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Downtown park idea generates interest from developer
A proposed park with a "town square" in downtown Federal Way is generating interest among residents, city leaders and even a developer.
The empty 4-acre lot on 20th Avenue South was once home to AMC Theatres. In 2007, the city purchased the site for $4.1 million.
The site had attracted private proposals for skyscrapers and later a Crystal Palace. Both proposals fizzled due to lack of money.
The city has taken the initiative to turn the lot into a landscaped park. The idea is to attract private development that surrounds the public park with shops and condos.
High-rises are off the table, said Patrick Doherty, the city's economic development director. At the city council's March 9 retreat, Doherty said a developer has reached out about the park and its potential tie-in with a 700-seat performing arts and conference center (PACC) to be located in an adjacent lot.
The concept has garnered support from several council members and could cost about $2.5 million if the city decides to go forward.
In February, The Mirror asked readers on Facebook what they thought of the park proposal.
• Cory Bennett: I'd much rather have a beautiful park instead of more empty condos and business space.
• Carol Hollenbeck-Bingaman: It's time we do something with that space. It looks terrible as is. The park would benefit more people.
• Brett Hulse: How is out that Renton, Burien, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup can all have successful revitalizations in their city centers and Federal Way wears the perpetual Born to Lose tattoo. I hope our leaders can make a decision and move forward for our community.
• Elizabeth Bennett: Good idea... Much better than a skyscraper high condo/shopping center that no one here could afford to move into. And we have more then enough empty retail. I think a park closer to the freeway would be brilliant!
• Jo Ann Irwin Undlin: I like this idea and hope it doesn't die out the way everything else has. FW has no identity, no core. Sorry but a mall isn't a "downtown."
• Stevan Gorcester: Seems like a decent idea. It seems to need some better design ideas. I'm not sure I'd mix the pedestrian environment with the parking quite so much. Also, big water features are quick to become big maintenance headaches, and sometimes end up empty because they freeze, leak, collect dirt, etc. But, let's get something going!
Click here to read the initial story of the proposed park at the AMC Theatres site.