Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson’s about-face earlier this year on running for what would be a fourth term came as a bit of a surprise to locals.
In The Herald’s coverage, he cited family reasons for the reverse course. A few days later, two candidates jumped into the suddenly open race. Now, four people are running for the position.* Everett’s commercial real estate market has yearned for a citywide vision that might serve an even broader purpose to unite the rather fragmented business community and clarify what Everett wants to be.
With a clear vision, real estate owners, managers and developers can deliver inventory to fit that plan.
While most cities re-wrote their vision plans after the Great Recession, Everett did not and it has struggled at times to compete for opportunities with cities that have.
An effort to create one is under way now, but with a change in the mayor’s seat ahead it will likely need to be replaced by a new one. Everett is poised, too. Funko, a toys and collectible company, bought the iconic former Bon Marche Building — most recently home to Trinity Lutheran College — in downtown Everett and brought with it dozens of tech jobs in the city core.
The transformation of Everett’s North Broadway neighborhood into a mini-college town with student housing and the new Washington State University campus is meaningful.
New housing along the Snohomish River where decades ago Everett made the news for the famed tire fire is another good sign. (It will be more exciting if promised retail in the Riverfront area opens as promised.)
Two new hotels opened in downtown Everett and the Port of Everett has selected a developer and begun building its long anticipated retail, office and apartment project on the marina.
Most exciting, though, is the announcement that a two-gate terminal providing convenient airline commercial passenger service in and out of Everett will open in 2018.
Airports create jobs that have nothing to do with aerospace and everything to do with facilitating trade and commerce. Of the things that could be baked into a new vision, commercial passenger service is the game-changer.
Whomever the new mayor might be, a new vision to leverage the momentum in place now should be job No. 1. The power of the private sector to build on that foundation has really never been seen in Everett in a generation.
With a robust new vision plan, it can be finally realized.
Tom Hoban is CEO of The Coast Group of Companies. Contact him at 425-339-3638 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.coastmgt.com. Twitter: @Tom_P_Hoban.
* This story has been modified to reflect the fact there are four people running for mayor of Everett.