Bothell reflects on downtown development

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman

BothellShifting traffic to a new State Route 522, adding a transit lane to SR 522 near Wayne Curve and the opening of a modern apartment building, The 104, are among Bothell’s successes so far in its revitalization project, Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe said in the State of the City address last week.

"After all the years of envisioning a new future for the city of Bothell, of planning and seeking and securing the funds needed to transform our city, our revitalization is well under way," Stowe said.

Bothell has sought to update roads and infrastructure, as well as work to attract private developers. Since Bothell’s revitalization began 10 years ago, the city has secured $94 million in grants and other innovative funding, Stowe said.

In February, the city will grow by annexing nine areas from unincorporated King County.

Those 6,000 citizens will make Bothell’s population about 41,000. Bothell’s current citizens will benefit from annexation because the additional population will expand the tax base and give the city more influence in the region and in the state.

Projects In Progress

The SR 522 realignment – the largest capital investment in the city’s history — is scheduled to be complete in late spring. Traffic shifted to the new road in August, and now construction is focused on connecting streets and adding sidewalks.

Another project on SR 522 added improvements from Wayne Curve to the western city limits. The new transit lane, sidewalks, landscaping and street lighting "all enhanced the west entrance to the city of Bothell," Stowe said.

Bothell Way is being converted to a European-style multi-way boulevard, with two lanes of traffic in each direction, an alternating turn lane, a tree-lined median, a slow-moving access lane, parallel parking stalls and a wide buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.

The first phase of construction, which started last summer, is designed to correspond to private developments on the west side of the road, including McMenamins hotel and brewpub and Six Oaks mixed-use development. The changes will "ultimately change the look and the function of Bothell Way," Stowe said.

Planned Projects

This spring, Bothell will seek bids to relocate Horse Creek, a project that will take 18 to 24 months of construction. Downtown developers will pay for much of the project.

"Currently, this creek is located in a large pipe that meanders its way through downtown," Stowe explained. "The creek will be moved to a new corridor which allows for new developments to take place and also allows for the creek to become an open channel, fish-passable stream."

The city is still looking for money for other projects.

Bothell plans to restore wetlands and add walking trails, a fountain and a plaza cafe to the park at Bothell Landing, which gained three acres after the realignment of SR 522. The enhancements will cost $13 million, so the city might construct the additions in stages.

The city hopes to reconstruct the entire streetscape of Main Street, creating public gathering places, wide pedestrian sidewalks, additional parking, lighting and landscaping, while preserving the historic character that is "the heart and soul of Bothell’s downtown," Stowe described.

Bothell also has plans for a new City Center block, a mixed-use development with a new City Hall, commercial uses, more than 165 parking stalls, public gathering spaces and office space. Construction could begin this summer to take advantage of low interest rates, Stowe said.

Two mixed-use developments with apartments, retail space and restaurants are under construction. Six Oaks, with 203 apartments and 6300 square feet of ground floor retail space, is expected to open this fall. The Village at Beardslee Crossing, with 450 apartments and 5200 square feet of retail space, is preleasing now.

The University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia Community College campus is now the fastest-growing college campus in the state, Stowe said. The University is working on a new math and science building, which will be complete in March and open for classes in the fall, that will let the campus serve an additional 1,000 students.

The owners of McMenamins are still trying to finance construction for the hotel they plan to open in the Anderson Building. McMenamins hotel will include a restaurant, pub, movie theater, music – and amenities such as a pool that Bothell residents will be able to use for free for 15 years.

Stowe credits Bothell’s success to the right mix of public and private development. The city purchased 25 acres of land in downtown and resold them, and relocated 32 businesses and tore down 30 buildings to turn back "decades of auto-oriented development."

"The public sector must provide the vision, the business plan, and the infrastructure investments that will support development, like we have done …" Stowe said. "The private sector must provide the expertise and the capital necessary to create the vertical development and animate the downtown plan consistent with the community’s vision."



Photo courtesy of City of Bothell. An artist’s rendering of Bothell Way shows how it will look after it is converted to a multiway boulevard with two lanes of traffic in each direction, a tree-lined median and parallel parking spaces. Converting Bothell Way to a multiway boulevard is one of many construction projects in Bothell’s ongoing revitalization.


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