Rep. Suzan DelBene and Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto-Wright walk past a future apartment development during a tour and discussion with community leaders regarding the Mountlake Terrace Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Rep. Suzan DelBene and Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto-Wright walk past a future apartment development during a tour and discussion with community leaders regarding the Mountlake Terrace Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

As Mountlake Terrace grows, so does housing around light rail

City officials lauded a new apartment complex and accepted a $850,000 check, as Mountlake Terrace continues work on Town Center plan.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Apartments are popping up in Mountlake Terrace.

And with the city’s population slated to add nearly 15,000 people in the next two decades, more are on the way.

On Wednesday, city, state and federal officials toured a streets project and the new Traxx apartment building in Mountlake Terrace. The complex is steps from Mountlake Terrace’s new light rail station — the epicenter of the city’s efforts to build up around public transit.

All told, over 1,200 new housing and proposed units sit within a quarter-mile radius of the city’s new light rail station.

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, presented the city with an $850,000 ceremonial check Wednesday for road projects in the area that will support increased infrastructure demands.

Rep. Suzan DelBene, center, presents a check worth $850,000 to the city of Mountlake Terrace as part of its Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, a the city’s council chambers in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Rep. Suzan DelBene, center, presents a check worth $850,000 to the city of Mountlake Terrace as part of its Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, a the city’s council chambers in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace is expected to reach 35,000 people by 2044. The city is home to many commuters, with about 11,000 people living here but working elsewhere.

To meet the growing need for housing over the next two decades, Mountlake Terrace will need to build nearly 8,000 more housing units.

The $850,000 in federal dollars for the city’s Main Street Revitalization Project will help a bit. A major hurdle for vertical development is capacity for water, sewer and electric infrastructure. Street projects in Mountlake Terrace are geared toward solving those capacity problems long-term.

“We need to make sure that people can easily get to the station and be able to live and work nearby,” DelBene said. “So this project really stands out.”

The tour ended at the Traxx Apartments, a 210-unit complex steps from the rail station. Traxx, along with the Terrace Station 1 and Terrace Station 2 apartments, collectively added 636 housing units to the city. Two other developments nearby expect to add an additional 600 units in the next few years.

“These are critical investments to attract new housing and jobs and ensure safe transportation options for walkers, bicyclists, transit users, people with disabilities, and drivers,” Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto-Wright said.

Van Ry Boulevard is seen from the top of the Traxx Apartments on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Van Ry Boulevard is seen from the top of the Traxx Apartments on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Plans for the Town Center, an 82-acre neighborhood at the center of the city’s redevelopment, call for around 3,000 new housing units and 625,000 square feet of commercial space. Officials hope that housing will be home to nearly 7,000 residents.

Projects adding 637 new housing units and 84,010 square feet of commercial space already have been completed since work on the Town City project started in 2007, according to city documents.

City Manager Jeff Niten envisions the Town Center as its own “20-minute city,” referring to an urban design term used to describe a community where residents can have most basic needs met close to where they live. On top of the added housing, there’s a need to add commercial offerings as well.

Grocery stores are one part of that equation.

“We’re also looking to get businesses like bars and restaurants, because we want a vibrant city, we want people out and have a place to gather in the community,” Niten said.

Mountlake Terrace City Council member Steve Woodard expressed hope they can convince businesses to take a chance on their newly designed downtown.

“My job is to make sure we’re connecting,” Woodard said. “And then as a council making sure that the connections can go somewhere and grow themselves, not, ‘Oh, here’s a bunch of red tape to slow you down.’”

Council member Steve Woodard stops to point out a trail during a tour and discussion with community leaders regarding the Mountlake Terrace Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Council member Steve Woodard stops to point out a trail during a tour and discussion with community leaders regarding the Mountlake Terrace Main Street Revitalization project on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

City, state and federal funding for the Town Center has totaled over $29 million over the past five years. For the second phase of the plan, which is where DelBene’s check will go, totals around $40 million.

City leaders hope to bridge the funding gap with a $23.6 million federal grant through the state Department of Transportation.

The city will hear the results of its application for that grant by the end of June.

Niten said getting the grant would be “huge.”

“That would massively transform this community,” he said. “You know, all the things that we have planned, they can’t do it without the upgraded water and sewer.”

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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