Lynnwood City Council decides against Rodeo Inn purchase for homeless students

The Lynnwood City Council listens as Councilmember George Hurst (third from the left) calculates the new estimated cast of the Rodeo Inn housing project after hearing the results of the property assessment.

After careful consideration, the Lynnwood City Council unanimously voted at its March 25 business meeting not to proceed with an agreement to purchase the Rodeo Inn motel.

The decision was made after the results of a property inspection conducted by a city-hired architect showed a complete demolition and reconstruction of the building was the best option to include the maximum number of units. Since the cost to tear down and rebuild was greater than the initial estimated cost, the staff recommended that the city not proceed with the purchase, said Mayor Nicola Smith.

“The purchase price of this building for a demolition is just not a good use of city funds, or those of our partners,” Smith said.

In January of this year, the City of Lynnwood entered into a tentative purchasing agreement with the owner of the Rodeo Inn motel located in the 20700 block of Highway 99 in Lynnwood. The city had an interest in repurposing the building to house some of the more than 500 homeless students of the Edmonds School District and their families. The agreement included a 60-day “due diligence” period, during which the city hired Dykeman Architects to conduct an inspection of the building’s condition.

During his presentation, Dykeman architect Tim Jewett offered three redevelopment scenarios for the building. Of the three, two required a remodel that would result in too few units available to house students and their families. The third, which was deemed “the most feasible” by Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom, required a complete demolition of the building and a reconstruction that would result in 45 units.

Housing Hope has been identified as the lead agency to manage such a project. Other partners involved included the Edmonds School District, the City of Edmonds, Verdant Health Commission, the Lynnwood Human Services Commission, Snohomish YWCA, the Hazel Miller Foundation, Snohomish County Council and the Alliance for Housing Affordability.

According to Jewett, the project’s new estimated price was between $14.3 million and $15.8 million. The city had previously approved $4 million in the city’s 2019-20 biennium budget to purchase the property, estimating that additional costs would bring the total project budget to $5.1 million.

“Although this is a disappointment, our commitment to the needs of our homeless students and their families continues,” Smith said. “We’ve learned so much from this process and we’ve garnered enthusiasm and support from our neighboring cities, Snohomish County, service providers and the community as a whole.”

  1. A wonderful option would be to use the $665,000 funds the Alliance for Housing Affordability is set to spend and put up the blokables after the demo of the motel.

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