$20.5 Million, 500-Stall Garage Moves Closer To Start Of Construction

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by Ralph Nichols

A $20.5 million parking garage with 500 stalls, planned for the park-and-ride lot in downtown Burien, has moved a big step closer toward the start of construction.

The King County Council adopted unanimously on Feb. 16 an ordinance approving both a ground lease of the county-owned parking lot to Alliance Wasatch I, LLC, which will build the garage on that site, and a lease back to the county of the parking facility upon its completion.

“I’m excited to see signs of progress on this project because connecting people to transit is a critical part of maximizing our transit investments,” said King County Councilwoman Jan Drago, who represents Burien.

“This is one piece of a [Transit Oriented Development] package that the King County Council will be addressing to help bring smart, green development to the heart of Burien and [Council] District 8.”

The existing park-and-ride lot with 300-plus stalls on the northeast corner of SW 150th St. and 4th Ave. SW is adjacent to the new Burien Transit Center – the first part of a three-phase Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project in Burien. The transit center opened last June.

Temporary transit parking during construction of the garage may be located at the old BBC Dodge site at 1st Ave. S. and SW 148th St. An arrangement for this currently is being negotiated.

King County Executive Dow Constantine was authorized by the County Council to execute final details of both the ground and project leases, and to approve certain other provisions of the lease–leaseback transaction.

Burien Economic Development Manager Dick Loman noted that the ground lease, which is expected to be dated April 1, “is subject to receipt of legal documents from Sound Transit, the Federal Transportation Agency, and the U.S. Department of Energy,” which are the county’s funding partners for the project.

After the County Council gives final approval to the project and the lease becomes effective, the developer will have 90 days to finalize construction financing and building permits.

Loman added that construction could begin by Labor Day, with project completion and the opening of the garage expected by July 2011.

He said the county “plans to exercise its option to purchase the parking facility upon completion.”

The final phase of Burien’s TOD – construction of approximately 100 affordable multi-family units around the outside of the five-story parking garage, with a sixth level underground – is expected to proceed after construction of the garage is completed as financing is available.

“Once the apartments are built, you won’t even know a parking garage is there,” Loman said. A lot of this housing is expected to be made available to new teachers in the Highline School District.

Retail and office space will be located on the ground level of the garage/apartment development.

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2 Responses to “$20.5 Million, 500-Stall Garage Moves Closer To Start Of Construction”
  1. Mark says:

    While I understand the need for commuter parking next to the Transit Station, putting all that parking so far away from the retail businesses and the Old Town area makes it REAL inconvenient if someone wants to visit, spend time and $ in Burien. Think of the long walk during days of lousy weather (which seems like it’s roughly more than 300 days per year!). I’d rather see a smaller parking footprint specifically geared for transit commuters with another parking structure at the site of that antiquated Post Office and next door strip mall. That puts consumer parking closer to the businesses and Old Town and provides an opportunity for a new Post Office that would have larger, customer-friendly lobbies, services and easier parking. Right now, every day looks like Christmas-time at that old, outdated Post Office. Whatever the solution, I sure hope the new parking structure next to the Transit Station is well-lit, open and has fully functional security cameras and alarm systems. If we have a problem with car prowls and assaults (as we see at the Sea-Tac airport parking garage), nobody is going to park there and we, the taxpayers, will get stuck with another urban blight project.

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  2. Clyde Hill says:

    What would be a great idea would be to run a spur off the Link Light Rail between Burien Park and Ride and Tukwilla station. Imagine, a transit origination point that has enough parking stalls to support ridership! However, I am sure that even if this idea should ever get legs, it would take 5 years of study and 700 gazillion dollars to make a 2.5 mile line a reality.

    Just a thought.

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