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Commons mall manager lauds PACC's economic potential
While the debate continues on the merits of a proposed performing arts and conference center (PACC) for Federal Way's downtown, Cindy Stanley-Lee, general manager for The Commons Mall, threw her support behind the idea.
"When I saw the illustrations (of the PACC), I thought they were beautiful. They were impressive and they were powerful," Stanley-Lee said during the city council's April 2 meeting. "To me, it said something about Federal Way, it said something about the people of Federal Way."
From Stanley-Lee's perspective as the general manager of The Commons, she sees the PACC as a boon for the downtown area of Federal Way.
"Clearly, having something like this fills a gap. People want to know, why can't we bring in great retailers? We want to shop at home, we need to have retailers that are exciting to us," she said. "Well, they look for dollars, and when people are shopping downtown, when we have conference centers and traffic and excitement, and performing arts, this all brings dollars to the downtown core."
Stanley-Lee continued, making an argument that city officials have made recently — that the PACC will be the proverbial "economic engine" to kickstart Federal Way's dilapidated downtown area.
"These retailers look at that, it draws their attention, and they say, 'I want to be there,'" she said. "And then we begin to attract, it becomes this positive snowball, that really creates an exciting, vibrant Federal Way downtown…I think it's very visionary, and I'm excited about it."
Stanley-Lee mentioned a recent Kiwanis meeting where the PACC was being discussed, saying someone brought up a valid point about Federal Way's students needing a nice home for their performing arts activities.
"How many young people, when they want to perform and show their talents to us, have to go to Auburn, Kent, or Tacoma?" she asked. "They have to go somewhere else because there's no venue for them to stand up and share their talents. I think it would be really important for kids to be able to keep that at home. For kids to be able to feel that Federal Way is their home."
• The Federal Way City Council recently voted 6-1 to approve moving forward with a schematic design for the proposed PACC. Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell was the only dissenting vote.
• In 2010, the city bought the 4-acre site on 20th Avenue South with a state grant worth $5 million. As a condition, the PACC must be built within 10 years, or the city must pay back the money with interest.
• Seattle-based developer Lorax Partners estimates that a 700-seat arts center with a 3,000-square-foot conference space could cost about $31.7 million. Preliminary designs include green landscapes and up to 170 parking spots, along with an option to build a hotel.
• The city reports the "total cost of the schematic design development is $950,000, with the balance coming from previously approved design funding and existing grants."
• The completed project may require a city subsidy of up to $200,000 a year.
• For more projections and information on the PACC, visit www.cityoffederalway.com/pacc.