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Council approves new fireplace, sculpture for The Landing

A new fireplace and sculpture is coming to The Landing instead of a large sign tower that was originally planned.

According to the agreement between the city and the shopping center, when the occupancy rate at shopping center passes 90 percent, the developer was required to install the tower, valued at about $400,000.

But this week, with occupancy at 89.47 percent and more on the way, the developers came to the council and asked to change their plans as they felt a sign tower was not necessary at the center.

Instead of the sign tower, the developers proposed a new fireplace to replace the existing structure in front of the movie theater and a large, artist-commissioned sculpture for the traffic roundabout at North 10th Place and North 10th Street.

“Hopefully these amenities we’re proposing will be a good alternative to a tower,” Senior Property Manager Rod Swift told the council.

The change request is predicated by a pending sale of the shopping center and an attempt to bind the next owner to whatever decisions were made regarding the current contracts, which will transfer.

According to Swift, the idea for a new fireplace is to create “another gathering place” at The Landing with a low-slung hearth that will allow people to sit around it and feel the warmth, similar to the fireplace at Kent Station.

The current fireplace is enclosed in glass and does not provide any warmth for the area.

“It’s not the most exciting design,” Swift said of the current piece.

New benches, furniture and other seating areas will also be added to the area.

“We’re really excited about this design, especially compared to the first one,” Swift told the council.

In addition to the new fireplace, the developers are proposing a $225,000 sculpture, referred to as “the sundial” in a description provided with the council resolution. The metal sculpture will be metal and surrounded by lighted stone.

Swift said though it was called “the sundial,” the renderings of the sculpture, which would be artist commissioned, show a design reminiscent of an airplane wing, which would honor Renton’s “heritage and future” as an Aerospace leader, as well as harken back to land’s previous owner, Boeing.

“It’s a much more impactful and iconic design than any tower will be,” Swift told the council.

Though the measure was approved unanimously, council members did express some concern that the fireplace and sculpture were not necessarily what was needed.

Councilman Rich Zwicker, who predicated his remarks by saying he was not on the council when the original agreements were approved and that it was his final meeting as a council member, said he was “leery” of using money for signage on the fireplace redesign and said he though the developer should pay for the upgrade on their own if it was something they thought would make their business more inviting. He also questioned the timing of the proposal.

Swift told the council the timing was because the original agreements set a 90 percent occupancy as the trigger for the sign, which Councilman Don Persson said was the idea of former councilman King Parker as a way to draw shoppers to the facility.

But Persson also said he did not think a sign was necessary anymore and that the new designs are “more in tune” with what he’d like to see there.

Mayor Denis Law also said he did not think it was necessary to promote the Landing with a big sign and would prefer the changes.

“I’m much more interested in the developers making an investment for the experience of the citizens using it,” he said.

Councilwoman Marcie Palmer also said that the Landing still needs a place for children and she sees no enhancements for kids in the new designs.

Swift said there was not room at the Landing to provide a space for children except in front of the theater and the developer thought the fireplace was a better use of the space.

The changes were unanimously approved.

In addition to the new amenities, the council also approved a change to the parking garage agreement that would reserve 18 spaces on the top level for Providence Medical Center. It also passed unanimously.

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