KENT, WA-Kent City officials, hoping to revitalize the city’s downtown by purchasing 15.4 acres of downtown land from Borden Chemical Inc., are considering the advice of a New York-based consulting firm in designing a plan for the area.

Hunter Interests Inc., which has been working with the city for several months, released a report last week suggesting downtown Kent should be developed as a “hip” South County hub for young adult nightlife and entertainment. In its report, Hunter Interests stresses that drawing people to the downtown core around the clock is key to revitalization and recommends that the city do this by making a 14-screen cineplex the major anchor attraction after 5 p.m.

The consulting firm also suggests other entertainment such as dining that includes themed restaurants and a brewpub, an arcade or pool hall and retail outlets such as book and music stores that provide interactive entertainment. In addition, the firm strongly recommends office space and high density housing on the upper floors of retail buildings – aimed at attracting adults in the 18-35 age range who are interested in living within walking distance of such diverse entertainment.

City officials, which plan to install utilities and resell the land to a private developer who will build a mixed use development that adheres to the city’s design guidelines, figures any development is at least two to three years out depending on how long Boren continues to operate its plant and how long it takes to clean up the contamination on the property.

Though several developers have expressed interest in the project, no one has yet to sign an agreement. City officials anticipate the possibility of selling the property for less than it purchases it for in an effort to make it attractive to developers. The city, which is prepared to invest as much as $12 million in the land, plans to make up for any initial losses with the significant tax revenue that would be received from the new development.

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