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Let’s finish developing Federal Way | Letter
Finally, by this time next month, the old Toys ‘R’ Us building will likely be material in a landfill, now that the mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel said our community can bear the burden of the long-talked-about Performing Arts and Conference Center and the City Council has concurred with those findings by a unanimous vote.
Also by this time next month, our community will begin getting use out of the new downtown Town Square Park. Thank you Mayor Jim Ferrell for owning this and moving on it. Originally on that spot, some proposed to have some multi-use real estate with condos and retail and a park; I hope soon we can realize that possibility.
Since we are in the redevelopment phase of that sector of Federal Way, why not complete the area with a full-scale downtown corridor with mixed retail and housing? One good reason to do it now is so the area will blend well with the Performing Arts and Conference Center design and not make the center look like a mismatched square on a quilt.
The area from north of South 318th Street to South 313th Street, and west of 23rd Avenue to the old Top Foods store, is about as vacant as it is going to get if we are serious about developing a viable Town Square (that is unless we are all OK with strip malls). The only real obstacle is Walmart. There are a lot of other vacancies, such as the old school district headquarters, Discount Tires and O’Reilly Auto Parts, which could open up this area to Pacific Highway. Also this would make dining and retail shopping walking distance to the Performing Arts and Conference Center.
I think we should challenge the mayor and Council to start exploring this concept by inviting investors and commercial developers to provide input and study plans that could make this happen. This would be an opportunity for small business growth in Federal Way and it would certainly catch our community up to cities that are about the same age and add value.
This might inspire Sound Transit to accelerate light rail in to our downtown area sooner than 2032. Mill Creek has a flourishing Main Street as does Renton, Kent and other communities that have added mix-use real estate to their community.
Let’s not just do Town Square half way; let’s do it all the way and now. While I am at it, Federal Way also needs a centrally located Senior Center (hint … old Target store). Federal Way is not getting younger.
Randall Smith, Federal Way