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Site of Kent Dick’s Drive-In off the table; possible sites selected for new Sound Transit facility

By: KIRO 7 News Staff

The Sound Transit Board has selected three possible sites for its new maintenance facility needed to expand light rail further south.

The former Midway Landfill and two sites in Federal Way will be part of a draft environmental impact statement study for where the facility should be located.

That means the parcel of land in Kent at South 240th Street and Pacific Highway South, where a newly built Dick’s Drive-In and a Lowe’s home improvement store are located, is off the table.

Sound Transit said the “facility requires at least 30 relatively flat acres within a reasonable distance from the light rail extension to Federal Way that Sound Transit will open in 2024.”

The board voted 15-2 Thursday for the sites to be studied.

The former Midway Landfill, south of South 246th Street, and west of and adjacent to I-5, is one the sites – and the one preferred by the cities of Federal Way and Kent. Sound Transit has called the location a “superfund” site and warned earlier it would cost an additional $500 million to build the facility on top of the landfill because of environmental concerns.  According to the Kent Reporter, the site would be the most expensive option of the three, with an estimated cost of $1.3 billion.  

Another parcel Sound Transit will be studying is the location of the Christian Faith Center at South 336th Street near I-5 in Federal Way.  The megachurch says their Federal Way location serves about 9,000 people and the church has spent tens of millions of dollars building the complex. The cost to build the facility there is estimated at $750 million, the Reporter said.

The third site to be studied is an industrial area in Federal Way at South 344th Street near I-5. The site is home to several businesses, including Garage Town, Northwest Equipment Sales and Ellenos Yogurt. The estimated cost to build the maintenance facility there is $800 million.

At Garage Town, there are 67 storage units that people own, plus a clubhouse 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,” Garage Town owner Brad Thorson said in February after receiving a notice from Sound Transit that the location was under consideration.

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,” Russ Hibbard, owner of Northwest Equipment Sales told KIRO 7 in February. “I don’t want to lose my business here and I pay a lot of taxes.”

Once the final environmental impact statement is published in 2021, the board is expected to select the site for the facility to be built. Final design, construction and testing of the facility would take place from 2021 – 2026, Sound Transit said, and the facility is expected to open in 2026.

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