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Downtown retail project shooting for mid-October

$50 million project could take one year to complete

mall blueprint

The revised, though not finalized, site plan for the downtown Woodinville retail development is anchored by Target to the north, Top Foods to the west, a movie theater to the east and retail shops along NE 175th Street.
Graphic courtesy of Fuller, Sears and Smith.

downtown retail project by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--The proposed 43-acre downtown retail project anchored by Target, Top Foods, and a movie theater, could begin construction as soon as Oct. 16, a date by which developers hope to have all the properties under one ownership and permits issued by the city.
   TRF-Pacific, the Bellevue-based developers, met with the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce Downtown Retail Merchants Association last Thursday to bring them up to speed and answer questions and concerns created by the pending development.
   Bob Parks, president of TRF-Pacific, along with Dan Spears, presented the revised site plan and reviewed the major tenants, which include Target, Top Foods, Cineplex Odeon's revised 12-screen theater with 2,350 seats, and a "new" Red Robin which closes earlier and is family-oriented.
   Starbucks, Bernie's Bagels, Todo Wraps, and Hollywood Video will share one of the buildings fronting on NE 175th Street; Cucina! Presto! (a Cucina! Cucina! restaurant), Great Clips, and Bella Cleaners will share another. The retail frontage on 175th will all be trellised.
   "We had no trouble leasing those at all," said Parks of the stores fronting on 175th.
   TRF is continuing negotiations with a copy-making store, a pet store, and a major bookstore.

Retail leakage
   Downtown businesses have been waiting with anticipation and apprehension for this project, concerned about the combination of competition and new traffic and whether that adds up to more or less business for them as individual owners.
   As part of the environmental impact statement process, TRF cited figures from the State Department of Revenue showing $5 billion in disposable income within a five-mile radius of Woodinville, $600 million of which is considered leakage to Redmond, Bellevue Square, Alderwood (Lynnwood), and Seattle.
   "I think Woodinville is a very well-kept secret," Parks said. "If we can intercept more of those dollars in downtown Woodinville, everybody will do a lot better with this project in place."
   Parks says he will be encouraging the tenants to join the downtown retail merchants association, unlike other programs such as in Overlake in Bellevue, where the developers require businesses to contribute to the promotion of the shopping complex as a whole.
   "We aren't offering anything like that," he said. "We want you (the tenant) to join into Woodinville," added Spears.
   Parks and Spears also spoke of the long-term planning, which could see a slip-ramp from SR-522 across the tracks and directly into the TRF project. The relocation of the Park & Ride lot nearer to SR-522 would open up the southern Park & Ride street as access directly into one of TRF's intersections from Woodinville-Duvall Road.

A $50 million price tag
   Residents and business owners remember the Fred Meyer proposal a few years back that included the southern 20 acres of the soon-to-be TRF project. The Fred Meyer proposal fell through because of traffic pitfalls.
   TRF was approached three years ago by four property owners comprising 20 acres who wanted TRF to "assemble" them and other properties into a more viable project.
   "It was the only time as a developer that a group of property owners approached us," said Parks.
   The land deal for the 43 acres is pegged around $10 million, with another $10 million going towards site development and $30 million for construction. Target will not be a tenant and will instead be purchasing the corner of the development to the northeast where its building will be constructed.
   Retailers expressed concerns about the traffic which will be created by the development. Parks and Spears responded by pointing to the mitigation that will be provided by the two new streets planned through the development, a new railroad crossing and traffic signals on NE 175th Street, 140th Avenue NE, and Woodinville-Snohomish Road.
   "We've had to solve some pretty serious traffic problems," said Spears of the projected impacts.
   The project is to have more than 2,300 parking spaces and will construct two grid roads within the site to the city's specifications, which is 68 feet of right-of-way with 12-foot sidewalks and landscaping.
   The city has been working on the several permits which TRF has applied for, including clearing and grading. The binding site plan has yet to be finalized, but both sides anticipate the process will be completed by Oct. 16 with construction taking one year.
   Parks and Spears emphasized that the center will become three blocks of property and not a mall, calling it "three additional blocks of destinations for shoppers in downtown Woodinville."

A "different" kind of Target
   The "shopping village," as some are calling it, will have a look consistent with the city's interim design principles. TRF worked for several months with the planning commission to make sure the designs were acceptable.
   There will be no monument sign identifying the sites, though large sculptures are being considered at the main entrances on three sides.
   "This is really going to meld into the community well," said Spears. "The elevations are like Molbak's or Pickering Farm in Issaquah."
   Spears said the typical Target tilt-ups will not be like Alderwood's, but will instead "look like a series of storefronts" with parapets and mixed media such as metal, brick, and wood.