Kent sets public hearing for Riverbend mixed-use development

Looking south from West Meeker Street toward the proposed development.

Residents can give their opinion to the Kent City Council about a proposed development agreement between the city and a developer to build 500 apartments on what is now the par 3 course of the Riverbend Golf Complex.

The public hearing for the Marquee on Meeker development is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, during the regular council meeting at City Hall, 220 Fourth Ave. S.

The course would be removed to make room for the mixed-use project along West Meeker Street, just east of State Route 516 and north of the Green River. The council voted 5-2 in May to sell the property for $10.5 million to Auburn-based FNW, Inc./Landmark Development Group. Council members Dennis Higgins and Dana Ralph voted against the sale.

The development agreement pertains to the construction of apartments as well as retail and commercial spaces.

The council approved trying to sell the property in 2014 to help eliminate the city’s enterprise golf fund debt of nearly $4 million and allow for about $6 million in capital improvements to the 18-hole course across the street from the par 3 as a way to draw more players to boost revenue at the complex, which includes a driving range and pro shop. Riverbend loses about $300,000 per year.

With more apartments comes more traffic, so city staff and consultants are studying ways to get more drivers to use SR 516 rather than West Meeker Street to travel eastbound and westbound. Traffic studies show the state highway could handle more traffic with improvements to a couple of intersections. There are no plans by the city to replace the two-lane Meeker Street bridge over the Green River that connects the road to SR 516, another reason to divert traffic away from Meeker Street.