Salmon Creek retail center cleared for takeoff

Source: The Columbian By Anthony Macuk

There’s a new retail center in the works for Salmon Creek, and plans call for it to include a variety of retail and food options including a bank, a pharmacy, a drive-thru restaurant and a grocery store.

DeWitt Construction recently completed a move to a new home on Northeast 72nd Avenue, freeing up its previous location in Salmon Creek for a long-planned commercial development called Skyview Station. The project comes from Vancouver-based Hurley Development.

The project site is at the northeast corner of the intersection of Northeast 139th Street and Northeast 10th Avenue, across the street from the Salmon Creek Park & Ride lot. The project has been in the works for about three years, according to Hurley Development President Ryan Hurley, although the sale of the land was only finalized last week, once DeWitt had moved out.

“We were under contract for three years to get all the things we needed in place in order to close, and that worked for (DeWitt) because it was a big move,” Hurley said.

Shopping center

Planning documents submitted to Clark County show the project site divided into two construction phases, which Hurley referred to as Skyview Station West and Skyview Station East. The 10-acre western half, which roughly overlaps with the former DeWitt yard, will enter development first.

The planned shopping center on the western half will feature eight buildings arranged around a central parking lot, with additional parking in between some of the buildings. The buildings range from 4,200 to 21,250 square feet, and four of them will feature drive-thru lanes that branch off from the central parking lot.

Concept renderings of the site show a clear plan for each space. The two smallest drive-thru buildings will become a bank and a restaurant, while the third is intended as a retail building with a separate business to serve the drive-thru window on one side, and the fourth is planned as a pharmacy.

The remaining four buildings are intended to become retail, with the largest of them set aside for a specialty grocery store. None of the buildings have announced tenants yet, but Hurley said he’s been in discussions with several interested parties including a grocer, a pharmacy, a pet store and multiple banks and fast-food providers.

The eastern half of the site is currently home to the Mountain View Veterinary Hospital and is otherwise undeveloped. The project plans show two more commercial buildings on the eastern half, as well as more parking which would connect to the lot in the western half.

The veterinary building is still present in the plans, although it’s only labeled as “existing building.” Hurley said the eastern half of the project is still in the planning phase, and he said a decision hasn’t been made yet about whether the clinic would remain at the site.

Project timing

Hurley said he was drawn to the project site in part because of its location near the convergence of the Interstate 5 and 205 freeways. He also saw it as an opportunity to bring in more retailers to the Salmon Creek and Felida areas.

“Salmon Creek is notoriously underserved by retail, so this will be really helpful for the community,” he said.

Hurley said he hopes construction can begin in the next 90 days, with the western half of the shopping center targeted for an opening date in the first or second quarter of 2021.

That start time depends in part on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Washington currently has a stay-at-home order in place to combat the spread of the virus, and the order bans most residential and commercial construction.

The order has a May 4 end date, although Gov. Jay Inslee has stated that some restrictions will likely need to continue past that time. Hurley said he hoped that the construction industry would be allowed to restart after May 4.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will make things challenging for retail, he said, but he hoped that the timing of the project would help future tenants avoid those impacts.

“It takes months to build out a project like this,” he said, “so we’re hoping that over that period of time that the economy has gained confidence and is on its recovery process.”