City signs final lease for Fire Station #48

ARLINGTON – The city signed what will be the last lease for Arlington Fire Station No. 48 now that the Smokey Point commercial building in which it shared space is under new ownership.

The building was purchased by an existing tenant, Powers Investing LLC, which plans to expand its construction and remodeling company.

The city over the last 10 years leased the vacant warehouse space at 18824 Smokey Point Blvd. Suite 101, and built it out as a temporary station. The two-bay station houses a ladder truck and medic unit, office space, sleeping quarters and other rooms.

“Our new landlord is extending our existing lease agreement for a final three years with no cost increase in exchange for the fire department abandoning some space it currently occupies,” City Administrator Paul Ellis said. “It will get us by.”

The city rents the existing space for $3,252 a month. The new lease will expire Sept. 30, 2021.

That gives Arlington three years to find an alternate location.

“We’ve already begun the next steps,” Acting Fire Chief Dave Kraski said.

City officials have identified five potential sites – some city-owned properties, some private – in the Smokey Point Boulevard and Airport Boulevard area that would meet the department’s response time requirements. The sites will be discussed at the City Council’s budget retreat Saturday, Kraski said.

Arlington will also likely save time and money since it is able to resurrect floor plans for a proposed fire station that was to be built on 172nd Street NE across from Walmart before the Great Recession buried that project. The plans still provide a viable option, just at a different location, Kraski said.

City Councilwoman Jan Schuette asked what the consequences would be if the city was able to move rapidly into a new building sooner than three years.

Ellis said with opt-out terms in the lease, it wouldn’t be an issue.

“They want the building much more than they want us there,” he said.

In other business:

* The council approved signing an amended agreement with the Snohomish County Tourism Promotion Area to increase the “bed tax” lodging charge from $1 to $2 for hotels and motels within the tourism promotion area. Cities in the county are being asked to sign the agreement, brought forward by the lodging industry, to raise more money that can be used for land acquisition, as well as building and field construction and improvements, that increase tourism and convention business. The tourism board is contracting with a firm to conduct a market analysis and feasibility study, connected with the bed tax increase, and set to be released in November.

* Council gave the green light for staff to apply for city lodging tax grant funding. Community Revitalization Project Manager Sarah Lopez is seeking $33,745 for three grants – $6,700 for the annual Eagle Festival in February, $12,045 for the summer music and movies entertainment series and $15,000 to provide an electrical power source for downtown tree lighting. The city tried solar power, but it wasn’t enough to keep the trees lit at night year-round.

* Passed a resolution declaring an emergency, and waiving competitive bidding requirements to fix a water main break serving customers in Farmstead Estates. The action will enable Reece Construction to replace and repair the leak immediately for work estimated to cost $345,000.

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