MUKILTEO, WA-Seattle-based TRF Pacific Inc. is negotiating for a long-term lease on 12 acres of land at the Paine Field airport that it wants to use for a retail development.

The tentative 75-year agreement, which includes an option to lease up to 80 more acres, is the first step in TRF Pacific’s plan to build a shopping center complete with a 63,000 sf grocery store, a bank, restaurant, coffee shop and gas station. The deal must first receive the go ahead from Snohomish County Council members, however, and local residents have voiced stiff opposition to the project–preferring to preserve the 80-acre stretch of forest along the Mukilteo Speedway rather than see it developed.

In trying to be sensitive to the citizens’ concerns, Rick Parks, vice president of leasing for TRF Pacific, says his company, has offered to increase the setback for the development from the required 25 feet to a minimum of 40 feet, with an average closer to 60 feet. “It’s true that it won’t be 80 acres of trees,” says Parks, “but there would be 60 feet of trees and native growth, and that’s a heck of a lot more than anything else that has been developed along the speedway.”

Snohomish County Council members are expected to announce their decision regarding the lease option on Nov. 22. If approved, Parks says the shopping center development, which would begin construction in 2002 and take about a year to complete, would put as much as $275,000 annually into the airport’s coffers. Depending on the demand, Parks says his company would also consider exercising its option to lease more acreage for development.

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