A proposed 140-unit student housing complex in Everett could add another big building to north Broadway.

A proposed 140-unit student housing complex in Everett could add another big building to north Broadway.

EvCC has issues with new 140-unit housing proposal

The college says the 60 parking spaces included in the project “are not nearly adequate.”

EVERETT — A proposal is in the works to build a 140-unit student housing complex in north Everett.

It would add another edifice to north Broadway’s rapidly changing skyline.

Documents describe a seven-story structure with five for housing and two levels of parking and retail space.

The project would serve Everett Community College and Washington State University students.

Why then isn’t EvCC embracing the project?

In a word, parking.

“We believe strongly that 60 spaces are not nearly adequate for a project that will have 140 residents and additional numbers of shoppers looking for a place to park in order to shop at the retail spaces,” said John Olson, EvCC’s vice president of college advancement.

On the eastside of Broadway, WSU is eager to dig into the planning documents.

“We are looking forward to learning more about it,” said Randy Bolerjack, a spokesman for WSU Everett, adding that the university has not been approached about a possible partnership.

The development would be built at 1020 N Broadway alongside a Starbucks on property where Lilly’s Garden restaurant now stands. The land is a triangular island bounded by 10th Street to the north, Broadway to the east and a street many call Little Broadway to the west.

The project is being proposed by Koz Development, which says it “develops and constructs micro-housing in urban infill locations and student housing for universities across the country.”

One of its previous projects is a stone’s throw from its newest proposal. It built EvCC’s Mountain View Hall student housing, which opened in fall 2016. Koz owns the land and the building, and EvCC has a long-term lease and is responsible for filling the rooms, staffing, security and extracurricular activities. The college has a similar agreement with another developer who built Cedar Hall nearby. It opened in fall 2017.

Together, those student housing projects provide room for roughly 250 students, “which we believe will serve the market well for the next five to seven years,” Olson said in an email.

Pat Sisneros, EvCC’s vice president of college services, said the Mountain View Hall partnership with Koz has gone well.

However, the college is concerned the developer would not be able to fill 140 more beds with students. Existing student housing has about 87 percent occupancy during winter quarter. Roughly half the students are from foreign countries. EvCC and many other colleges and universities across the county have seen international student enrollment flatten over the past year, Sisneros said. EvCC also has agreements allowing WSU and Western Washington University students taking classes in Everett to live in the student housing.

“We just think there is enough housing in this area for students,” Sisneros said. “We disagree with their analysis.”

College officials fear the student housing would eventually let in non-students who more likely would have cars.

A traffic study commissioned by Koz estimates a parking demand of less than half its spaces. That assumes half the tenants would be international students, who seldom have cars. The study took into consideration current parking demand trends at one of EvCC’s existing student housing halls. Company officials say their proposal for the new site would provide just under one parking space for every two units.

Joshua Scott, vice president for design and construction for Koz Development, said the company is confident there is a large population of students who would benefit from having additional housing options at both EvCC and WSU.

“The project is conceived much differently than a school run dormitory and is not envisioned to cater to those individuals that desire a dormitory living environment,” he said. “This project is intended to provide older students at the community college or students transferring as a junior or senior into WSU an affordable option for independent housing directly adjacent to both campuses. In short, we are targeting a different segment of the student population than is currently being served.”

Each unit would be furnished and have a kitchen and bathroom. Apartments would include studios or one bedroom for people living alone or couples. Pets would be allowed.

“All in all, we feel this project will be a fabulous addition to the quickly expanding higher education district of Everett,” Scott said.

The Everett planning department has been reviewing the documents.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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