Builders hope to start work on Mill Creek sports arena soon

MILL CREEK — The company hoping to build an indoor sports complex here cleared a major hurdle Tuesday when the city hearing examiner ruled the project could move ahead.

The proposed building off the Bothell-Everett Highway at Dumas Road would house two soccer fields, laser tag and eight bowling lanes. Redmond-based Arena Sports hopes to break ground within months.

“We’re hoping in April or May,” said Don Crowe, the company’s CEO. “It depends on the permit process.”

If plans hold, the arena could open early next year.

Hearing Examiner Pro Tem Emily Terrell listened to testimony about the project Jan. 25. No formal appeal was filed, but some neighbors spoke of concerns such as traffic, light and noise.

The proposed site covers 6.7 acres across the Bothell-Everett Highway from Jackson High School.

It would include 96,000 square feet of interior space and a lot with 382 parking spaces.

The facility would be larger than the four venues Arena Sports already operates in King County.

Along with soccer pitches and bowling lanes, plans show a warm-up area, an inflatable playground, arcade games, bumper cars, rock-climbing and a ropes course. There would be a kitchen and rooms for hosting parties.

“We won’t have all of that on day one, but that’s the long-term plan,” Crowe said.

Company representatives have said they expect to invest $17 million. The site would employ 200 people and stay open seven days a week.

“It’s a combination of indoor sports center and a family entertainment center,” Crowe said. “It’s the first time that’s been done in this area.”

Snohomish County Sports Commission director Tammy Dunn said the arena would offer new possibilities for hosting tournaments. Mill Creek city manager Rebecca Polizzotto touted the potential for the arena to benefit the city’s restaurants and stores.

The building’s appearance and landscaping are subject to approval by the city Design Review Board, according to the hearing examiner decision. The company must pay more than $150,000 in road-impact fees.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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