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Developments at various stages in Bothell

The redevelopment of downtown Bothell has been a huge undertaking.

The realignment of State Route 522, or the Crossroads project, shifted approximately 170,000 square feet of property into the downtown core for business development and designated all the land to the south for The Park at Bothell Landing. The addition of McMenamins, Boulevard Place and the Six Oaks project are all in different stages of development.

But while there are so many new things coming into downtown Bothell, one iconic landmark might be returning.

“There used to be a sign that said ‘Welcome to Bothell for a day or a lifetime,’” said Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb. “Kids or someone would always cross out the [letters] B, O and T so it said ‘Welcome to hell’ but everyone knew the sign.”

That iconic landmark might be making a comeback. Bothell city staff is discussing the idea of placing a replica in the Park at Bothell Landing sometime in the future.

“At some point someone from the Washington State DOT (Department of Transportation) got rid of it,” said Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe. “We want to bring it back.”

Stowe said that city staff is unsure of the exact location of the sign within the park and whether drivers will be able to see it from SR-522, as they are in the preliminary stages of discussing the idea.

And while the sign is not a sure thing yet, the realignment of SR-522 is moving along at a brisk pace. The realignment was made possible by a new LIFT, or Local Infrastructure Finance Tool, bond where the state matches funds for infrastructure projects. Lamb said that the LIFT bond will pay for $15 million of the project’s principal investment.

“There were only 10 [LIFT bonds] awarded during a two-year period,” said Stowe.

The Crossroads project was needed for the future growth of Bothell.

“We had studies that were showing that the traffic would eventually be backing up into the neighborhood roads if we did not do anything,” said Lamb.

Most of the road construction in the downtown core is on side streets, with through traffic on SR-522 nearly completed. One of those streets, Bothell Way Northeast, will eventually be reconstructed into a Multiway Boulevard. with through traffic lanes flanked by side access lanes. Construction on that boulevard has broken ground in front of the old Anderson School Building and Northshore School District property.

The city amended the development agreement last month with McMenamins for a six-month extension. McMenamins purchased the old high school building and plans to renovate the property to create a 70-room hotel, including a restaurant, pub, movie theater, live music venue, spa, community garden, soaking pool and meeting space. In the purchase agreement, Bothell residents will receive free access to the soaking pool, community garden and meeting space for 15 years. The extension will mean a completion date some time in January 2015.

Some residents and local media have expressed disappointment at the fact that the old school district pool on the property will be converted to a four foot soaking pool and not left as a lap swim pool.

Councilwoman-elect Tris Samberg states that when the council approved the Purchase and Sale Agreement in 2010 the public was misled on the issue.

“Everyone in the community who was present that night was led to believe that we would get the pool back in its existing state,” said Samberg. “That is key - the expectation was we were getting a real pool for the $4.7 million ‘community benefit.’”

The actual contract does state that there would be a soaking pool.

“The verbiage says there will be a soaking pool, and then the next line says the pool will be refurbished,” said Samberg.

Lamb disagrees, calling the issue a “manufactured controversy” and stating that the company expressed it would be different at the time the council approved the measure.

“They don’t have a lap pool in any of their other locations and they never represented it that way,” said Stowe.

Some in the community have taken to social media and expressed concerns about being misled and that the pool would not be viable for local high school teams. But Northshore School District officials have stated that the pool was never in their plans for prep swimming.

“The biggest issues that people are happy with is that The Ranch [drive-through restaurant] is staying and that McMenamins is coming in,” said Lamb.

Next door to the new McMenamins will be the new Six Oaks mixed-use 203-unit apartment building. The shell of the building has already been constructed and will include storefronts along the boulevard. The project is projected to be completed sometime in spring of 2014.

One project that has not broken ground yet is Boulevard Place, a mixed-use senior housing complex. The project was delayed as the city had to acquire some of the property. Three businesses at the southeast corner of the lot, an auto shop, auto parts store and coffee stand had be purchased by the city and was then swapped for the land near Bothell Way Northeast to finish out the new Multiway Boulevard.

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