Developers announce plans for housing, retail/commercial space in Mountlake Terrace Freeway Tourist District

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A conceptual drawing of the proposed development shows a new city street sporting three mixed-use buildings.

Calling the highly-visible land along the east-side of I-5 an “iconic location,” three private developers announced their plans for 600 apartments and more than 100,000 square feet of retail and commercial space in the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Tourist District just north of the King-Snohomish County border.

Steve Cox, President of West Ridge Land Corp.; Fred Grimm, Chairman and CEO of Triad Capital Partners; and Jeff Fransen, President of Fransen Development released information and conceptual drawings of the proposed Gateway development late last week.

“The highly-visible location will serve as a welcoming landmark and gateway to the city of Mountlake Terrace,” the group stated in the release. “The completed project will create a vibrant, distinctive neighborhood with pedestrian-friendly streets, trails and native open spaces in a natural setting with community activity areas all within the Freeway Tourist District.”

 Almost 17 acres of land along I-5 in Mountlake Terrace is the site for a proposed mixed-use development of 600 residential apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
Almost 17 acres of land along I-5 in Mountlake Terrace is the site for a proposed mixed-use development of 600 residential apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

The almost 17-acre site of the proposed mixed-use development is made up of two large parcels: privately-owned land just north of the five-story Umpqua Bank building and the various Gateway Plaza commercial businesses that include the Cinebarre movie theater and the Gene Juarez beauty academy, and land being purchased from the Edmonds School District where the former Evergreen Elementary School was located.

Construction of the new development, expected to cost more than $100 million, could begin as soon as this summer.

The renderings of the proposed development shows three mixed-use buildings split by a new roadway that the City of Mountlake Terrace has already begun planning. Also shown in the plans are two small parks, a pedestrian trail and a public plaza. Building drawings display retail and commercial space on the ground floors with six-stories of residential housing rising above.

The apartments will range in size from studio to two bedroom units; no specific retail or commercial tenants were announced.

In April 2014 City of Mountlake Terrace officials approved changes to building codes in the Freeway Tourist District that would allow construction of structures of up to 12-to-20 stories under certain conditions. While the proposed development does include some of those public benefit requirements there are no plans to build higher than the drawings display, said Cox.

“The plans are to stay well below the treeline,” Cox added, referring to a green space that separates the district from private single-family homes just to the east.

The conceptual drawings also show the proposed Sound Transit elevated light rail line in-between the development and the I-5 freeway. Sound Transit is expected to release their final Environmental Impact Statement of the Lynnwood Link light rail line this summer; the report is expected to confirm plans for the elevated stretch of light rail track and a station for the line at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center located just north of the proposed Gateway development at 236th Street SW.

Cox, Grimm and Fransen pointed to the proximity of their proposal to the city’s regional transit center in their press release. “This exciting new community brings the city’s vision for additional retail, employment, housing and transportation choices into reality,” the release stated.

Cox went further in stating how he sees the proposed development as a kick-starter for the city planners’ vision of more growth in Mountlake Terrace. “I consider it to be a game changer,” he said, “(and) a catalyst for continued development of the downtown area of the city.”

 – By Doug Petrowski

Land located in the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Tourist District includes the former site of Evergreen Elementary School, tore down by the Edmonds School District in early 2011.
Land located in the Mountlake Terrace Freeway Tourist District includes the former site of Evergreen Elementary School, tore down by the Edmonds School District in early 2011.

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