ARLINGTON — All around this growing city, construction projects are taking shape and others are in the pipeline.
Buildings are popping up along many of Arlington’s main roadways. Most of the new developments are apartment complexes, including for senior housing, or are designed for industrial and commercial use.
Other projects are in the planning stages, and most require adding some kind of traffic improvements.
Not that long ago, Arlington saw no new construction, city spokesperson Kristin Banfield said.
“With the recession, we had virtually no building going on for quite a few years,” she said.
People have likely been moving to the area because of less available housing and high prices in other parts of Western Washington, said Mike Pattison, senior Snohomish County manager for the Master Builders Association.
“We are definitely in the throes of a housing shortage,” he said. “Which means Arlington, Stanwood, Sultan, communities like this, are going to see those home-seekers come to their communities.”
Arlington’s population has grown by nearly 2,000 since 2010, according to state data.
For nearly a decade, Arlington and Marysville have been working to boost what’s now known as the Cascade Industrial Center. It covers about 4,000 acres, which fall within the two cities.
In July, the Puget Sound Regional Council named it a Manufacturing Industrial Center, which could help secure money for federal projects and hasten job growth.
About 8,000 people work there now, the Arlington Municipal Airport being an employer. By 2040, the number of jobs is expected to reach 25,000.
The designation may have something to do with some of the new buildings.
In a few cases, businesses have moved from other crowded areas, such as in King County, to have more space, Banfield said.
Recent additions to the city include a Coca-Cola distribution center that appears to be mostly finished on 59th Avenue NE, near the Arlington Boys & Girls Club.
A couple of miles away, Gayteway Business Park is under construction on a 54-acre site along 67th Avenue NE. Work started about four months ago.
Once complete, the property is set to have 11 buildings with office and warehouse space, along with up to 1 million square feet of industrial or manufacturing space, according to the project website.
Almost two miles south of there, work has started on a combined apartment and business complex at the intersection of 172nd Street NE and 67th Avenue NE.
What was initially a grass field has been cleared and filled with gravel. Digging won’t begin until the rainy season is over, Banfield said.
Eventually, about 200 apartment units are expected to open up there, along with a community center, walking paths, dog area and pool, as well as 6,300 square feet of retail space.
The city began allowing these kinds of mixed-use spaces a couple of years ago. It’s a way to provide more housing choices that are close to shopping and other businesses, Banfield said.
“When we took a look at our housing stock, we tended to be imbalanced,” she said. “We had a lot of single-family housing and virtually no alternatives.”
For now, these are only a few of the projects already underway in Arlington. Several others are still in the planning stages with no dates set for construction.
In a couple of cases, the land has already been developed and buildings are either going to be added or old structures are going to be replaced.
One plan is to build three more buildings in an already existing retail park, in the 3700 block of 166th Place. Another plan is to construct a three-story building with 18 apartments and a daycare on the bottom floor, at 3321 173rd Place NE.
At 16612 51st Avenue NE, more than a dozen buildings could sprout up to provide housing and retail space. If the project moves forward as proposed, 51st Avenue NE would be widened and two more roads added.
Over time, there could be 115 town-home units at 604 E. Gilman Ave. near the downtown.
“It’s not like 115 units are going to go up over night,” Banfield said. “It’s going to be gradual.”
A neighborhood meeting to go over the project is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the Arlington City Council Chambers, 110 E. Third St.
All of these projects are on private property, where owners are allowed to develop the land as long as it follows city code, Banfield said.
Most of the projects require fixes to ease traffic congestion. Separate road projects are expected to happen in the coming years, as well.
The state Department of Transportation plans to improve and widen 172nd Street NE, a main arterial through the city’s Cascade Industrial Center.
The plans are now in the design phase, spokesperson Andrea Petrich said.
“It’s a widening project that would include intersection improvements,” she said. “We’re still in the very early design stages, so we don’t totally know what it’s going to look like yet.”
Money was secured in 2015 through what’s known as Connecting Washington, a statewide package of transportation improvements. Construction is expected to start in 2023.