Officials break ground on newest addition to Kent Station

Officials broke ground Tuesday for the latest addition to Kent Station, an 80,500-square-foot building that will add retail space, office space and an extension of the Green River Community College Kent campus to the downtown urban village.

An artist’s rendition shows a future 80

Expansion project kicked off Tuesday

Officials broke ground Tuesday for the latest addition to Kent Station, an 80,500-square-foot building that will add retail space, office space and an extension of the Green River Community College Kent campus to the downtown urban village.

Mayor Suzette Cooke, Green River Community College President Rich Rutkowski and Joe Blattner, president of Kent Station-owner Tarragon, LLC, each took up shovels at the event for a ceremonial tree-planting.

The $22 million expansion project is expected to be complete by June 2009, according to Tarragon, a Seattle real estate development company. Most of the completed building’s space will be used to add about 43,000 square feet of classroom space for the local Green River branch, which currently occupies 22,600 square feet.

Leslie Moore, Green River dean of branch campuses, said the college has big plans for its use of the almost-tripled campus space.

“As well as expanding our small business assistance center, we are excited to be adding a multi-disciplinary science lab among other new amenities for our students,” Moore said.

In addition, a greater number of classes will be offered in Kent, thanks to 20 additional classrooms, benefitting the large number of students enrolled at Auburn-based Green River who reside in Kent. The space will serve more than 1,200 students, doubling the Kent branch’s enrollment.

“With the expansion, students living in Kent will be able to complete their two-year degree at the Kent Station campus instead of traveling to the college’s main campus in Auburn,” she said.

John Hinds, general manager for Kent Station, said the increase in Kent-based classes will likely lead to fewer costs to students as well as increased class attendance.

“More class options at Kent Station will provide a cost savings to students at a time when they are considering skipping class to save on the price of gas,” he said.

In addition to the college extension, the top floor of the new building will add about 17,000 square feet of Class A office space. It will feature floor-to-ceiling glass and is expected to generate interest from companies seeking Seattle amenities without Seattle rental rates, according to Tarragon.

Almost 19,000 square feet of street-level retail space will make up the ground floor of the new building, adding to the more than 50 businesses currently in operation at Kent Station.

The building will be the first at Kent Station to be constructed “green,” pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, called LEED, from the U.S. Green Building Council. The certification is awarded to buildings that meet a number of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

When complete, Kent Station will comprise 470,000 square feet of mixed-use development. The $22 million expansion project was designed by Jensen Fey Architecture and is being constructed by general contractor GLY.

For more information about Kent Station, visit www.kentstation.com. For information about Tarragon, LLC, visit www.tarragon.com.

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