Bothell launches long-awaited Crossroads project
April 7, 2010 · Updated 2:26 PM
Playing off a famous line from a reality TV show, Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe invited Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb to strike the first blow of the much talked about Crossroads project.
"Mr. Mayor, tear that building down," Stowe yelled to Lamb and about 100 onlookers.
And while Lamb didn't exactly tear down a building, he did use a backhoe to take a nice chunk out of one corner of what used to be the Bothell Landing shopping strip.
With a bit of fanfare perhaps befitting a project that has been so long discussed, on April 6, Bothell formally launched the $62 million Crossroads project that will realign the intersection of Main Street and Bothell's two state routes.
According to the city, the realignment allows Bothell to renew the historic downtown grid to its original configuration as it was established 100 years ago. The overall idea is to create a more streamlined intersection and open up acres of land to new development.
The project was selected by state officials for its economic benefits as one of a handful of projects authorized to use Washington's limited tax increment financing program, called LIFT. Utilizing LIFT, the city will receive a rebate of the state’s share of taxes collected from the area of up to $1 million a year for 25 years.
In addition to the Crossroad project, the ceremonial groundbreaking also was meant to mark the start of the $21.6 million revamping of Wayne Curve, which will see the renovation of State Route 522 a couple of miles west of the groundbreaking at Bothell Landing. One key point of the Wayne Curve work is the addition of dedicated mass transit lanes on either side of the roadway.
"This is the new Bothell," announced sixth-grader Brady Hood of Canyon Creek Elementary, one of two essay contest winners who read their work at the groundbreaking.
For his part, when he spoke to the crowd, Lamb talked about "outrageous ambition" and a former mayor who described the Crossroads project as a nice project that would sit on a shelf and never happen. Lamb added he was sure that former mayor — who wasn't named — would be glad to be proven wrong.
Stowe said moving both projects forward in a time of economic uncertainty required some courage on the part of the city's elected officials. But he also said he is convinced cities that stand still during this period ultimately will be a step behind.
"I think it's great that things are changing," said resident Patty Chasing, who said she has lived in Bothell for about 15 years. "It's good the city isn't standing still."
As at least started by Lamb, the first step of the Crossroads project is the demolition of approximately 15 buildings that once housed roughly 27 businesses, the last of which moved or closed at the end of 2009. The vacant buildings sit in a strip from roughly 102nd Avenue Northeast to Northeast 180th Street.
The city has approved a $322,650 contract for full demolition of the structures by mid-June. Once the demolition is completed, Deputy City Manager Steve Anderson has said officials intend quickly to let bids on the rebuilding of SR 522 itself.
The Wayne Curve work is expected to start in early April, with completion expected in fall 2011. The work will affect SR 522 from a bit east of the western city limits and heading past the 96th Avenue intersection, judging from information provided by the city.