‘You could already be home’: MLT officials break ground for Terrace Station project

An upbeat group of elected officials, staff, contractors and others broke ground Thursday evening for Terrace Station, a mixed-use residential and commercial development that City Manager Scott Hugill said will “change the face of Mountlake Terrace.”

Formerly known as the Gateway project, Terrace Station will occupy the former Evergreen Elementary site. It is just one several projects planned to implement the Town Center vision established by the Mountlake Terrace City Council several years ago.

According to Hugill, the project will give Mountlake Terrace “a more visible presence from Interstate 5, and get us back on the map as a destination by providing more housing choices and commercial opportunities in close proximity to the future light rail station that’s coming our way in 2024.”

Mountlake Terrace Senior Planner Edith Duttlinger said that the project includes four new buildings offering more than 600 residential units and 80,000 square feet of commercial space. “Living here means you’ll be just steps away from mass transit, shopping, café’s and other amenities,” she said. “Someone who lives here simply wouldn’t need a car.”

City planners said the first residential/mixed use building will be ready for occupancy in two years, with the other three scheduled for completion before light rail service begins in 2024.

“This is one of the best things that’s ever happened to this city,” said Mayor Jerry Smith, adding with a laugh, “It’s about 25 years late in getting here.”

Added Hugill: “It’s been suggested — and I think it’s a good one — to put up a sign visible to I-5 commuters saying ‘You could already be home.’”

This first phase of the project will build the new Gateway Boulevard, connecting Gateway Place to the south, near Umpqua Bank, with 236th Street Southwest near the Transit Center. One of the three buildings — a six-story mixed-use building of approximately 470,000 square feet — will be built during this phase. It will include commercial space on the ground floor, with  two levels of underground parking. Upper levels will contain 258 apartment homes comprised of a mix of studio, open one-bedroom, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

Contractors have already begun reinforcement of the Gateway Boulevard bridge, which crosses a tributary to McAleer Creek between the movie theater and bank. The reinforcement is necessary to meet weight capacity standards for emergency services and construction activities related to Terrace Station.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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