Federal Way picks Trent for big downtown makeover

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce - Brian Miller
Federal Way TC-3 Conceptual Rendering, Market Hall

Having purchased a former Target property nearly a decade ago, the city of Federal Way has twice sought a developer for those roughly 7.5 acres at 2141 S. 314th St. 

That’s downtown, near the transit center, immediately north of Town Square Park, and directly east of the city’s Performing Arts & Event Center. 

The latest request for proposals was almost a year ago, as the DJC then reported. Responses followed in February, and Trent Development made the winning pitch. 

The Kent Reporter first had that news this June, following a ceremonial presentation dubbed “Rising From the Dust,” but it wasn’t widely circulated up north. The city made its selection in April, according to city council minutes and presentation materials. 

Trent’s plan is to develop around 900 housing units, 24,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a public plaza and a 100,000-square-foot office building that could become the new City Hall.

The city already has a master plan, created by VIA ( a Perkins Eastman Studio), and Trent intends to work with that same architect. The city’s timeline is to approve and sign a 30-year development agreement in coming months. It now intends to sell the land, not ground lease it. The price hasn’t been divulged.

The city’s updated project website now says that Trent will develop “approximately 900 housing units (40 townhomes for homeownership) 24,000 square feet of ground-floor retail,” a 1-acre public plaza and a 100,000-square-foot office building that could become the new City Hall.

The city recently issued a SEPA determination of non-significance for the Target/Town Center 3 project and pending development agreement. The public comment period has passed; appeals can be made until Nov. 13.

City numbers in the that DNS represent the maximum allowable development – not exactly what will follow. Thus, maximums are 1,500 housing units; 50,000 square feet of retail, commercial and restaurant space; 175,000 square feet of offices; and a possible 150-room hotel. Last year’s RFP had different and generally lower numbers. 

All numbers will change, and the final development agreement should bring more clarity. The project would likely be phased, with five new parcels created for the individual buildings. (Light rail service could reach that area in 2026.) 

The city said this summer that the long-vacant Target building would soon be demolished. Google Earth still shows it as being intact. The city generally calls the future development site TC-3 (that being the third Town Center project after the park and P AEC building). 

The city hopes that construction might begin in 2025, with the initial housing to arrive by 2027. To help support the TC-3 project, the city also recently proposed what it calls a Tax Increment Area for the public improvements there – meaning streets, utilities, etc. 

Trent (aka One Trent) beat out rival bids from Wood Partners, Shea Properties, Intracorp and two others. Its sister company is Opportunity Zone Advisors, and the Target property is in such a federally tax-favored area. 

Trent Mummery said he expects the city development agreement to be approved in January, with his press release to follow. 

At the June ceremony, Mayor Jim Ferrell said in a statement, “This ceremony marks an exciting chapter in our city’s evolution. With the city’s acquisition of the former Target site in 2014, and our relentless efforts from the Town Square Park to the construction of the P AEC and Town Center Steps, we cannot wait to move Federal Way forward through this pivotal moment.” 

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