The symphony of (no) construction

As everyone’s well aware, the downtown Symphony project, which I drive past every morning, is on hold for up to a year.

Yeah, sure.

We’ve heard this one before, Federal Way. How long did it take for Federal Way to get a long-awaited modern movie theater? The original plan for the Century Theatres was to be done by fall 2004. For the record, it opened July 2007. Construction didn’t even start until early 2007, if memory serves.

Ironically, the Symphony is on the site of the theater whose closure left the gap that Century filled. And it fills it adequately (well, now that it’s gotten the kinks worked out, they seem to play the right movies in the right theater and completely right-side up and forward these days). But it sure took its time in doing so (the AMC 6 closed in 2002).

At least other city projects have been on time — the Community Center opened in March 2007, roughly on schedule, but it’s apparently not able to stay in the black. Oh, and its construction ran 27 percent over budget.

Engineers of all stripes know of the designer’s “Holy Triangle,” which goes “Good, fast or cheap.” In Federal Way, that seems to be “Remotely on time, remotely on budget, or not completely falling apart.”

At least we’ve been mostly on track for the latter — so far.

As for what to do about Symphony, and United Properties falling through, does the city really think that this is the last word? Come a year from now, will we see United Properties come back and ask for yet another year? With construction projects “on hold” all over the country, and even on the decline in the supposedly resilient Northwest, can we really count on them to come through on a second chance? And can the growth of our city wait that long?

I hope the Federal Way City Council is considering other options, instead of just rolling over for United Properties’ extension request.

Federal Way resident Keith Tyler runs the blog


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