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Plans for Riverfront housing, movies and food progressing

EVERETT — Hundreds of new apartments may be under construction by June as part of the next step for the Riverfront Development.
Lowell Neighborhood residents learned all about the proposed residential and commercial build at a community association meeting March 18.
At the 70-acre site, development would occur over six phases. The first phase would feature 295 housing units, a theater and grocery store.
Phased building lowers the risk for developer Shelter Holdings, explained director of development Eric Evans.
He said the ownership preferred to “nurture and nurse” the project’s first phase businesses before adding more retailers, saying it allowed the company to be more agile and responsive to the
market.
Evans envisioned restaurants, a bike shop, pet store, medical offices and possibly childcare on the site.
All told, 1,250 residential units plus a 250-room hotel would populate the site. The Snohomish riverfront would host about 230,000 square feet of retail and up to 125,000 of office space. There would be 2,700 parking stalls.
Housing would be in six-story buildings, where the first floor was commercial space. Heights would max out at 75 feet.
“We need to house people in low wage jobs,” said Lowell resident Brenda Bolanos-
Ivory. “We’re pushing out generations of low-income people.”
She pressed Evans to keep 10 percent of the residences as affordable housing permanently.
“There is a component of affordable housing,” Evans said. Shelter Holdings is eligible for a 12-year property tax exemption on the
residential portion of the build if it maintains 20 percent of units as affordable for that period. But Evans was clear about plans to go fully market rate.
“This is a $425 million investment decision. When we look to make an investment, a very significant one…” it has to make financial sense.”This is market-based workforce housing … servicing the jobs and people who are here,” including Boeing and Fluke employees, Evans said.
Charging market rate was important because of “significantly more environmental challenges at this site, and significantly more operational challenges,” Evans said.
It’s on a former landfill. The site was layered with soil-covered refuse, compressible sand, peat and finally, load bearing sand. Developing the land required driving piles 80-feet deep.
“We’re kind of pioneering here on a landfill,” Evans said, not a cheap endeavor.
Evans also pointed to the cost of installing a three-acre park, a project he said the city originally planned as a regional park, but later asked Shelter Holdings to include as part of their develo[pment.
Another resident, Elly Smith, asked if Shelter Holdings was receiving any government money or tax credits for the project.
“No,” Evans said.
The neighborhood update came prior to a March 26 Planning Commission hearing after press time. The revised project master plan development agreement must still go before the City Council for approval. That hearing is tentatively set for May 1, said city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke. Then, the state Department of Ecology will need to sign off.
The current project is the third at the Riverfront site. On the south end, 235 homes have replaced the Simpson Mill. On the north end, 190 townhomes sit in the former footprint of the Eclipse Mill. More information on the project is available at www.everettwa.gov/1966/Riverfront-Development

 

  

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