The city of Kent plans to close the intersection of Fourth Avenue South and Willis Street from about 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 through 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27 to help finish up construction of a roundabout.
Crews had planned to do the work Sept. 18-20 but postponed the project due to the smoky conditions and the potential for wet weather.
Construction began in June on the $4.75 million project, which will include new sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian lighting, landscaping and art installations to spruce up the gateway to downtown.
A $3 million state Department of Transportation grant will help fund construction. The rest of the cost will be paid for by city B&O, utility and drainage tax funds, according to city documents. The existing signalization intersection will be replaced with a two-lane roundabout.
The state Department of Transportation required the city to build a roundabout along State Route 516 (aka Willis Street) in exchange for allowing the city to extend Naden Avenue and allow right in/right out traffic access from the Naden site to Willis Street. City officials wanted the access to attract developers to potentially purchase the city property, which sits just northwest of the Fourth and Willis intersection. The only current access to the Naden property is from West Meeker Street to the north.
A developer has put on hold plans to build a Hilton Garden Inn on the property.
The City Council unanimously approved in January a purchase and sale agreement with Boise, Idaho-based Braintree Hospitality to sell 2.2 acres on the south end of the 7.7-acre city property for $2.6 million so the group can build a four-story, 136-room hotel on the vacant property.
But that deal is far from done. The council found out during a July meeting that Braintree hasn’t paid a $150,000 franchise right to Hilton, one of the conditions of the sale. City staff said the delay is in part because of the impact of COVID-19 on the hotel industry.