Representatives from Goodman Real Estate, Clark Design Group, and Arena Sports presented their proposal for a combination indoor sports arena and multi-family residential project at the Mill Creek City Council meeting on March 6th. The developer, Goodman Real Estate, wants to build on a number of properties in Mill Creek near the intersection of the Bothell-Everett Highway and Dumas Road. The presentation to the Mill Creek City Council was made in order to gauge their interest in the project, not to get a final decision for the project.
The developer would like to build a combination of multi-family residential buildings and commercial buildings in a phased project if the City agrees to change the current zoning and land use restrictions.
The developer’s team has been meeting with Mill Creek’s Community Development department over the past few weeks in conjunction with the City’s land use capacity study. As previously reported on this website, the City’s study has identified the area near Dumas road for potential rezoning to spur the City of Mill Creek’s economic development.
The properties in which the developer is definitely interested are the Cedar Park Church property along the Bothell-Everett Highway (SR 527) north of the Shell Station, and the Kelly Family LLC property between Dumas Road and North Creek Drive. The developer is possibly interested in the LB/VCC property south of the intersection of Dumas and the Bothell-Everett Highway.
At the present time, both the Cedar park Church property and the LB/VCC property are slated for commercial use per Mill Creek’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan requires the Kelly Family LLC to be developed for office use.
During the March 6th City Council meeting the Goodman Real Estate representative, Brad Reisinger, explained that this group already has certain parcels in this area under contract. He went on to say Goodman Real Estate is very active right now and has 20 projects under development in the Puget Sound area.
Reisinger said that Goodman Real Estate’s plan for the Cedar Park Church property is for 50% commercial and 50% multi-family residential. He went on to say the plan for the Kelly property site is for 100% multi-family residential, and if they decided to go with the property at the corner of Dumas and 527 it would be 100% commercial.
Reisinger said they would love to include more commercial space in the plans but commercial demand is very low right now. “Talking with the local brokers, there is no demand for retail. There is a lot of vacancy in Mill Creek right now,” Reisinger said. He went on to say his lenders are not going to give him financing to build retail right now and that his company would have walked away from the project if not for the involvement of Arena Sports.
The project’s architect, Scott Clark of Clark Design Group, described the conceptual plan during the March 6th Mill Creek City Council meeting. He said the plan for the Cedar Park Church site is to place two five-story residential buildings, a couple of leasing/recreational buildings, and a 50,000 square foot single story high-bay sport facility on the land. Included on this site would be the required green belt and setbacks, as well as a swimming pool and half-court basketball for the apartment residents.
Clark said the development plan for Kelly property is similar to the multi-family portion of the Cedar Church Park property with two five-story apartment buildings a clubhouse, a swimming pool and the other amenities.
Clark explained the development plan meets most of Mill Creek’s building and zoning requirements. “We meet the open space requirements, we meet the setback requirements for property lines. What really is open for discussion is the mix of use. How much residential vs. how much commercial. The height of the buildings. We are proposing a maximum of five-story buildings. Typically you have a height limitation of about 40-feet, so there is a 15-foot delta that we have to address. And then also how we work the parking, what the ratios are,” said Clark.
Reisinger said they would be happy to develop all of the properties or any combination of the properties depending on the City’s plan for the area. For example, if the City likes the Cedar Park Church plan but not the Kelly plan, they would be happy to just develop the Cedar Park Church property.
The potential sports arena on the Cedar Park Church site would have at least two indoor sports fields for soccer and lacrosse. Players of all ages would use the facility for leagues, tournaments, and camps. Arena Sports, the proposed owner/operator, has a number of indoor sports arenas in the Seattle area. Their newest facility is located at Magnusson Park on Lake Washington.
At the March 6th City Council meeting Don Crowe, the Chief Executive Officer of Arena Sports, explained that his company has franchised their indoor soccer and sports centers in about 100 locations across the country. Crowe said his plan for the Mill Creek indoor arena is to have two to three playing fields for soccer and lacrosse, and a 6,000 square foot inflatable playground area for birthday parties. He explained that the fields would be used for team sports and individual classes. Crowe said that in 2011 the Arena Sports facility at Magnusson Park won an award for preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings on which Clark Design Group was the architect.
Crowe explained that Arena Sports runs soccer leagues for all age groups. He said that adults play year round and youth soccer leagues run mostly in the winter. Crowe said that 60% of league play is adult, and 40% is youth. He believes that people will visit the arena from as far away as a 25-minute drive and estimates that this would result in 12,000 to 15,000 more visitors to Mill Creek in the evenings and weekends during the peak winter season. Crowe said that many of these visitors would visit local shops and restaurants while in Mill Creek.
Reisinger said that the apartments would be 950 to 1,000 square feet with extensive amenities like a fitness center, BBQ areas, swimming pool, and gathering places. “When we did our market analysis of the area, the Reserve is always one of our top comparables,” Reisinger said. He went on to say, “Anybody building apartments today is targeting the millennial generation. Anybody born between 1980 and 1995. For them the amenities are usually issue number one, and security is issue number two. Having a key-locked building with a well-lit one main door entrance and security camera with a secure hallway.”
Some of the City Councilmembers expressed support for the project at the March 6th meeting.
Councilmember Donna Michelson believes this is a unique opportunity that, “We can’t turn our backs on.” Michelson said, “I’m very intrigued with the plan. This would have a lot of residual effect with all of the visitors. This is something really unusual for the city.” She said that these apartments are not located in the core of the city and makes the area more walk able and more livable.
Councilmember Kathy Nielson also expressed her guarded support for the project at the March 6th City Council meeting. Neilson said, “There are pros and cons. This would be a great asset to our community and I’m open to further discussions.”
Mayor Mike Todd said he believes the reality is that people need to live somewhere and even though many Mill Creek citizens don’t want any more apartments, this would be a high quality apartment development and brings a beneficial demographic to the community. “What would help me would be more back of the envelope calculations showing the tax benefit to the City. I’d like to know what the difference in tax dollars are between office parks and mixed-use,” Todd said.
Councilmember Mark Harmsworth said he would like to have more information before expressing his opinion. “I’m not necessarily against this, but I’m not ready to make a call yet,” said Harmsworth.
Councilmember Terry Ryan had to recuse himself from the discussion because of a potential conflict of interest with his job as a commercial real estate broker.
Councilmember Mark Bond was not able to attend the March 6th City Council meeting because he was called in to work.
At the March 6th City Council meeting Steve Butler, the City of Mill Creek Community Development Director said, “Based on the feedback today, Goodman will do what they’re going to do and we’ll move forward on our study. We’ll come back together in a month or two to see how things are coming together. The goal is by the time we’re ready to make our annual Comprehensive Plan changes at the end of June or July, the project will be a done deal or not a done deal.”
Mill Creek City Councilmember Bart Masterson visited Arena Sport’s Magnusson Park facility on March 7th. At the March 13th City Council meeting he reported, “I was absolutely blown away. It is a clean, well-run facility. This would be a tremendous asset to our community and I would love to see them come here.”