Burien Transit Center parking expansion project to break ground Saturday

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New multi-level garage will increase parking capacity and prepare site for future transit-oriented development

King County and Alliance Wasatch I, LLC, a joint venture between Alliance Property Group Inc. and Wasatch Advantage Group, LLC ("Alliance"), are joining Sound Transit, the City of Burien, and Pankow Builders to host a groundbreaking this Saturday for the park-and-ride expansion project at the Burien Transit Center. The ceremony, scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Burien park-and-ride lot, will kick off construction of a multi-level, 462-stall garage and an adjoining 43-space surface lot that will add 164 spaces to the transit center's parking capacity. King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Boardmember Jan Drago, U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott, Burien Mayor Joan McGilton, and Alliance representatives will be among those speaking at the event.

A key element of the County's effort to create a sustainable transportation hub in Burien, and the City's overall vision for downtown, the $20.5 million project represents the second phase of the county's three-phase redevelopment of the transit center. In June 2009, a new off-street transit center opened adjacent to the park-and-ride lot to better serve riders with local and regional transit connections. When completed late next year, the garage will occupy the north end of the County's park-and-ride lot and include 10 charging units for electric vehicles with capacity for 40 additional charging stations. Project partners are looking forward to breaking ground on a project that will create well-paying jobs in South King County at a time when effects of the recession are still being felt.

"This is a very exciting milestone for the City of Burien," said Burien Mayor Joan McGilton. "We have worked with King County Metro and Sound Transit for several years to make this project a reality, and we are pleased and grateful that it is officially getting underway. This is another positive step in Burien's effort to make our downtown a true regional growth center."

The Burien Transit Center parking expansion represents an innovative public-private partnership between King County, Sound Transit, and Alliance to fund the design and construction of the garage. The County has entered into a lease/lease-back contract with Alliance to finance the project with private equity funds and a construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank. Alliance will finance and construct the project, and upon completion the County intends to purchase the garage for a fixed, pre-determined price and open it for service to the public soon after. Sound Transit is providing funding to purchase the garage, which was included in the voter-approved ST2 transit expansion plan.

"This new park-and-ride will create more capacity and a sustainable transportation hub in King County that will include affordable housing, better transit connections, and electric vehicle charging," said Executive Constantine. "This stronger link between land use and transportation will give residents in Burien and south King County easier access to multiple options for traveling throughout our region."

The third and final phase of the transit center redevelopment includes a transit-oriented development (TOD) project with commercial retail space and affordable housing at the south end of the lot, adjacent to the new garage. The County has awarded Alliance an exclusive right to negotiate with the County for development of the TOD project. Due to the downturn in the economy the TOD portion of the project is on hold. However, while opportunities for TOD are being pursued, Alliance must pay the County $5,000 per month, which constitutes fair market rent for the property, for a period of two years.

The Transit Center provides Metro and ST Express connections for commuters and residents to downtown Burien, Highline Community College, Sea-Tac Airport and the Tukwila/International Boulevard Link light rail station. The transit center will also be the western terminus of the Metro RapidRide F Line.

"Sound Transit's contribution to this project will increase transit use by supporting development of housing and employment opportunities in a corridor designated for growth," said Sound Transit Boardmember and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. "As we work collaboratively to connect people in the region, the Burien Transit Center will serve as an excellent model for the many ways transit can serve our communities."

In addition to $14.7 million from Sound Transit, the County has secured $7.3 million in Federal Transit Administration grants for project design and construction. Charles Pankow Builders, Ltd., of Oakland, California is the design-build contractor for the garage.