From Glue Pot to Hot Spot
Kent Station might be the most vibrant destination south of Seattle on any weekend night. Family-friendly entertainment abounds, attracting movie-goers, shoppers, diners and hang-outers from a wide swath of the Puget Sound region. But it wasn’t always the hot spot it is today. In fact, it used to be a contaminated waste site.
The land beneath Kent Station was farmed until 1956 when Borden Chemical purchased it and built a plywood resin manufacturing plant. For years, Borden Chemical employed dozens of workers, but in the 1990s, it fell on hard times nationwide and shuttered most of its operations. By 2001, the Kent facility was demolished, leaving a vacant—and contaminated—site right in the core of Kent’s downtown.
Where others saw failure, Kent saw opportunity. Downtowns everywhere began their resurgence as in-demand places to work, play and live. With new land available, Kent could capitalize on its historic downtown by adding modern amenities to answer the urban appetite of South King County. The City purchased the land, secured federal funding to clean it up and sold it to Tarragon to build out the Kent Station vision.
Marketplace at Lake Meridian
A Fresh Perspective
Built in the late 1980s, the Marketplace at Lake Meridian served the East Hill area well during its first 25 years. But by 2014, the time had come for a facelift. The timing was right: its prime location, increased traffic counts, strong demographics and the improving economy made it the ideal investment opportunity.
Retailers like Trader Joe’s were quick to recognize the growth potential and wanted to move into a renovated facility as quickly as possible. Could the renovation timeline be sped up? The development’s owner approached the City for help.
The City assembled a team to work closely with the developer throughout the planning and permit process—standard practice at City Hall. The result? A multimillion dollar investment in a new façade, additional lighting and signage, a better parking lot, more landscaping, outdoor seating areas and other attractive amenities, all delivered on an accelerated timeline. Now, the Marketplace stands as an energetic gathering place and gateway to the Lake Meridian community.
Image owned by Helix Design Group
The accesso-ShoWare Center
LEEDing the Way
An ice hockey stadium with built-in sustainability measures worthy of recognition as the first sports and entertainment facility in the U.S. to earn a LEED™ Gold rating? Welcome to Kent’s accesso-ShoWare Center—home to the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds and the hub for entertainment in South King County.
Sustainable construction and operation were the driving force behind the City’s vision for its multi-purpose event space, which was built on a modest budget in just 16 months to open for the Thunderbirds’ 2009 season. Located close to Kent Station with pedestrian access to public transportation and retail amenities, the 6,113-seat building features energy efficient lighting that saves more than a third of the energy used by similar facilities. Its design includes water-saving features both inside and out, from dual-flush toilets to a gravel-bed parking garage which allows storm runoff to feed nearby wetlands.
Residents of Kent and visitors from across the region find themselves here for hockey, rock-and-roll, graduations and more. Book a ticket and see what all the fuss is about!
The Platform Apartments
When Unfinished Business Spells Opportunity
As exciting redevelopment sprang up around it, a half-finished parking garage fell into the City’s hands when its developer abandoned the project. The City had to demolish the structure, leaving a gaping hole in the heart of downtown adjacent to the new Town Square Plaza Park, home of the Kent Farmers Market.
But more was in store for the prime property, and Goodman Real Estate, Inc. of Seattle seized the opportunity to purchase it from the City, building Kent’s first urban-center dwelling units. Complete with 176 market-rate apartments and 3,100 square feet of retail, and walking distance from Kent Station, The Platform Apartments opened in 2014 at nearly-full capacity.
The success of this development has since spurred multiple other residential developments in Kent’s downtown core. In hindsight, the success looks inevitable, but it wasn’t always so obvious. The Platform Apartments are another example in a long line of aspirational undertakings that transformed into prime opportunities for Kent.