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Lane Bryant’s new-look store opening in May

Lane Bryant, which focuses on plus-size fashion for women, is scheduled to open its renovated store in May at The Commons at Federal Way.

The 6,957-square-feet store is near Target on the mall’s east end.

Lane Bryant’s makeover is among the more recent changes announced at the mall. They include a T.GI. Friday’s restaurant and Catherine’s, a women’s clothing store that will next to Lane Bryant.

The restaurant, part of an international chain, will be located on one of several new building pads planned along South 320th Street.

Catherine’s, which specializes in plus-size fashions, is scheduled to open in May.

The mall has been undergoing a redevelopment that began after it was acquired in 2003 by Steadfast Commercial Properties, a California-based company.

Housing market still good in south King County

Home sales in February lagged behind the level in the same month of a year ago, but brokers are sensing a rebound, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service. (NMLS), which tracks residential real estate in King County and other parts of western Washington.

Sam Pace, the south King County housing specialist for the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors, said listings are the “front end of the pipeline” for sales. When inventory shortages exist, “we should not be surprised if the number of pending sales is somewhat lower in the following months,” he said.

Pace said the market is “starting to regain momentum,” however, and he advised that “buyers who act quickly may still be able to lock up a property at a more reasonable price before the spring home buying market gathers steam. “

South King County still has some of the best opportunities, he added, but he reminded that $250,0 for a home “is now the rule, not the exception.”

Despite fewer sales, median prices (half higher, half lower) in the southwest and southeast areas of King County were up more than 13 percent compared to a year ago, NMLS reported.

Home prices are still climbing steeply compared to increases in the income levels of family-wage earners, according to Pace, which he noted is “hard news for families trying to break into the housing market for the first time. For most of them, their incomes didn’t keep pace with the 13-plus percent rise in housing prices.”

Filling Station opens near mall

The Filling Station, a restaurant patterned after 1950s and ‘60s-era diners, has opened near The Commons at Federal Way.

Located at 32105 23rd Ave., on the east side of the mall, the family-oriented eatery serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and a buffet brunch and dinner on Sundays. Music and furnishings, including some authentic memorabilia, harkens to the ‘50s.

The restaurant’s owners are part of the ownership of Billy McHale’s, another dining establishment in Federal Way.

Revenue up for owner of Wild Waves/E-Village

Revenue in 2005 increased by more than $1 billion for Six Flags, the amusement park operator whose holdings incliude Wild Waves/Enchanted Village in Federal Way.

Revenue last year was $91 million (9 percent) higher than in 2004, the company reported.

Net losses also improved, ending 2005 at $110.9 million compared to $464.8 million in 2004.

Six Flags, which went through an intense management reorganization last year, is planning to sell its Houston (Texas) AstroWorld property and its Oklahoma City parks and is assessing other potential opportunities “to dispose of non-core assets, including underutilized real estate,” company officials said.

A Mirror inquiry about how that statement applies to the parks in Federal Way wasn’t answered by Six Flags.

The company is trying to reduce its overall debt, a spokesman said.

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