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Posted on: December 21, 2023

MLT Town Center Creates Hub for Housing, Retail, Jobs

State Rep. Cindy Ryu, left, walks along 236th St SW with Mountlake Terrace City Manager Jeff Niten

City seeks state, federal investments to boost Transit Oriented Development and Main Street Revitalization

State lawmakers toured Mountlake Terrace Town Center on Wednesday to learn more about the city’s long-term strategies to promote transit-oriented development.

Sen. Jesse Salomon, Rep. Cindy Ryu and Rep. Lauren Davis were joined by City Councilmembers and staff.

Consistent, modern streets and sidewalks build a “cohesive sense of place,” City Manager Jeff Niten said.

The City of Mountlake Terrace is seeking state and federal partnerships to support local investments in Town Center, especially the Main Street Revitalization Project. More than 15 years in the making, the city’s vision is to create a livable, walkable community near light rail and bus transit, strategically located between the job centers of Seattle and Everett.  

The vision calls for nearly $75 million in local, state and federal funding, much of it already secured.

From the start, Main Street Revitalization was planned in phases:

  • Phase 1, completed in 2021, redesigned the stretch of 236th St SW in Town Center. This phase brought the road to complete street standards to accommodate passenger and transit vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.  
  • Phase 2 would bring similar improvements to the downtown corridor of 56th Ave W. Design efforts are anticipated to continue into late 2024, including alternatives analysis and preliminary design for a new pedestrian- and retail-focused 57th Ave W. This phase is estimated to cost $40.5 million.

The city is asking the state Legislature for $2.1 million for design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction. Additionally, one of the city’s priorities for Main Street is to pursue a grant through a federal program called Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) in 2024.

Under the current Town Center Subarea Plan, it’s anticipated that 3,000 housing units and 625,000 square feet of commercial space will be constructed, with zoning in places allowing for up to 12 stories. Already, more housing, restaurants and services are coming on board.

Hurdles remain for bringing in condominiums, due to long-standing state laws, said Christy Osborn, Director of Community and Economic Development. Ideally, new developments would offer both rentals and opportunities for home ownership, she said.

“The cities still need help,” she said. “More work needs to be done on that.”

Plans also must account for the needs of existing businesses, because they play a role in our future, Niten said.

Livable, walkable streets are critical to fulfilling this ambitious vision for the community. 

And it’s not just roadwork. The city redeveloped the Civic Campus in recent years, setting the stage for Town Center with a public plaza, high-quality design standards, and a regional stormwater facility. Additionally, we’re preparing for construction on the $5.6 million Transit Connection Corridor Project, which will upgrade trails through Veterans Memorial Park and create a pedestrian plaza near the light rail station to serve residents and commuters.

Wednesday’s tour included the park, where crews were conducting soil testing as part of ongoing design work.

“Public and private development must be harmonious with our urban forest,” Niten said.

In the right light, the Cascade and Olympic ranges dazzle Town Center, hemmed in by Lake Ballinger, Lake Washington and Puget Sound.

“Those eight- and 12-story units are going to have some killer views,” Rep. Davis said.

###

Above photo: State Rep. Cindy Ryu, left, walks along 236th St SW with Mountlake Terrace City Manager Jeff Niten on Wednesday. Seen to the right is the completed Main Street Revitalization Phase I. 
Below: City staff speak about the future of Town Center with state Rep. Lauren Davis and Sen. Jesse Salomon.

City staff speak about the future of Town Center with state Rep. Lauren Davis and Sen. Jesse Salomon

 

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