A full-scale commercial and residential development is planned for a 70-acre site on the city’s north edge, which officials have renamed the Auburn Gateway. REPORTER PHOTO

A full-scale commercial and residential development is planned for a 70-acre site on the city’s north edge, which officials have renamed the Auburn Gateway. REPORTER PHOTO

Developer of old Valley 6 property announces pre-leasing

It has been four years since the Valley 6 Drive-In theaters came down, a harbinger, it was said at the time, of a large-scale commercial and residential development by then already 11 years in the planning stages.

But after all that time, the Robertson Property Group (RPG), having determined that the Auburn market is ready to absorb a full-scale commercial and residential development, last week announced pre-leasing opportunities on its 70-acre site on the city’s north edge, which it has renamed Auburn Gateway.

“It’s been a long pull with them,” said Auburn’s Economic Development Manager Doug Lein. “I know the mayor and myself have continually stressed with them that this is a prime piece of property on the north end of our city, and it’s one of those pieces that can be a solid game changer for us as far as that kind of new development.”

RPG has contracted with First Western Properties as its leasing agent for retail space. The proposed site plan calls for box retail, junior anchor retail, restaurants, office space and residential development.

In February, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and Lein flew to California to meet with the top brass of RPG and presented them with a due-diligence package on their property. A month ago RPG sent a team of corporate officials to Auburn met with brokers, builders, contractors and others.

“Last week they came back to us and told us they’d picked a brokerage they wanted to work with that understood the South Sound and regional market and that they were convinced that it was time to pull their property to market,” Lein said.

In 2011, the Auburn City Council approved an ordinance and a development agreement between RPG and the City that allowed RPG to begin offering about 70 acres of property, including the Valley 6 and several adjacent properties at the city’s north end, for office, retail and residential development.

The Auburn Gateway Project site plan included in the development agreement shows a multi-phased development of 720,000 square feet of retail, 500 residential units and/or up to 1.6 million square feet of office space. It calls as well for an extension of I Street Northeast to South 277th.

For several years, the City had negotiated with RPG on future development of the acreage, touching on preparation of an environmental impact statement, changes to the comprehensive plan and zoning code to authorize a mixed-used commercial zone, and preparation of a draft development agreement and a draft planned action ordinance.

In the development agreement, which lays out development guidelines, the RPG agreed that the layout and uses of the Auburn Gateway Project would follow these strictures:

• Other than common areas, parking and access, no multiple family residential uses will be allowed on the ground floor of any building but only in upper stories of multi-story buildings.

• It shall contain more full-service, sit-down restaurants than fast food, including drive-thru restaurants

• Gas stations and car repair service and parts business will only be built as part of a larger retail operation.

Lein estimates the project will take 7-to-8 years to complete.

More in News

Dancing with heart and soul: Auburn studio strives to bring out the best in youth

Bright, nimble and athletic, Emily Miles exudes a confidence and grace seldom… Continue reading

Lifelong friends combine efforts to help families

Lisa Acevedo and Tammy Heydon have been friends since junior high. Acevedo… Continue reading

Tree of Giving Toy Drive begins for the holidays

The Auburn Toy Drive is in full swing for the holiday season.… Continue reading

Leaving his legacy

Retiring Rich Wagner has been Auburn’s resourceful servant for 30 years on the City Council

Bermingham named president emeritus

Recently retired Highline College president lauded for distinguished service

Bloodworks Northwest extends hours to brace for big drop in holiday blood donations

Bloodworks Northwest has issued a special appeal asking people to schedule a… Continue reading

Man gets 40 years for killing two men in tavern shooting

Prosecutors said Cleanthony Jimerson stood above 23-year-old Lorenzo Duncan and 24-year-old Nicholas… Continue reading

Delta Air Lines, Habitat for Humanity SKC dedicate second home in community for veterans

More than 300 Delta volunteers build the home in six weeks

Local firefighters have a new regional asset

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Ecology, firefighters in South… Continue reading

Three adults rescued on the Green River in Auburn

Valley Regional Fire Authority crews rescued three adults who were stranded on… Continue reading