Lynnwood City Council hears update on Alderwood Mall, plans for south Lynnwood neighborhood

Alderwood Mall Senior General Manager Jerry Irwin displaying a digital rendering of Avalon Alderwood, a mixed-use development at Alderwood Mall with retail spaces below residential use. (Image courtesy of Alderwood Mall)

As Alderwood Mall continues to reopen stores to the public, mall management briefed Lynnwood city leaders Wednesday on measures being taken to promote safe in-person shopping as well as updates on the mall’s expansion project.

Alderwood Mall Senior General Manager Jerry Irwin visited the Lynnwood City Council’s July 15 work session to explain how the mall has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the mall closed its doors to in-person shopping for 11 weeks, with a few stores offering curbside pick-up and some restaurants providing takeout services.

Last month, Alderwood was the first mall to reopen in the region, with fewer than half of its stores allowing shoppers to return to in-person shopping. Now, Irwin said, 86% of mall retailers have reopened. Though mall staff do not currently have data regarding the number of shoppers visiting the mall since reopening, Irwin said mall traffic flow is at 50% of what it typically is and on track with management’s projections.

To provide a safe environment for shoppers, Irwin said the mall has implemented a variety of safety measures, such as installing hand sanitizer stations, frequent and intense cleaning, establishing social distancing standards and reducing mall hours. He added that the mall is requiring shoppers to wear masks and mall security has a supply to distribute to those who do not have one.

“I think a lot of these are going to be a best practice that we take into the future, even post-COVID, but the curbside has been really successful for us,” Irwin said.

According to Irwin, the mall is operating at 95% retail capacity. During the briefing, he highlighted the mall’s growing list of retailers, like Seattle Coffee Gear, Yi Fang Taiwan Fruit Tea and T-Mobile store. A local barber will also be relocating its business to the mall. Irwin added two new restaurants will replace the now-closed Romano’s Macaroni Grill and MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza.

The presentation also included details about the future Amazon 4-star retail store opening in August. Amazon 4-store will feature an alternating stock of the online retailer’s top-rated merchandise at a brick-and-mortar location.

In addition, Irwin provided an update on Avalon Alderwood, the mall’s expansion project on the site of the former Sears building. The project includes two, six-story multi-family apartment buildings with a total of 328 residential units and 90,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Construction was briefly halted due to the stay-home order, but Irwin said crews are working to meet the 2022 deadline.

“The project was delayed about two months due to COVID, but they’re doing I think a great job catching up,” he said.

Construction on the residential spaces is expected to be back on schedule in the third quarter of 2021 with some retail opening around 2021-22, Irwin said.

The development will also include spaces for additional restaurants, including a Dave & Busters located near the south apartment tower.

“The good news is, there’s still a lot of interest in this so we’re really excited about this project,” Irwin said.

For more information on current policies and safety procedures, visit the mall’s website.

The south Lynnwood neighborhood designated in green. (Image courtesy of the City of Lynnwood)

Also during the July 15 meeting, the council received an update on the city’s plans to redevelop the south Lynnwood neighborhood. An update on the project was initially scheduled for earlier this year but was rescheduled due to the pandemic. The council discussed the city’s plans for the neighborhood last fall.

South Lynnwood includes the areas east of Highway 99 between 196th Street Southwest to 212th Street Southwest ,reaching the city limits near both Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. The neighborhood extends east to 44th Avenue West near Lynnwood’s City Center district.

The city is currently in Phase 2 of the South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan — an effort by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department to address social inequality —  including income and language barriers —  in south Lynnwood. With the development of Lynnwood’s City Center district and the coming Sound Transit light rail station in 2024, city staff have been working on a plan to ensure the area is preserved for the area’s communities, many of which include people of color.

Phase 2 began last year with public outreach efforts to establish relationships with the south Lynnwood community and develop a vision for the neighborhood. Staff has also been identifying ways to stabilize housing, improve access to more public and non-motorized methods of transit, and potentially use the neighborhood as a model for other areas in the city.

“We recognize that some of the things that are happening in south Lynnwood aren’t unique to south Lynnwood,” said city project manager Ashley Winchell.

City staff has been working with community members and business owners to gather feedback on how the area can be improved. During her presentation, Winchell detailed four themes — or “future condition statements” — city staff noticed during community outreach, including emphasizing diversity. The city’s data has shown that the Latino population in south Lynnwood is almost double the population of the city, and one-third of the neighborhood’s population identifies as foreign born.

“A lot of people who live in south Lynnwood have come from other places in the world and they bring their cultures and diversity to that neighborhood which is something the neighborhood has expressed they see as a huge asset to the neighborhood,” Winchell said. “They want to find ways to make sure it’s a permanent identity of south Lynnwood.” 

The neighborhood has 350 businesses, with almost one-third of the city’s workforce (or 8,000 jobs) also being located in the area.

The second theme touched on providing and preserving stable housing in south Lynnwood. Winchell said residents are concerned about the rising cost of housing in the city. Between 2012-18, the city saw an 11% increase in the median price of rent as well as a 24% increase in median home value. In south Lynnwood, one-third of renters are “extremely cost-burdened,” meaning they are paying at least 50% of their monthly income on housing costs. For homeowners, roughly 21% have been reported to be paying at least 50% of their income on housing.

“A lot of people who live in south Lynnwood have limited ability to maybe meet their needs after they pay for housing,” Winchell said.

Residents in south Lynnwood have also reported lower-than-average incomes while also experiencing greater levels of poverty than other residents. The median household income in the neighborhood is $51,000, compared to the city’s average household income, which is around $75,000, Winchell said.

Third, Winchell said south Lynnwood families value parks and green spaces, with many saying places like South Lynnwood Park, access to the Interurban Trail and Scriber Lake are reasons they live there.

However, residents also reported wanting to see more connectivity to the future light rail station and other commercial areas in the city.

The fourth theme presented by Winchell highlighted economic development and providing employment opportunities and access to social services. South Lynnwood also has a greater portion of land zoned for industrial uses — many of which are located along Highway 99 — than the rest of the city, which is why the neighborhood accounts for so many jobs, Winchell said.

The majority of the jobs in south Lynnwood (79%) are categorized as private sector jobs, with public and self-employed jobs making up the remaining 21%. Of that, Winchell said 8,215 people travel to south Lynnwood to work while 3,748 residents live in the area but do not work there. Only 155 residents reported working and living in south Lynnwood, she added.

Before the pandemic led to sweeping unemployment across the city and state, the unemployment rate in south Lynnwood was reported at 3.1%, not accounting for undocumented residents.

Next, Winchell said staff will draft recommendations for the city and its community partners to achieve the goals for the neighborhood. Winchell said staff is working with the project’s co-design committee to possibly hold a virtual open house to share its findings and encourage more input from residents before making final recommendations to the city council.

–By Cody Sexton

  1. I am an owner of a townhome located in South Lynnwood between 200th street and 202nd off of 60th Ave. West.
    I have lived in my townhome for 13 years and have seen the demographic change . We are s diverse community .
    One thing that has bothered me and has gotten worse is how fast cars go down 60th Ave. between 200th Street and 204th. I don’t know why there isn’t a 4- way
    stop at the corners of 202nd and 60th Ave. West. I have witnessed 2 crashes at those corners , one was fatal . I see cars parked on 60th Ave. all the way to the corners
    of those two streets, making it impossible to see the traffic coming from both directions on 60th Ave. when approaching from 202nd Street. Why isn’t there a 4 – way stop there and I would suggest that the City of
    Lynnwood look into this and put one there.

    1. I absolutely agree with you…
      I live along the same area as you.
      I can barely see the street when leaving my apt. Very dangerous
      There are “no parking” signs up, no one respects them, they’re not inforced

    2. I lived on 60th Ave W in an apt south of 200th in 1986. I was shocked by the speed people drove on 60 Ave then. One evening a car went up on the sidewalk and took out the mailboxes. The car never stopped. Traffic was so noisy we had to keep the windows closed.

      1. In related news: I recently discovered the proposed redevelopment plans for the Lynnwood Square business area (between 44th Ave W, 200th St. Sw, 48th Ave W, and 196th St SW), and the description of the new “Northline Village” the city is considering for the site* has me worried.

        The current redevelopment proposal* comes from the out-of-state property owners ( Merlone Geier Partners (MGP), “a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm”*), who are quite clearly more interested in attracting upper-middle-class dollars from out of town (i.e. with the proposed retail and movie theater spaces*) than preserving much-needed food and service businesses frequented by less economically advantaged Lynnwood residents. Lynnwood Councilmember Shannon Sessions basically said as much when she said “We want a place to take our out-of-town friends and family, we want a place to visit and engage with each other . . . as far as I can see [Northline Village] has it all.”* Well, that’s great if you want to impress your well-to-do relatives. But how about those of us who actually LIVE HERE and rely on current businesses, like Grocery Outlet off of 196th, or JD’s Market on 200th? Where are lower-income residents supposed to get our groceries when Lynnwood Square becomes the new weekend hot spot, a la Redmond Town Center? I want to see the city make plans to preserve these businesses, not wipe them off the map so we can have more upscale apartments, Five Guys and Starbucks.

        *https://lynnwoodtoday.com/lynnwood-city-council-hears-proposal-to-redevelop-lynnwood-square/

        1. Are you talking about those ugly apartment along I-5… Who would ever want to live there? Not I… that would of been a better spot for some new fancy place to take your relative instead of building apartments and expecting people to actually enjoy living there.

  2. One of the fallacies of light rail is it services the lower income communities by providing transportation for jobs in areas they can not afford to live in (Seattle). What happens and is happening in South Lynnwood and Mount Lake Terrace is real estate buyers anticipate increased value from light rail and untimely drive out the lower income individuals as properties are sold to the higher bidder and rents reflect the benefits of proximity to light rail, the higher rents become the median.
    Unless Lynnwood plans alot of subsidies for housing the people light rail is to serve will have to move on which, as a long time Lynnwood resident myself makes me sad.

  3. I visit friends that live on 208th Street west of 60th Ave W. I watch the cars the do 50-60+ on the street. No police in sight. Walking from Hwy 99 to 52nd car run the 3 way stop all the time. If I see children crossing the street going to the park I hold my breath that they make it across the street in the crosswalk. Anytime after 6pm is the time the racing begins. How about cleaning up the cars/trucks that are parked on 204th from 60 to 56th?

  4. kfillis
    Aug 10, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    The 3 new Alderwood Projects coming up by Alderwood Mall sounds very good & encouraging for the near future with homes, restaurants, shops & other outlets especially for the Seniors who are still independent to move around but don’t drive, can have easy access to daily living, shopping, entertainment & be around crowds where they can interact with & watch people moving around from their homes versus being in a cooped up environment & surroundings!!. This type of living style close to a Mall with restaurants, movie house, grocery store & its amenities are very Popular Overseas in parts of Europe & South East Asia. The Young working class do mingle very well with the older Seniors.
    I only hope, instead of Renting the accommodations, the Developer/Builder will give options to those people who would prefer to Buy instead of Renting!!
    The other issues mentioned on Traffic & so forth, will always be there when there are any kind of Improvements in Society!, it comes with the territory. And the Developers/Project are also looking into Traffic & working towards that in mind!
    Thank you very much.
    Yours sincerely,
    kfillis

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