Mountlake Terrace City Manager: New development will be good for local business

Mountlake Terrace City Manager Arlene Fisher speaks to business owners Wednesday.

Mountlake Terrace continues to attract new development, and that is good news for local MLT businesses, City Manager Arlene Fisher told the Mountlake Terrace Business Association at its luncheon meeting Wednesday.

Fisher, who has been on the job as MLT’s city manager since March, said she recently learned that the city’s largest employer, Premera, will need a new building to accommodate 1,500 additional employees, because business for its LifeWise health plan has tripled since the launch of President Obama’s health care initiative.

Those employees will eat at local restaurants and make deposits at local banks, Fisher said. It will be up to the city to address the challenge of finding space for the building and the additional traffic the expansion will present, she added.

Fisher also pointed to several other projects of note:

– The Gateway project, which is under development right now and will include 600 mirror tower apartment units and about 100,000 square feet of commercial space. The developer is currently looking for an anchor tenant, she said. The Sound Transit Link light rail system to Lynnwood “is going right past there and he (the developer) will blend his building in with the light rail,” Fisher said.

“Gateway will be a real game changer for us,” added Mountlake Terrace Economic Development Director Steve Osguthorpe, who also attended the meeting

– The planned light rail station, which will come into the existing Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, is also attracting development interest as it makes it easy for both residents and employees to get to work. Fisher that she and her husband call the new Arbor Village apartments home, and many people who live there “leave the building and walk down to transit — that’s why they live there.” Fisher acknowledged that she still gets “a lot of questions” about why the street level Arbor Village commercial space has not yet been filled. She recently met with the building’s general manager, who is “very very selective about who she wants in her space. Most people who come to her have a business plan but don’t have any money…or don’t have good credit history or longevity in any one place. And so she’s willing to wait it out and get the right businesses in there,” Fisher said.

– In Town Center, Fisher acknowledged the success of Diamond Knot brewpub, and also gave a nod to The Vineyard, the 55-and-older senior living building now under construction that city officials hope will bring added business to the area, including ore customers at Roger’s Market.

– The City Manager said that MLT is still working to get funding to complete underground utility work for the Main Street Revitalization Project. The project  includes street, pedestrian, and bicycle enhancements along with improvements to utilities, street lighting and signals, stormwater systems, and undergrounding of overhead power along 56thAvenue (236th Street north to 230th Street), and 232nd and 234th Streets, as well as along 236th Street from 56th Avenue to the Transit Station.

“We are halfway there in our funding,” she said, adding that the city needs another $4.5 million from the state Legislature, which it hopes to obtain via a Trust Fund Loan that all cities pay into and can draw from. “We’ve been assured that if the Legislature approves that funding, ours will be funded,” Fisher said, and if that happens you will see some overnight changes on Main Street.”

Fisher told the group that all of the planned projects will take time, noting that redevelopment efforts in nearby Bothell “have been a 10-year project.”

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