New Shopping Center Approved for Lacey, Wash.

Oct. 27--LACEY -- A shopping center featuring Lowe's home improvement center is on its way to the last undeveloped corner of College Street and Yelm Highway.

Lacey City Council members unanimously approved the development agreement for Lacey Crossroads on Thursday. It will include retail stores, a bank, a fitness center and four office buildings in addition to the 163,400-square-foot home improvement store, according to site plans. Land clearing for the 32.5 acres within the Lacey Corporate Center is set to begin in April, with the store opening in late 2007.

"This is going to be a real quality development," Deputy Mayor Nancy Peterson said.

Two Lacey-area residents worried during a public hearing that the developer would take down too many trees.

"One of the things I'm worried about ... is whether anybody is watching when these trees are taken out," said David Crane, who lives on 50th Avenue.

Maintaining trees was part of the discussion with College Way Commercial Plaza LLC, which owns the property, Councilman Graeme Sackrison said.

Many trees will come down, as the site was an old tree farm. However, site plans call for a 49-foot tree buffer along the edge of Yelm Highway. Trees will also be planted along the edges of the property and in the 1,399-stall parking lot, Associate Planner Rick Walk said.

Lowe's will be on the south side of the property along Yelm Highway.

Retail shops will be clustered around a plaza along College Street. Plans include a sidewalk connecting the shops, patios for outdoor dining and improvements to the stormwater pond on the corner of the two streets, Walk said.

Council members also approved an ordinance requiring the city to give up a section of Corporate Center Loop as part of the process.

The property is within the Lacey Corporate Center business park.

The council reached agreement with the property owner to open it to commercial development in 1999. In 2003, the council said it would allow the expansion of the commercial zone with approval of a revised agreement, which spells out how the property would be developed.

Other development

The council also unanimously approved development of 64 homes on 70 acres southeast of Hicks Lake. Lot sizes will range from 7,200 square feet to a half-acre in the Southlake subdivision.

The project has come a long way since the first proposal for 222 homes and town homes, principal planner David Burns said.

"This was a real success story," he said.

Density was reduced to protect 9 acres of wetlands on the site and to address concerns from neighboring subdivisions, he said.

Residents had balked at the initial plans, fearing so many homes would increase traffic and threaten the wetlands.

The neighborhood will feature pedestrian paths through the wetlands and some modifications of the connecting roads.

The wetlands will be protected with 100- to 300-foot buffers, although the developer, Boston Harbor Land Company LLC, will cut down many of the other trees.

Diane Huber covers the city of Lacey for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-357-0204 or dhuber@theolympian.com.

<<The Olympian (Olympia, WA)(KRT) -- 10/30/06>>

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