Letters to the editor for the week of Aug. 23

  • Sunday, August 25, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Reader worries about development deal

Dear editor,

The agreement with Cosmos for purchase of the parking area of the former city hall off Houser Way is in its final stages. Don Perrson, council president, said “the city would come out of this with $0 and he was ok with that ,”and “even though the cost of upgrading the sewer and water system might get expensive, it’s still a good deal.”

Our cost to upgrade these systems is apparently because Cosmos is not licensed to bid on these projects. Are we dealing with a company who is not fully qualified?

I’m uncomfortable with the motives of Mr. James Hwang, real estate developer/sub-divider, owner Cosmos International Corporation/Group, with offices in Bellevue and Utah. Is there evidence of a ‘bait and switch’ issue as the project differs from their original proposal?

Cosmos has; downsized the plaza having reduced its financial contribution (a disappointment for city officials), expanded the number of units in the apartment high-rise from 450 to 550 with office space below, and the 30,000 sq ft of office space is now a 150 room hotel. His many business interests and current actions regarding this development, indicate he is neither reliable nor sympathetic to the wishes of Renton’s representatives.

Renton gave $5 million tax revenue and our library to KCLS, who gave us a smaller library, fewer services and a grey/black interior with no ceiling. Was Don Perrson also ‘ok’ with this result? Why are we losing yet again?

From 1966, the library was the epitome of design with a welcoming light and airy space. Where are design elements sensitive to climate change being built into and demanded of this developer? Or is it all about reducing the cost to the developer? The Houser Way development offers little in esthetic design – its future is degradation into a ghetto block eyesore. This project plus the planned 481 unit apartments and businesses off Highway 169 are both under a half-mile from the traffic debacle at junction’s 405/highway169/Sunset Blvd. Good luck to all commuters and to anyone trying to find some green space between these concrete high rises, and to climate change efforts.

The only financial gain will be with the developers. I urge the city to take responsibility, to make demands that will add to our quality of life in all its aspects and to not diminish what makes our city unique. Renton can say no to Cosmos.

Caution is critical especially not least of all in consideration of the close proximity of the Cedar River shoreline and the location of critical areas including regulated aquifer protection Zone 1, regulated flood plains and well recharge areas.

Sincerely,

Nicola Robinson

Renton


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