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FWay council decides to fast-track request for developers for city property

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on March 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm with No Comments »
March 1, 2011 8:00 pm

Federal Way City Council members agreed tonight they want to seek developers again for city-owned property downtown sooner rather than later, after a three-tower skyscraper project collapsed.

Council members voted 6-0 for a timeline that would result in a developer being selected by mid-August. The other option was a slower timeline ending with a developer chosen in mid-October.

Council member and deputy mayor Dini Duclos said she favored the faster-track schedule given there are likely to be delays in the process.

Two council members, Linda Kochmar and Roger Freeman, also said they favored including height limits in the parameters for potential developers, called a request for proposals.

But including height limits did not appear to have support from a majority of the council. Council member Jack Dovey was absent.

The City Council is scheduled to finalize developer guidelines and approve a request for proposals March 15.

Plans to develop four acres of city-owned property downtown fell through when Twin Development, a group of Seattle-Tacoma partners, failed to make a $100,000 payment to an escrow account by Jan. 31.

The developers planned to build three towers on the vacant land at 31600 20th Ave. S., two of 45 stories and a third of 35. The project was to include condominiums, hotel rooms, retail space and a 1-acre park.

The city purchased the property in 2006 for $4.1 million to spur downtown development.

At tonight’s meeting, Freeman said he favored a height limit so the project won’t result in skyscrapers shocking to Federal Way residents.

But Duclos said the council can limit the height of the project after putting out a request for developers’ proposals.

“I want to keep it as open as possible,” Duclos said. “I don’t want to cut people off.”

The land is zoned for up to 20-story buildings with flexibility for taller buildings that don’t increase the density of development, such as the number of residential units.

Freeman said he will push for height limits again when the council finalizes the request for proposals March 15.

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