Community Renewal Area - Aurora Square

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sears was cutting edge when it was built
Photo courtesy City of Shoreline
By Jack Malek

Shoreline’s office of Economic Development hopes to see the Aurora Square commercial district, home to the Central Market and the old Sears building among many other stores, revived and redeveloped. 

Forty-five years ago the Sears Building was a national example of a cutting edges quality, a higher standard of living, and a symbol for progress and prosperity. As time marched on, it has become outdated and obsolete with very little value and suboptimal tax revenues for the city.

Presently, Aurora Square generates $6,000 Sales Tax Dollars per acre each year while Aurora Village at 205th Street and Aurora generates $39,000 Sales Tax Dollars per acre per year. If the site and stores were improved even modestly so that they bring in $21,000 Sales Tax Dollars per acre per year, then Aurora Square would add $500,000 Total Sales Tax dollars “every year” to the Shoreline City budget.

Ten different owners are involved
Orange lines show boundaries of each land parcel
King County iMaps

Redevelopment plans have been stymied due to the obsolete buildings, inadequate street layout, excessive land coverage, and diversity of ownership. There are ten different ownership groups who have a stake in the 70+ acre property. According to the CRA - FAQs, “this many owners has resulted in an inability to make changes at the speed necessary to respond to opportunities.”

State law prohibits the city from devoting public resources towards an economic redevelopment project such as Aurora Square unless the area is designated as a Community Renewal Area. With the CRA designation, the city establishes that economic renewal is in the public interest. 
Together with a Community Renewal Plan, the city can assist the ownership groups by getting them to a redevelopment table and assisting with architectural drawings, storm water and energy system designs, tailoring zoning incorporating the Interurban Trail and other transit routes, and financing major infrastructure improvements.

This project accomplishes all three elements of the city’s sustainability goals (Economic, Social, and Environmental) in that it will increase revenues for services, strengthens community by adding a state of the art venue hosting integrated trails, transit and shopping, and is environmentally friendly. Two recent examples can be found at Bremerton’s Waterfront Park redevelopment and Vancouver’s Fourth Plain Renewal.

The location along the Aurora corridor is ideal. This type of cooperative effort with the city, and together with land and business owners, and community members has a “signaling effect” that attracts and welcomes large-scale developers, along with quality retail stores, services and dining.

With the help of QBL Real Estate Consulting and Foster Pepper Law Firm, the head of Shoreline’s Economic Development, Dan Eernissee, presented the idea for this project to the city council August 13. The council was very receptive to the idea and following a public hearing, they return to the council September 4 for approval.


Martha Rose August 30, 2012 at 8:32 AM  

What a great way to help transform this part of the City. Thanks to creative minds at work!

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