After the Center Plaza fire in May 2017, a new building is set to be completed at the end of this year with an updated sprinkler system. Haley Donwerth, the Mirror

After the Center Plaza fire in May 2017, a new building is set to be completed at the end of this year with an updated sprinkler system. Haley Donwerth, the Mirror

Center Plaza owner rebuilds shopping center after massive fire

May 2017 blaze destroyed nine businesses in Federal Way’s downtown core

The Center Plaza shopping center in Federal Way is being rebuilt more than a year after a fire burned the building to the ground and destroyed nine businesses.

The new building, located at 2020 S. 320th St., is set to be completed by the end of 2018 at a date to be announced, said owner Mark McDonald. He would not release the names of the businesses that would be leasing space in the completed building.

McDonald said most of the previous business owners in the building have decided not to move back in after construction is completed.

“Leasing activity has been strong, and there is a lot of interest,” he said. “The building will be completely updated.”

Initial investigations were unable to determine the cause of the May 2017 fire, which is believed to have originated in the former 2NE Pho restaurant in the building.

According to Jeff Bellinghausen, spokesperson for South King Fire and Rescue, the fire was a total loss to Center Plaza business owners and the community. Businesses that were lost include a Subway, Total Vape, Mi Tiendita Latina II, Al’s Music and Games, 2NE Pho, Ace Dry Cleaners, Emerald City Smoothie, a smoke shop and MOA Hair Studio.

At the time, the building did not have a fire alarm or sprinklers. Bellinghausen said the new building would have a full sprinkler system once construction is finished.

One of the shops that lost nearly all of its invesntory in the fire, Al’s Music and Games, moved to a new location in March of this year. Wes Geesman, the owner, told the Mirror that while the new space was still about 30 percent smaller than the old one at Center Plaza, they still managed to fit the important stuff inside.

The shopping center was sold to McDonald in July 2015 for $14.2 million. The purchase was seen as a good move for the revitalization of Federal Way’s downtown area.

Mayor Jim Ferrell said after the purchase: “The new Federal Way is right around the corner.”

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza as seen in 2015. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza as seen in 2015. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

Center Plaza, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2020 S. 320th St., was destroyed by a fire May 21, 2017. Mirror file photo

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