News

Mall's redevelopment plan hooks some progress

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

A seafood restaurant operating in six western states plans to expand into Federal Way, giving a boost to redevelopment of the city’s largest shopping center.

McGrath’s Fish House announced it will build a full-service restaurant at The Commons at Federal Way on one of several new business sites the mall is making available next to South 320th Street.

“We’re extremely excited about this opportunity,” said John McGrath, who started the “casual but elegant” restaurant chain 25 years ago and has had his eye most of that time on Federal Way, where he has relatives. “Since Federal Way is on Puget Sound, it’s only natural to have a restaurant featuring northwest seafood in the middle of the city.”

Based in Salem, Ore., where the first restaurant opened in 1980, McGrath’s Fish House has a combined 18 locations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, California and Utah and is planning four new ones, including two in Arizona and one in Colorado.

The Federal Way location, tentatively scheduled to open next summer, will be the third in Washington. The others are at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood and in Vancouver.

The restaurants serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. In Federal Way, the 7,500 square-feet eatery will have seating for 250 diners and employ about 100 people, full-time and part-time.

McGrath said his wife’s mother and sister live in Federal Way. He wanted to open a restaurant here for the past 15 years but “couldn’t find the right spot” until the mall property became available.

“I wanted (the restaurant) to be on a main street,” he said.

Steadfast Commercial Properties, the California-based owner of The Commons at Federal Way, wants to attract retail stores, banks and restaurants to the streetside “pads” planned for the mall’s north and west sides. So far, McGrath’s and Kitsap Bank –– whose 24 branches are mostly in Kitsap County –– have been announced as tenants.

The new development proposed by Steadfast would eliminate about 280 stalls from the mall’s parking lots and create a combined 40,000 square feet of commercial space.

City development officials have praised the concept of businesses lining the mall’s frontage on South 320th and Pacific Highway South, saying it will be more appealing than expansive parking lots.

Redevelopment and prosperity at the mall are seen as a key to making downtown more vital. Since buying the mall in 2003, Steadfast has remodeled parts of it and announced plans for adding a movie theater.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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