LYNNWOOD, WA-The Lynnwood Convention Center is moving steadily from concept to reality, as the design phase has shifted into its final stage with a 2003 groundbreaking looming just around the corner. The project architect, Bellingham-based Zervas Group Architects, has moved past the conceptual planning state and is currently in the process of developing “detailed plans,” according to Michael Echelbarger, chairman of the South Snohomish County Public Facilities District, which is heading up the convention center project.

Bill Evans, who is executive director of the PFD, tells the building schematic has been completed and Zervas is now “starting to work on detailed drawings.”

Slated to encompass 58,000 sf and cost approximately $31 million, the Lynnwood Convention Center is being designed to accommodate business groups, conferences and small tradeshows, Evans says. Work on the site, which is located at the corner of 37th Avenue and 196th Street, will begin in March with the demolition of some existing buildings here. In May or June, grading will begin and actual construction will kick off in October. Evans tells the convention center is currently for completion at year-end 2004.

Once it opens its doors for business in early 2005, the Lynnwood Convention Center is expected to improve the Snohomish County economy through the generation of tax revenues and the creation of new jobs. Pro forma reports compiled for the PDF estimate the convention center could generate up to $14 million a year in direct revenue for the city of Lynnwood, Evans says.

The project is being principally funded through a state rebate on retail sales tax in Lynnwood, as well as hotel and motel tax revenues in Lynnwood and Snohomish County.

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