Marty Rood takes Lynnwood Chamber on a tour of Highway 99 real estate trends

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Wednesday’s Lynnwood Chamber meeting was treated to a special presentation by Marty Rood, aka “Mr. 99,” outlining past and present real estate trends along this well-traveled corridor.  Rood is principle broker of Mr. 99 and Associates, the second generation to take the helm of this 99-year family-owned business.

But it all started with cars.

Rood’s father Stanley is something of a Seattle legend, having worked his way up from parts boy to president of Commercial Automotive Service located at Westlake and Valley Street, and eventually taking over as owner of the then-Buick dealership in 1962.

Marty’s first job? Washing cars at his father’s dealership at age 6. Eventually, Rood bought his own Nissan-Volvo dealership in Lynnwood in 1984.

During Wednesday’s Lynnwood Chamber presentation, Rood began with a brief historical overview, pointing out that prior to the completion of Interstate 5 in 1965, Highway 99 was the main north-south link along the West Coast — comprising 1,459 miles of highway running from California to Canada. As such, it became a major revenue source for cities and towns along the route, as businesses sprung up to serve the growing volumes of traffic. He pointed out that while in 1900 there were 8,000 autos registered in the entire U.S., by 1930 this had grown to more than 26 million, creating a vibrant market for all manner of roadside businesses from cafés to auto service to lodging.

Moving to the present day, Rood illustrated that these trends are still very much in play along the Highway 99 corridor. Citing sales tax figures for the City of Shoreline, he pointed out that a quarter of this is derived from motor vehicle sales alone.

He then provided examples of property sales over the past four years, comparing Lynnwood and Shoreline in terms of prices per square foot. He noted that during this period, Lynnwood experienced somewhat more moderate prices.

He also described how a new type of business — cannabis — is having a profound effect on real estate values.

“Cannabis stores are going in and paying big money in real estate purchase and lease,” he explained. “This is having a ripple effect on other businesses in the area, driving rents and costs up and creating higher prices for everyone else.”

Asked by a member of the audience how the threat of tighter federal regulation of Washington state’s cannabis business could change this, Rood was equivocal.

“The Trump administration definitely favors increased restrictions,” he said. “Presently our state and local laws prevail, but if this changes I expect property values will drop. Right now they’re inflated.”

Another audience member asked how much traffic volumes will be reduced with the advent of light rail to our area.  Rood responded that he expects the effect to be minimal, with traffic volumes decreasing by “only about 3 percent.”

Learn more about Marty Rood and Mr. 99 and Associates at www.mr99.com.

— By Larry Vogel

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