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Apartment complex slated for school district's old bus yard

A new development that includes 308 multi-family housing units has been proposed at the Federal Way School District
A new development that includes 308 multi-family housing units has been proposed at the Federal Way School District's former transportation center at South 320th Street and 11th Place South.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/Federal Way Mirror

A new development that includes 308 multi-family housing units has been proposed at the Federal Way School District's former transportation center, also known as the bus yard.

The site is located on South 320th Street and 11th Place South, across the street from Safeway. Construction is expected to begin in three to five months, with the first buildings expected to be finished in a year, according to Paul Green of Azure Green Consultants.

The development will include small retail users along with new public roads. The project has not secured any prospective tenants, and Green said Bellevue-based DevCo Inc. is still working through the permit process to purchase the site. The school district is selling the property after moving its transportation and maintenance operations near Celebration Park.

The proposed High Point Mixed-Use Development will feature 16 buildings containing 308 dwelling units, 18,440 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, and 10,294 square feet of ground-floor common space for residents. Buildings will range in height from three to six stories with a maximum height of 70 feet.

The residential side of the project includes affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents, Green said. There will be parking for 503 vehicles on the site, along with garages beneath the proposed carriage house units.

Entrance to the development is located on one of Federal Way's most congested roads. According to the city's average daily traffic count, the stretch of South 320th Street between I-5 and 1st Avenue South attracts more than 35,000 vehicles a day.

According to the project's proposal, "the overall intent is to create a relatively dense, walkable, mixed-use community that may serve as a seed or template for future similar development as directed by the city's comprehensive plan."

A comprehensive plan describes a city's long-range vision in regards to community development. Federal Way's comprehensive plan calls for more mixed-use development and higher density in the city center.

The city's plan includes requirements for the Growth Management Act (GMA), which was passed by the state Legislature in 1990 to control the effects of population growth and development, especially in Western Washington.

As such, King County cities have set goals for accommodating population growth. Federal Way's target is to build 8,100 new housing units between 2006 and 2031, with the majority of those units slated for the city center.

In comparison, King County reports that Auburn has a target of 9,620 housing units for the same time period, while Kent has a target of 9,270 units. Renton's target is 14,835 housing units.

FYI: More apartments on the way

The local market conditions have shifted to favor renting over homeownership, according to city planners. In July, The Mirror reported that construction was expected to begin this year on three apartment complexes in Federal Way with a combined total of nearly 900 units. These apartments will also cater to low- and mid-income residents.

Preliminary designs

Pictured below: Preliminary designs for the High Point Mixed-Use Development at the school district's old transportation center at South 320th Street and 11th Place South in Federal Way, courtesy of Azure Green Consultants.

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