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Civic center moves forward in Federal Way | Firm submits 3 proposals
Years in the making, the proposed civic center project for downtown Federal Way is in its due diligence phase.
In a project update to city council members last Tuesday, Federal Way administrative services director Bryant Enge covered the work that’s been done to this point for the planned performing arts and civic center at the former Toys R Us site, 31510 20th Ave. S. (near the Federal Way Transit Center).
Enge said 15 proposals were received by the city, some from as far away as the Netherlands and London. Four architecture and engineering firms were given interviews with the city, and LMN Architects of Seattle was chosen to design the first step in what city officials hope is a revitalization of downtown Federal Way.
There is no concrete number for the cost of the civic center yet, but city officials have focused on having it align with similar designs that cost under $20 million.
There were three main reasons LMN was chosen from among the prospective firms, Enge said.
“The first was depth of experience. They had a lot of work in terms of building conference centers and performing arts centers right here in the Northwest,” he said.
Enge said LMN brought a complete team to the initial discussion, and the firm’s proximity to Federal Way was also a deciding factor. LMN’s influence in Western Washington and the Puget Sound region is easily seen, said Enge, listing a number of projects the firm is responsible for.
“McIntyre Hall is the recent development in Mt. Vernon,” said Enge, referring to a 700-seat facility developed several years ago for roughly $17 million. LMN also developed the Salem Conference Center, the Camas Center for the Performing Arts and the Edmonds Center for the Performing Arts.
LMN has three proposals on the table right now. One is titled the “Forest Hill Approach,” in which an emphasis would be placed on creating a “green” space in the downtown core.
“One of the things they talked about is the city of Federal Way has this great green, tree, park environment, but they said they didn’t see any of that type of environment in the downtown area,” Enge said.
With the Forest Hill Approach, trees and plants would be installed at the ground level, and also included as a design element on top of the building, Enge said.
The other “green” idea by LMN is called the “Civic Landmark/Park” idea.
“Again, they’d bring the green back into the project in terms of the park pavilion and you can see the different elements of the green,” Enge said, referencing a PowerPoint presentation.
The third idea developed by LMN is an “Urban Courtyard,” which would attempt to mold itself with the current conditions found in the downtown core, Enge said.
One thing LMN made clear, Enge said, is that an existing wall on the current site would be removed in order to facilitate whatever design is chosen.
Those three proposals reviewed, Enge indicated a sign will soon be put up on the site indicating it’s the future home of the civic center. Along with that, city staff will contact stakeholders in the project to give an update on the civic center’s progress. One final update Enge gave was the formation of two sub-committees: one for funding development and one for design.