News

More changes at mall

By ERICA HALL

The Mirror

The Commons at Federal Way wants to install seven building pads in the north and west part of the mall’s parking lot to house retail stores, banks and restaurants –– development that could change the look of the main street that runs through the city center and make it more friendly to pedestrians.

Last week, Federal Way’s Department of Community Development Services issued an environmental determination of non-significance, a document that says the city doesn’t anticipate the proposed development to have significant adverse environmental impacts.

The department is accepting public comment by no later than 5 p.m. June 29. Written comments can be submitted to Kathy McClung, director of Community Development Services, P.O. Box 9718, Federal Way, WA 98063-9718, or in person at City Hall.

The new businesses together would total almost 40,000 square feet of development along South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South. Development would include improving the right-of-way, upgrading the parking lot and landscaping around the perimeter.

About 279 parking stalls would be eliminated; another 38 would be eliminated following right-of-way improvements.

Patrick Doherty, the city’s economic development director, said the new businesses could improve downtown.

“It will begin to create a feeling of a little more enclosure along 320th, which helps to bring down the scale to a more human scale,” he said.

The theory is that reduction –– from a big expanse of street and parking lot to a smaller area of sidewalk –– might make people feel more comfortable walking around in the city center. Retail stores and restaurants and the mall would give them somewhere to walk to.

“As a pedestrian, you (currently) feel like you’re in a car realm,” Doherty said. “It won’t turn overnight into a pedestrian boulevard, but it’s small steps.”

The new businesses would be the latest changes at the mall since its purchase in 2003 by Steadfast Commercial Properties. The California owner has remodeled the entrances and a new Target store was added. Several stores have left, including Gottschalks, which is to be replaced by a movie theater.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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