Lynnwood Convention Center

Lynnwood Convention Center

They’ve got big dreams for the Lynnwood Convention Center

A panel is recommending an exhibit hall for concerts, trade shows and a year-round farmers market.

LYNNWOOD — The Lynnwood Convention Center could get a whole lot bigger with a 60,000-square-foot exhibition hall for concerts, plays, trade shows, indoor sports and a year-round community farmers market.

The addition also could include space with convertible windows that would be rolled up, turning an indoor venue into an outdoor one.

The idea would be to incorporate an iconic landmark or architectural design element that would make it stand out.

At least that’s what a task force is recommending for the corporate and community gathering spot west of I-5.

The same group also is suggesting the city encourage private industry to construct a tall “multi-use development.” It could include an observation deck with a view, a public plaza for performances, an interactive museum and other features, such as a botanical garden, to draw people in. If that structure were built in the city center core and along 196th Street, it could reach up to 240 feet, based on zoning regulations.

The advisory group was left to its own devices. It wasn’t given a budget to fret over and didn’t have city and public facilities officials at its meetings to steer ideas one way or another.

“It’s all just in the conceptual idea stage right now,” said Julie Moore, a city spokeswoman.

The ideas outlined in a 22-page report will be studied and could end up in the city’s long-term plan.

“The next step will be to work with the city to flesh out what is possible and to put it in place,” said Grant Dull, executive director of the Lynnwood Public Facilities District, which oversees the Lynnwood Convention Center. The public facilities district years ago acquired 13 acres for the site with assistance from the city of Lynnwood.

The convention center, which opened in 2004, has operated in the black in recent years. Last year alone, it hosted 394 events. It is roughly 30,000 square feet and among the smaller convention centers in the country.

The city is designated by the state as a “regional growth center.” Its population was just over 38,000 in 2017. That is expected to increase by 150% in the next 20 years with a new light rail transit station projected to open in 2024.

Multiple mid-rise family apartments and several new hotels are on the horizon.

The task force included several business leaders, including some with architecture, hotel and tourism expertise, as well as representatives from the Edmonds School District and Edmonds Community College.

“Our region is changing rapidly,” the report said. “The time is right for the (public facilities district) to take advantage of the opportunities and to participate in this inevitable growth and changes.”

The panel was encouraged to think big.

“If you don’t dream, nothing happens,” Dull said.

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

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