A digital rendering of what the Federal Way Public Market’s entrance could look like. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

A digital rendering of what the Federal Way Public Market’s entrance could look like. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

Federal Way Public Market concept receives $75,000 for study

The home of the envisioned project is off South 320th Street and 23rd Avenue South.

  • By Joshua Solorzano joshua.solorzano@soundpublishing.com
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2024 12:01pm
  • Northwest

A Pike Place Market-esque vision could be a reality in Federal Way, with initial funding backed by state legislators, but the timeline is still uncertain, with a feasibility study as the next step.

A group of Federal Way residents met April 6 at Dumas Bay Centre for an update meeting about a proposed Public Market District. The meeting included a concept video, initial talks, and speakers who touched on the positives of public markets and movements.

One of the initiative’s supporters, Ron Walker, said that despite the Federal Way public market still being in the early stages of a tentative vision, the concept is gaining traction, and he believes it could bring many positives to the city.

“This is going to be a game changer, an absolute game changer. Here’s why. Because when you have something that pulls the community together, with a place for people to gather, you start to build community,” Walker said. “Because of that, it causes people to get to know one another as opposed to just living in the same town. So, it’s really gonna be what we call the heart and soul of Federal Way. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Walker said their tagline for the initiative is “commerce and community.”

The home of the envisioned Public Market District is off South 320th Street and 23rd Avenue South across from McDonald’s. The concept video shows the Sound Transit center entrance and exit feeding directly into a seating area and fountain. The public market is envisioned to have five floors, and the area shows many mixed-use apartments in the district among the amenities.

Currently, Walker said the vision is for the five floors to have different uses, such as one with the businesses, another as a hub to assist businesses, another as a senior center, a ballroom, and a rooftop hangout spot.

The latest support for the Public Market District comes through $75,000 of feasibility grant funding, which has been approved and has backing from 31st District legislators Sen. Claire Wilson, Rep. Jamila Taylor and Rep. Kristine Reeves.

Roots

Roger Flygare, the initiative’s leader and a Federal Way resident since 1969, has had the idea of a public market since 2012. Despite his longtime intention, Flygare said it’s only been in the past three years that he and a team have started to get the ball rolling to make this dream a reality.

“The thinking cap we have to get on is how we can energize the city and make a gathering place for the city,” Flygare said. He said he thinks The Commons at Federal Way will eventually close, leaving only the satellite stores such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Target and Amazon Fresh to stay open. With that, Flygare said Federal Way needs a place for the community to gather.

Flygare said he’s a big fan of the Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee. He also takes inspiration from the Boqueria Market in Barcelona and said the people aiding in designing the Eugene Public Market are offering help in planning the Federal Way Public Market District.

Flygare said he knows some people who might want to help fund the proposed Federal Way Public Market District, but before that, more planning needs to happen.

Flygare said there is no timeline of completion at this point. He said there isn’t enough planning or certainty to estimate when this Public Market District will be a reality, but he hopes it’s before he passes away, being that he’s 75 years old.

Despite that, he said the public market would be around long after he is.  

“This isn’t for my generation. This is for the generations to come,” Flygare said.


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A digital rendering of what the Federal Way Public Market building could look like. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

A digital rendering of what the Federal Way Public Market building could look like. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

Roger Flygare and Various other at the Federal Way Public Market update meeting. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

Roger Flygare and Various other at the Federal Way Public Market update meeting. Photo courtesy of Ron Walker

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