City officials put an end to Town Center commuter parking, mixed-use project

The city council shared a statement about the cancellation at a July 14 meeting.

The Mercer Island City Council is putting the lid on its planned mixed-use Town Center project.

The council announced its decision at a July 14 special video meeting.

The canceled project was going to result in some 100 commuter parking stalls at the former Tully Property at the Town Center. They were going to be able to be used by Mercer Island residents using the adjacent East Link light rail station, which is slated for a 2023 opening.

The project was also going to include a mixed-use residential/commercial structure based on the city’s town center vision and code, per project details on the city of Mercer Island’s website. A performance space for the Mercer Island Center for the Arts was also being discussed.

The council cited a creative difference between the city and the project’s lead developer, MainStreet Property Group, and COVID-19-related financial insecurity as the reasons for the cancellation.

“A large-scale project is not currently a viable investment for the city given our current fiscal realities of an unpredictable post-COVID-19 landscape and significant reductions to city staff,” the council said in its shared statement. “The city will consider independently pursuing a simpler solution, as an interim measure, including the possible construction of a surface commuter parking lot at the project site using Sound Transit settlement funds.”

MainStreet Property had been chosen as the city’s partner and lead developer for design and construction in summer 2019.

The council acknowledged in its statement that it is aware of the concerns Island residents have around commuter parking availability.

“We know that pre-COVID-19 parking for Mercer Island residents was in very short supply during the morning rush hour,” the council stated. “Following the completion of light rail in 2023 and after we are able to re-open our economy, we anticipate that commuter parking will eventually become scarce again, even with a greater number of people working from home. We look forward to updating Mercer Islanders as the city addresses this evolving parking project.”

For the full statement, go to the city of Mercer Island’s website.