City to partner with new firm to redevelop 200 Mill plaza

Developer’s plan includes 450 rental housing units, as well as office, educational and retail space.

After a slight detour last year, the city of Renton is now back on track to redevelop the plaza at 200 Mill Avenue.

The city has been working on redeveloping the old City Hall building that sits beside the Cedar River and neighbors the Renton Library for the last few years. The site is costing the city more in maintenance and is being underutilized, according to city officials. It is currently home to a mix of public, private and nonprofit tenants, but is only at 72 percent capacity. The property — which has been city-owned since the 1960s — is costing the city millions of dollars to keep up with the continued maintenance and upgrades.

A 2009 building study estimated the necessary maintenance and upgrade could cost the city more than $10 million, according to Cliff Long, the economic development director. To optimally utilize the property, the city decided to seek a public-private partnership to redevelop the area.

In 2016, the city selected Winson Investment of Bellevue to redevelop the 3.79 acre site to contain an international school, senior housing, outdoor civic plaza and a riverfront public park with an amphitheater in three new buildings.

However the partnership dissolved last year due to internal disagreement within Winson, according to Long.

After finding itself back at square one, the city sought out requests for proposals from interested developers once again in 2017. Of the interested parties, three firms were invited to submit requests for interests.

The city decided to move ahead and review two developers who expressed interest — Cosmos Development and LMC Development.

Both developers submitted applications and were reviewed by an internal review team, which included council members Armondo Pavone, Randy Corman and officials from the departments of facilities, finance, legal, economic development, planning, as well as a consultant from Lotus Development.

Both proposals focused on transforming the site into a residential site, but differed in its approach to “utilizing the site to meet a broader array of important community interests and maximizing the development potential of the shoreline as a public asset”, Long said at the Feb. 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Cosmos — which developed Second and Main, the apartment complex on Main Avenue South — proposed 450 rental housing units completed in three buildings, 30,700-square-feet of retail space and 35,000 square-feet of office and educational space.

It also proposed a 500-space parking garage structure where one level dedicated for retail, library and office patron and the other two levels for residents.

Cosmos is offering $7.3 million for the site and an additional $2 million to offset the costs for a Cedar River waterfront park.

The proposal also took into account the current tenants of the 200 Mill building and phased construction so tenants could stay in the current building until their leases expired.

The LMC proposal focused on 321 residential units that ranged from studios and two-bedroom lofts in a single U-shaped building. It also included 8,700 square-feet of space for additional coffee shops, walk-in medical clinic and service-oriented use units, as well as a pocket park and a public pedestrian connector for the Cedar River.

It is also proposing 350 parking spaces in a three-level structure parking garage that does not disturb the current library parking.

The total proposed purchase price is $2,655,000. Under this proposal, the estimated value to the city is around $5.2 million.

The internal review team scored Cosmos higher than LMC as it “proposed a more diverse array of uses that would serve to energize the site and create a sense of place” and because it “anticipated and added value to the river frontage as an asset to be preserved and brought into more accessible use as a public amenity,” according to the Long’s presentation.

Council member Carol Ann Witschi inquired details about who would be in charge of security in the waterfront park space.

According to Long, details about security are not finalized and will be hammered down during the final stages of negotiation. Those details would depend once the final uses of the spaces were determined, he added.

Council member Ruth Perez raised concerns about parking, especially considering the property’s proximity to the fire station.

Long said Cosmos is working with a parking engineer and that the city has required Cosmos to come up with a detailed parking plan for during and post construction. He also said Cosmos wants to resurface the library parking to match the surface of the plaza, while maintaining the trees already present in the area. The parking garage will be a “great expansion” for library patrons and would serve retail patrons and tenants, he said.

Council member Ryan McIrvin inquired about the cost of building a park, outside the $2 million from Cosmos, however Long said there was no estimate at the time.

Council president Ed Prince signed the committee report concurring to the staff recommendation to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Cosmos. No objections were raised by council members during the meeting.

Moving forward, Cosmos is expected to provide a earnest money deposit by next month. After completing a due diligence and feasibility analysis period, the city and Cosmos will negotiate and draft a disposition and development agreement.

The City Council is expected to review and vote on the agreement in October or November of this year. The agreement would then be executed in December.

More in News

Courtesy of Renton Schools. Through a mentor program between local students and car dealerships, involving Renton School District Career Technical Education (CTE) worksite learning coordinators, nonprofit Mentor Washington and Communities in Schools Renton-Tukwila, students are getting both careers and a friendly hand on stepping into the adulthood. Pictured: First mentee in the program Nick Romo, who has gone on to continue his career after the program and is nearly a master technician, in a video about the program.
Dealing kids a better future

Local car dealerships mentor Renton students for future careers

Courtesy of City of Renton. The Cedar River Trail experienced a significant undermining, and much of the bank was gone after flooding over the weekend, some of it just feet away from the paved trail.
River flooding pushes Renton to the limits

Heavy rains and rising waters could cost Renton millions

Courtesy of City of Renton. Site area for the Park Avenue North extension, a project from the city and SECO development that creates a second access point for Southport.
SECO expands its reach

Two new land acquisitions will expand Southport

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs the first bill of the 2020 legislative session into law. On the right stands the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, who is wearing a red tie. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gov. Inslee signs tax bill to help fund higher education

Law shifts a portion of the tax burden to large tech companies.

Photo courtesy of AIFF Local 864. Just before 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8 a five-vehicle collision on Interstate 405 (I-405) North between Renton and Tukwila halted evening traffic and caused an involved semi truck to catch fire.
Residents hurt in two crashes over the weekend

Two severe accidents over the weekend in Renton destroyed vehicles and left… Continue reading

A screenshot of the Facebook post from Feb. 5 containing the video that allegedly showed roaches in the downtown Renton IHOP kitchen. The restaurant was inspected the next day at request of the owner and found to be clean and free of pests.
Inspection debunks fake viral cockroach video

A local IHOP restaurant received an “excellent” rating after complaints made

Most Read