
An out-paw-ring of support: Mill Creek pantry feeds pets, day or night

With help from local Girl Scouts, the Mill Creek pet food store Paddywack is meeting the need for pet supplies in a pinch.

Kelly Cameron is the woodworker behind Clinton-based business Turnco Wood Goods. (David Welton)
Whidbey woodworkers turn local lumber into art

In the “Slab Room” at Madrona Supply Co., customers can find hunks of wood native to the south end of Whidbey Island.

Siblings Barbara Reed and Eric Minnig, who, co-own their parent’s old business Ken’s Camera along with their brother Bryan, stand outside the Evergreen Way location Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. After five decades in business, Ken’s will be closing its last two locations for good at the end of the year. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Print it or lose it: Ken’s Camera closes after decades caught on film

The local legend, processing film photos since 1971, will close its locations in Mount Vernon and Everett at the end of 2022.