The Lynnwood City Council at its Wednesday, Feb. 20 work session learned more about a city proposal to purchase the Rodeo Inn motel for the purpose of housing homeless students and their families in the Edmonds School District.
The Rodeo Inn is located in the 20700 block of Highway 99 in Lynnwood.
Mayor Nicola Smith and the city council have identified the need to address the issue of homelessness as a priority, said Lynnwood Public Affairs Officer Julie Moore. There are more than 500 families in the Edmonds School District who have been reported homeless.
“This is a viable project,” Moore said. “This is an opportunity to address homelessness in the community.”
During the Wednesday night meeting, the council heard more about financing for the project, which could ultimately include support from other area cities and agencies. Though the purchase is still tentative, a financing plan is necessary should the city decide to purchase the motel, said Lynnwood Finance Director Sonja Springer.
The council is scheduled to vote during its Monday, Feb. 25 business meeting on whether to approve a bond measure that involves a line of credit through Zions Bancorporation. Financing would also cover costs to remodel the building.
“The first part of the agreement has been signed off by both parties,” including the City of Lynnwood and the Rodeo Inn owner, said Moore. “Now we’re in the 60-day due diligence.”
The “due diligence” phase will include a building inspection of the Rodeo Inn by an architectural firm the city has hired to ensure the building is in a livable condition. The inspection will be completed on April 1.
According to Moore, the proposed financing arrangement allows for an 18-month draw period up to $5.1 million with a maturity of Dec. 1, 2028 at an interest rate of 2.72 percent, and no bank or legal fees.
“A line of credit is more flexible to help the city pay it back,” Moore said.
Since the project is still in the early stages, much is left to be determined at this point, Moore said. Should the city decide — following the inspection — that the Rodeo Inn is not a good fit, Lynnwood will look for another place to house homeless Edmonds School District students and their families.
One thing the city will be looking for in the future will be more investors. They will also continue to apply for grants.
“We’ll follow up with partners,” she said. “If they want in, we’ll discuss how to move forward.”
The cities of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, the Verdant Health Commission and Edmonds Community College have shown interest, Moore said. The city has already received grants from the Alliance for Housing Affordability and Snohomish County Human Services totalling at $500,000.
“There’s a lot of positive energy from supporters,” she said.
Mayor Nicola Smith said during the council meeting that because the project has gained interest from multiple investors, the city may not have to borrow the full amount of the loan.
“We may not have to borrow even half,” she said.
— By Cody Sexton
–Story by Cody Sexton