LYNNWOOD — A private groundbreaking is scheduled this week for the Lynnwood Convention Center, a 55,000-square-foot glass and brick building planned for the corner of 196th Street SW and 36th Avenue W. near the I-5 interchange.
A $12 million construction contract was recently awarded to Howard S. Wright construction company of Bellevue to build the two-story center. SMG of Philadelphia was selected to run the facility, which was designed by Zerbas Group Architects of Bellingham.
"This will be the signature entrance to Lynnwood," Mayor Mike McKennon said. "This is a significant step forward in a new direction for Lynnwood. It’s the first step in our city-center project."
The building will have nine meeting spaces, an exhibition hall, a ballroom for up to 900 people and seating for 1,125.
It’s intended as a meeting place for professional associations, garden shows, quilting clubs, high school graduations, business training sessions, large weddings and other events, McKennon said.
"We are taking a corner that is really the entrance to the city, where 100,000 cars a day go past on the freeway, and this becomes their view of Lynnwood," the mayor said.
"We are replacing several small, tacky buildings with a magnificent, impressive structure on a grassy slope with a lot of glass and a lot of class."
The total cost of the project is estimated at $30 million, which includes the land purchase. The city recently completed initial work, including a storm-water system, parking on the surrounding site and tearing down a former cinema and Video Only building. That work cost $1.1 million.
Construction of the building itself is estimated at $11.9 million
The Lynnwood Convention Center is expected to bring more than 40,000 people a year to the city and generate $9 million to $13 million in revenue from visitors.
"Convention centers become economic development engines," said Grant Dull, executive director of the Lynnwood Public Facilities District. "The economic development spinoff in Lynnwood will be significant."
Even more important, the convention center is part of the plan for a city center in Lynnwood that will also include expansion of the park-and-ride lot to the south and Alderwood Mall’s expansion, he said.
A grand opening is scheduled for April 2005.
Reporter Pam Brice: 425-339-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.