A rendering of the Madison Plaza Apartments at 102 Madison Ave. N. COURTESY IMAGE, IHB Architects

A rendering of the Madison Plaza Apartments at 102 Madison Ave. N. COURTESY IMAGE, IHB Architects

Kent continues to attract apartment, townhome projects

Local architectural firm has seven projects from East Hill to downtown to West Hill

Seven apartment, mixed-use or townhome projects under construction or planned for downtown, the East Hill and West Hill involve Kent-based IHB Architects.

Madison Plaza Apartments is the largest project as the seven-story structure looms downtown above surrounding buildings at 102 Madison Ave. N., between West Smith and West Meeker streets, just west of the Uplands Playfield Park and the Interurban Trail.

The mixed-use project will feature 157 units and is expected to open in July, according to Imad Bahbah, owner and principal architect for IHB Architects, a company he started in 2006.

Rents range from $1,450 per month for a studio unit to $2,800 for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit, according to madisonplazakent.com.

Another large project, although on hold now, is a Star Lake 300-unit mixed-use complex on 2 acres at 2526 S. 272nd St., on the West Hill of Kent. The property is next to the light-rail station under construction by Sound Transit for the 7.8-mile extension from SeaTac to Federal Way. Light rail is expected to open in 2024.

Bahbah said another 250-unit mixed-use project is in the planning phase at a location he’s not yet ready to disclose due to ongoing negotiations.

IHB Architects also is involved with at least four townhome projects.

“I think developers are seeing south King County as an opportunity to attract residents that are priced-out of the Seattle market,” Bahbah said about the multifamily residential development boom. “Kent seems to be a viable development target due to various contributors including; an overall increased economic growth pattern, lower cost of living, Sound Transit station expansion projects, large employers such as Amazon and Blue Origin and the hot industrial market.”

Bahbah said there are various feasibility studies in the area for future projects at yet to be disclosed locations.

A city hearing examiner recently approved a rezone requested by Bahbah on the East Hill of a 2.23-acre parcel from neighborhood convenience commercial to multifamily residential townhouse district. The property is at 24032 116th Ave. SE where as many as 36 townhomes are proposed to be built.

It could take eight to 12 months prior to construction starting on those townhomes, Bahbah said.

The site is undeveloped, according to city hearing examiner documents. The property to the north of the site is developed with a fueling station, convenience mart and automated carwash (ARCO). The properties to the west across 116th Avenue Southeast are a city of Kent skate park and a senior assisted living development (Arbor Village).

The roadways of SE 242nd Place and 117th Avenue SE wrap around the site on the south and southeastern edges, and single-family residential homes are located in the vicinity of those portions of the site, with a church property abutting the lot on the northern half of the eastern lot line.

At 307 Lincoln Ave., a mix of 30 apartments and 15 townhomes are planned for the site, just north of West Smith Street and west of the James Street Park & Ride lot.

Other major projects

Although not connected to IHB Architects, two other major residential projects in Kent include Ovation at Meeker, downtown at 623 W. Meeker St., and the 285-unit Alexan Gateway Apartments, 23000 Military Road S. on the West Hill atop Veterans Drive.

Ovation at Meeker is a five-story, 218-unit, senior living complex going up with associated parking and landscaping on a vacant lot behind KeyBank. The project was formerly known as the Reserve at Kent. A construction crane is at the property.

The four-story Alexan Gateway Apartments is scheduled to open its first units in September and be completed by December, according to developer Trammell Crow’s website. Trammell Crow Residential is based in Dallas, Texas.

It is a four-story complex with 283 units. Construction on the apartments stopped for numerous months last year after Texas-based Katerra Construction Services walked off the job. Rental rates have not yet been released.

Residential projects

• Madison Plaza Apartments: 157 unit mixed-use project; opening July 2022; 102 Madison Ave. N.

• 116th townhomes: 36 units – design phase; 24032 116th Ave. SE

• Kent East Hill townhomes: 37 units – design phase; 24710 104th Ave. SE

• Kent East Hill townhomes: 57 units – design phase; address undisclosed

• Lincoln Avenue townhomes: mix of 15 townhomes, 30 apartments – 307 Lincoln Ave.

• Star Lake mixed-use: 300 units – on hold; 2526 S. 272nd St.

• Undisclosed location: 250 unit mixed-use project – planning phase

• Ovation at Meeker: 218 units, senior living – construction started; 623 W. Meeker St.

• Alexan Gateway Apartments: 283 units – initial opening September; 23000 Military Road S.


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A rendering of townhomes to be built at 24710 104th Ave. SE. COURTESY IMAGE, IHB Architects

A rendering of townhomes to be built at 24710 104th Ave. SE. COURTESY IMAGE, IHB Architects

Imad Bahbah, owner of Kent-based IHB Architects.

Imad Bahbah, owner of Kent-based IHB Architects.

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