All it takes these days is the hot breath of a Wal-Mart to get a community up in arms. In Mill Creek, Washington, reports are that a Wal-Mart supercenter is coming, but the Mayor says that’s not true. Our report from the front lines tell us that “Wal-Mart is attempting to put a Super Wal-Mart in Mill Creek, and turn an existing Wal-Mart about 3 miles away in Lynnwood, Washington into a Sam’s Club. So far the State Dept of Transportation has stalled the new store by turning down the developer’s request to add a traffic light at the location.” But according to the Herald newspaper based in Everett, the large shopping center will be anchored by Home Depot. Wakefield Properties of Bellevue has proposed building about 300,000 s.f. of retail space on the acreage used by Northwest Sand & Gravel, and some multi-family housing on a nearby Bickford Avenue site. The developer is calling the largest mall in Mill Creek’s history “Snohomish Station.” The newspaper says “early rumors” were “that the anchor of the project would be Wal-Mart, but the city and developer now say that Home Depot is interested in the 140,000 s.f. footprint. “We definitely have some other tenants interested as well,” a spokesman for the developer said, but would not identify who they might be. According to the Herald, “Many residents and businesses were glad to hear Wal-Mart apparently isn’t part of the new project, said Liz Loomis, mayor of Snohomish. But, she added, Wakefield will need to build something that fits in with the residential neighbors to the east of Bickford Avenue and with the general area.” In 2001, the city annexed the Bickford Avenue area for commercial development. If residents had understood what was coming, they might have tried to block the rezoning at the time.
The “Snohomish Station” project will get its first viewing on September 6th, but local residents still believe that Wal-Mart is part of the plan. For local contacts fighting this project, email [email protected] The first thing residents should do is get the developer to rename the project something more fitting, like “Snohomish Big Foot.”