Kent promotes West Hill site for new Dick’s Drive-In

Kent’s West Hill could be just the spot for a new Dick’s Drive-In.

That’s what city economic development staff plan to tell Dick’s Drive-In owners. City staff says sites near Pacific Highway South, State Route 516 and Interstate 5 on the West Hill would be a great fit for the small chain’s expansion to south of Seattle.

Ben Wolters, city economic and community development director, told the City Council on April 4 that staff studied the Dick’s site in Edmonds and criteria that company President Jim Spady requested, to find a site in Kent that would be close to a major freeway and highway with easy access as well as near a high school and college.

“We are hoping that this area along Pacific Highway in Kent will resonate with them,” Wolters said. “We have offered other suggestions as well, but this is an illustration of how we are trying to go about presenting the advantages and opportunities in the Kent marketplace for Dick’s Drive-In.

“If you go to Pacific Highway and the I-5 area in Kent, you have proximity to Mount Rainier High School and Highline College, and the soon to come light rail station in 2024 and proximity to Sea-Tac Airport and a daytime population of 244,000 people.”

That population figure counts people within a 15-minute drive of the potential sites.

Wolters said the Dick’s in Edmonds is near Highway 99 and I-5, has a college and high school and a major freeway and highway with a daytime population of about 130,000 people.

The Spady family posted an online poll last month where people voted for a new Dick’s location to be built south of Seattle rather than east of the city. The potential locations include Kent, West Seattle, South Seattle, Renton, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Auburn, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Federal Way.

“We are meeting later in the month with the Spady family to talk more specifics about the sites,” said Bill Ellis, city economic development analyst, in a phone message. “We plan to reach out to property owners of the sites. That’s an intersection we think makes sense from a market analysis point of view.”

Dick’s Drive-In plans to choose a specific site later this year and expects to open the restaurant in 2018. The expansion is the first new restaurant for the company since the Edmonds location opened in October 2011. The first location opened on Northeast 45th Street in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood in 1954.