Southcenter hill disappearing to make way for new Tukwila fire station

THEN: This is how the hill that
THEN: This is how the hill that's being removed to make way for a new Tukwila fire station on Southcenter Parkway at South 180th Street looked on May 8. BELOW: This is how the hill looked about two weeks after the May 8 photo.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Tukwila Reporter

It's hard to miss Tukwila's incredible disappearing hill.

For weeks now heavy equipment has been chomping away at the hillside where the old South 180th Street ran into Southcenter Parkway.

The earth moving is part of plans by Mario and Mark Segale to develop about 500 acres of land south of 180th Street in a project called Tukwila South. Part of the project calls for building a new City of Tukwila fireĀ  station where that hill once stood.

The earth is being hauled to the southern end of the development, thus the occasional delays as the earth movers cross the Parkway.

When the project is fully completed in the next 30 years or so, it's expected to provide about 25,000 jobs and add 10 million square feet of space for a variety of uses.

It's called the Puget Sound region's fourth-major "non-Central Business District" employment center, after the University of Washington, Microsoft and the Boeing Everett plant.

Planning for the Tukwila South project between the city and La Pianta LLC has been under way for years. The original development agreement was signed in June 2009.

Now, five years later, the Tukwila City Council is holding a public hearing Tuesday (May 27) on the third amendment to that development agreement. The hearing is during the council's Committee of the Whole meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 6200 Southcenter Blvd.

The council is scheduled to take final action on the changes at its regular meeting June 2.

The need for an amendment arose over the difficulty of tracking the costs to provide fire, police, public works and parks services to Tukwila South and to track the tax revenues from the development.

Under the tentative agreement, which took several months to negotiate, Segale Properties will pay the city $4.75 million over a 15-year period; $3 million of that figure is prepayment of fire- impact fees.

The $3 million will be refunded as the actual fire-impact fees are collected by the city.

In exchange, Segale Properties won't have to develop accounting protocols, to provide $500,000 toward construction of a pedestrian bridge and to guarantee costs of operations and maintenance.

"This approach accomplishes several things: it gives everyone certainty, it allows for money to come to the city on an agreed-upon schedule which will provide payments for bonds that will be issued to build the new fire station in Tukwila South when it is warranted and it frees up funds for O&M coverage, should it be needed," City Administrator David Cline and City Attorney Shelley Kerslake wrote in a staff report to the council.

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