South Sound News

Now Federal Way businesses also fighting possible demolition from Sound Transit

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — More businesses are speaking up because they may be demolished to make way for Sound Transit's new maintenance facility.

KIRO7 has told you about the fight from the new Kent's Dick's Drive In, and the city of Kent.

Now businesses in Federal Way, also on the potential site list from Sound Transit, are voicing their concerns.

“It's government, big government taking over little guys,” said Russ Hibbard, who owns Northwest Equipment Sales. His business sells and rents heavy equipment.

Business in Federal Way are starting to get their letters from Sound Transit.

“Yesterday we found out,” Hibbard said.

“We got the letter last week,” said Brad Thorson, the developer and owner of Garage Town in Federal Way. “My property is one of the ones they're considering to acquire through eminent domain and turning it into a maintenance facility,” he said.

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Sound Transit said it needs to build another facility like the one in Seattle -something necessary in order to expand light rail to the South Sound.

It's considering six locations for the new 30-acre facility. The sites need to be flat and close to the light rail line.

Sites under consideration include the Dick’s/Lowes Midway shopping center in Kent, the Midway landfill just south of that, an unincorporated residential neighborhood (Near Military Road S and S. 316), the Christian Faith Center in Federal Way, and the business complex in Federal Way that includes Garage Town, NW Equipment Sales, and Ellenos Yogurt.

At Garage Town, there are 67 storage units that people own, plus a club house for events.

“To see this very unique facility in Federal Way to be torn down for a Sound Transit maintenance facility would be pretty disappointing, and a loss to our community,” Thorson said.

The Federal Way business parcel would also take down the new Ellenos Yogurt production plant which just opened last year. Nearby businesses said the company invested millions in infrastructure to open. It would also demolish Northwest Equipment Sales.

“Twenty-five, 30 years,” Hibbard said. “I don't want to lose my business here and I pay a lot of taxes,” he said.

Finally, the sixth parcel Sound Transit is considering is the Christian Faith Center.

The megachurch says their Federal Way location serves about 9,000 people and spent tens of millions of dollars building the complex.

It said in a statement,

“Sound Transit has notified Christian Faith that its Federal Way campus is one of several properties being considered as a site for a future Sound Transit facility sometime in 2026 or later. While we believe that Sound Transit is a plus for our regional community, we are very concerned about the potential loss of our home – which was the culmination of years of planning and development effort and expense, and to which our congregation have become accustomed. We hope Sound Transit will choose an alternative site.”

The businesses and City of Federal Way -just like Dick’s Drive-In and the city of Kent- are all asking Sound Transit for the same thing.

“I'd want to see it at the landfill,” Hibbard said.

“The landfill of course,” Thorson said.

“We know there's enough there to make that landfill site worth looking at very seriously,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

The city of Federal Way said Mayor Jim Ferrell also supports Sound Transit selecting the landfill site. It said it’s still waiting to get a full list of properties that could be impacted from Sound Transit.

Sound Transit said the landfill option is still being considered seriously but would likely require more cleanup and cost to taxpayers.

List of locations being considered:

  • Dick's/Lowes (Kent): area of S. 240th Street and Pacific Highway S.
  • Midway landfill (Kent): area of Pacific Highway, South 246th and 252nd.
  • Residential neighborhood (unincorporated King County): area of S. 316th Street and Military Road S.
  • Christian Faith Center (Federal Way): area of S. 336th Street and 20th Ave S.
  • Garage Town, Ellenos Yogurt, NW Equipment Sales, among other businesses (Federal Way): area of 2010 S 344th St.
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