EVERETT — Riverfront residents will have to wait a bit longer for their movie theater.
Construction of the cinema is being delayed at least two years after the Everett City Council last month approved amending a development agreement with the company erecting several new mixed-use buildings.
The pandemic is to blame, said a spokesperson for Shelter Holdings, the company developing the 70-acre commercial and mixed-use site between I-5 and the Snohomish River.
“Obviously, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the local economy,” said Shelter Holdings director of development Eric Evans in an email. “Retail, and specifically cinemas, have been severely impacted by the pandemic. In light of these impacts, the cinema element has been shifted to later phases in the development to allow for more time for this industry to recover.”
Shelter Holdings is adding to an area which is already built out with 190 townhouses and 235 single-family homes north and south of the property, redeveloping the former landfill site in six phases. The movie theater was one element of the first phase, which includes a grocery store, over 300 apartments and studios, and 835 parking stalls.
Work on buildings with 31,290 square feet of space — for commercial and retail, as well as a grocery store — could begin as early as this month, pending a pre-construction meeting with the city and approval to proceed, Evans said. Construction of the mixed-use buildings is expected to take about two years.
“COVID-19 has and continues to have a number of impacts on supplies and timelines for construction,” Evans said.
Once finished, the development will connect the single-family homes and the townhouses via the recently constructed Riverfront Boulevard and 41st Street.
In April, the Everett City Council approved amending the development agreement with Shelter Holdings to push the cinema’s construction to the third phase. The council also agreed to extend deadlines in the agreement by about a year.
“This has been a great relationship with Shelter Holdings,” Councilman Jeff Moore said. “… Certainly we cannot argue that COVID-19 has not had an effect on our economy.”
When all six phases are finished, the Riverfront development is projected to have about 1,250 housing units and 2,700 parking spaces, as well as a three-acre park tentatively named Eclipse Mill Park, a 250-room hotel and 123,000 square feet of office space.
In May 2019, the Everett City Council voted to offer Shelter Holdings a property tax break for 12 years if 10% of the units were affordable to households that earn 80% or less than the area median income. Under the terms, housing costs can’t exceed 30% of monthly income to be considered affordable.
Another 10% of the units were reserved for households that make between 80% to 115% of the area median household income, which was $86,691 just a couple of years ago in Snohomish County, according to the U.S. Census.
The land and non-residential spaces will be assessed for property taxes.