The inside of Sound Transit’s light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in South Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO

The inside of Sound Transit’s light rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in South Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO

Sound Transit facility slated for megachurch property in Federal Way

South 336th Street location will displace the Christian Faith Center as well as residents and businesses.

It’s official: Federal Way will be the home for Sound Transit’s Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) South.

After identifying the site as their preferred alternative in 2021, after the publication of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the Sound Transit Board has officially chosen the South 336th Street site option.

The South 336th Street alternative location is a 66-acre site between S. 336th Street and S. 341st Place and between I-5 and Pacific Highway 99. The location will include three primary buildings, storage tracks, a training track, yard areas, and approximately 480 parking spaces.

This site will displace the Christian Faith Center, which includes a childcare center and the Pacific Christian Academy. The Christian Faith Center consists of over 200,000 square feet of building space and numerous parking lots on an approximately 25-acre campus.

Residents of Federal Way have expressed strong opposition to OMF South in the past.

Mayor Jim Ferrell said in a statement: “We certainly respect the Sound Transit Board decision. We made our position clear in the process, but we understand the rationale behind the final decision. Now it’s time to move forward. There certainly will be benefits like the 600 livable wage jobs. This is a significant step forward in what I often refer to as hundred year infrastructure.”

This location will displace a total of 86 to 92 residents and 11 businesses as assessed in the executive summary of the environmental impact statement.

The Christian Faith Center has already submitted requests to the city to build a new center at Kitts Corner.

“They are hoping to get their new church permitted and built as quickly as possible. We’ve just started that conversation with them and their project managers,” Keith Niven, Community Development Director of Federal Way, said in a recent interview about overall city development.

Sound Transit stated that the facility will provide “more than 600 permanent living-wage jobs within the project site,” and that the test track for 24-hour conditioning and testing of new light rail vehicles will allow them to enter passenger service more quickly.

OMF South will also store and maintain Link light rail trains for other planned Link expansions such as service to West Seattle and Tacoma.

“Siting the Operations and Maintenance Facility South marks another major milestone for Sound Transit as we advance the most ambitious transit expansion in the nation, bolstering service throughout Central Puget Sound,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine in a press release.

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, who is the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee chair, added in the press release that “selecting the OMF South site is a major achievement on our journey from a 35-mile, 39-station light rail system into a 116-mile, 83-station regional network. We’re also pleased to be adding needed living-wage jobs to South King County.”

“Due to land constraints, we had limited options before us for this new Operations and Maintenance Facility. I believe this is the most cost-effective decision we could make as good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Sound Transit Board member and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer in the press release. “At similar facilities, the average employee wage is $45 an hour. That’s more than $85,000 a year. I’m glad these impactful jobs supporting regional transit will be in South King County.”

Sound Transit shared that OMF South is expected to service about 144 light rail vehicles for cleaning and repairs. It will include a 1.4-mile track that connects the Federal Way Link Extension to the site that are expected to eventually be used by the future Tacoma Dome Link Extension.

That extension is currently undergoing environmental review.

The Board has identified a target in-service date of 2029 for OMF South and stated that “actions are being taken to accelerate the current schedule to achieve that date.”

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The Sound Transit OMF South facility will displace the Christian Faith Center megachurch along S. 336th Street. The Christian Faith Center has already submitted requests to the city to build a new center at Kitts Corner. File photo

The Sound Transit OMF South facility will displace the Christian Faith Center megachurch along S. 336th Street. The Christian Faith Center has already submitted requests to the city to build a new center at Kitts Corner. File photo

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