Federal Way Going Hugeass

Hell yes, this is coming to Federal Way, WA, a bedroom community of about 86,000 people located between Seattle and Tacoma. Part of the City’s downtown redevelopment strategy, the project consists of four towers from 16 to 24 stories on a 4-acre site, with a whopping total of 900 residential units, along with 60,000 square feet of retail, commercial, and office space.

Project price tag: $250 million. Land cost: only $6 million. This ain’t Seattle.

The architect is Vancouver, BC-based VIA Suzuki, though these clearly are not to be slender Vancouver-style point towers.

The project includes a one-acre public park. If you look closely at the rendering, you can see that the park is elevated about 15 to 20 feet above the street, no doubt because it is sitting atop the concrete slab of the parking bunkers below. The press releases don’t mention how many parking stalls will be in the project, but it’s got to be something on the order of a couple thousand. So it’s no surprise that some of the parking is above grade. Unfortunately, elevating a park tends to isolate it from the street. And then there’s that humongous blank wall along the lower edge of the project. Yet another example of how the accommodation of cars leads to bad urban design.

But enough whining about the details. What an amazing thing, this density coming to a relatively small city. This is a growth management success story that should help ease some troubled minds. Housing at such a high density at this location would never have happened without growth management. Federal Way is probably satisfying its entire population growth target in this one project. And as a result, likely hundreds of sprawling new homes will not be built.

5 Responses to “Federal Way Going Hugeass”

  1. Dan Staley

    I’d like to know how the surrounding roads can handle the ~3000 TPD for people going to work and the ~1500 TPD for people contributing to our fraydum by buying stuff they don’t need. Are the neighborhood roads able to handle an increase of 4000-5000 TPD and resultant LOS decrease, or is there going to be light rail within walking distance (this target demographic doesn’t ride the bus much, but what the heck: will the bus service become speedier?).

  2. michael

    This development is less than a quarter mile from I-5 and as of a year or so ago Sound Transit has dedicated feeder ramps servicing a new transit center adjacent to proposed development. There have been some mumblings about light rail servicing this area…very long-term.

  3. Dan Staley

    Well, that’s a good start, good to see it. Let’s hope the elevators are super-efficient and can run on solar panels or something by the time M & N are in their dotage. And let’s hope there’s some sun to power the PV arrays.

  4. Eric Faison

    I’m a Federal Way City Council Member and it’s nice to see interest in our community. I just wanted to help out with a couple of comments. The image above is shown from south to north, with the tallest building on the northwest corner. The site slops downward from the north to the south. The buildings are at sidewalk level on all sides except for the south, where there is not currently a road. When the property to the south is redeveloped, there will be a road and we will try to figure out how to ensure that the street doesn’t face a blank wall. This is one of several large high-rise projects being planned for our downtown, which when completed will result in a “true downtown” for Federal Way. This project and others are within a block of our new 1200 stall transit center, with a direct access ramp to I-5. Federal Way is the third largest city in King County (8th largest in the State), and we’re required to accommodate approximately 6,000 new units under GMA.

  5. CHANGoO!


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