Lynnwood bustles with work on Costco, new apartments

LYNNWOOD — The northern end of Lynnwood is growing. So is the south. That keeps city leaders busy-busy as they work out ways to connect arterials and keep traffic moving.

Construction continues on the former Lynnwood High School campus along 184th Street SW, just north of Alderwood mall. Crews are building a new stretch of 33rd Avenue W. between the mall and Maple Road.

The road is expected to be completed in July to ease traffic around a new Costco store. The store is rumored to be opening before the end of summer, but the wholesale company won’t say when.

A company spokeswoman last week cited a policy of “not commenting on specific locations.”

Costco generally claims that it can build a store in 120 days.

Either way, the city is moving ahead with the road project it started last year. The southern part of the former high school property is planned to become “Lynnwood Place,” a 330-unit apartment complex with retail on the bottom floor, plus parking garages.

Lynnwood Place is set to open next year, according to a real-estate listing.

The new stretch of 33rd is being built as a two-lane road with a turn lane and bike lanes, but it was designed with later expansion in mind, up to four lanes, City Engineer Jeff Elekes said.

Having another route from the mall will help with holiday shopping traffic, he said.

Without the new 33rd, the city would have had to widen both 184th and Alderwood Mall Parkway, Elekes said. Eventually, the new road is expected to connect with the existing 33rd, running west of the main mall campus. The current road project costs $10 million, a mix of private money, grants and about $1.2 million from the city.

Someday 33rd might hook up with Poplar Way, through a proposed bridge over I-5, said David Kleitsch, the city’s director of economic development. Another step will be linking Maple Road with 36th Avenue W, an area where another housing subdivision is planned.

On Tuesday, Canada geese milled about in puddles where the high school track used to be. Piles of dirt have replaced the softball fields. The western edge of the campus has been left with a buffer of pine and spruce. Patches of wetland and a drainage pond are to the north. Water from the pond will be filtered into Tunnel Creek, which meets up with Swamp Creek.

Another goal for the site is a walking path to the nearby Interurban Trail, Elekes said.

Meanwhile, farther south, two apartment complexes and a hotel are set to break ground this year in the new City Center area where 196th Street SW meets I-5. Lynnwood is planning to create a Main Street-style downtown there, in part in anticipation of light rail.

It’s all part of a community that is growing up, Elekes said.

The challenge now is creating paths to keep people moving, Kleitsch said. And everybody wants it done by tomorrow, he said.

“You’re seeing it in bits and pieces,” he said. “It’s an incremental thing as money allows.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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