By Sharon Salyer
The Everett Herald
A new $46.7 million Bothell City Hall scheduled to open next month is one of the first major pieces of what City Manager Bob Stowe calls the largest municipally led redevelopment project in the state.
The four-story, 51,350-square-foot building at 18415 101st Ave. NE is scheduled to open Oct. 26. It replaces the current City Hall, built in 1938 when the city had just 800 people living within its borders. Bothell’s population has since grown to about 42,000 residents. That meant city offices spread among six buildings in the downtown area, said Barbara Ramey, a city spokeswoman.
“Right now if you want a building permit, you go to one building; if you want to pay a bill, to another building,” she said.
Construction on the new City Hall began a year ago. The building includes a number of environmental design features including solar panels, a rain garden to control and filter runoff, and charging stations for electric vehicles. The lobby will have a 25-foot-tall green wall of plants with light coming from overhead LED bulbs.
Some 119 employees will have offices in the building, which includes space for City Council meetings and community meeting rooms.
The new City Hall is one of two major projects scheduled to open next month. The other is McMenamins Anderson School, a $26 million renovation of the city’s historic junior high school. It will house a 72-room hotel, a 134-seat movie theater, several bars and a 112-foot-long pool that will be open for guests and the community.
Planning for downtown redevelopment began in 2006 and was able to go forward despite the economic riptide of the recession, Stowe said.
It began with the purchase of 25 acres in the downtown area. Part of the building blocks for the city’s redevelopment has been $100 million invested in street, utilities and park improvements, he said.
A series of other developments are planned to spring up in areas surrounding city hall, including construction of two hotels that could begin next summer, he said. Other planned projects over the next few years include townhouses, a speciality grocery store, office space and a mixed-use housing and retail space.
“Certainly there are other downtown developments that have occurred over the past 10 to 15 years,” in cities such as Mountlake Terrace, Burien and Kenmore, Stowe said. “None is as large and comprehensive as Bothell has done in the last decade.”
The city, which straddles Snohomish and King counties, has received widespread attention for its vision and tenacity to move forward “during one of the worst economic periods in recent history and continuing to make progress,” he said.
“We’re not finished yet,” Stowe said. “We have more work to do. I think the things we can do here can be replicated across the state and the country.”