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Information for Shoreline

Shoreline Place Community Renewal Area

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Updated March 2020 

CRA Sign Code Update

With the adoption of the Development Agreement with Merlone Geier Partners for the Sears site on September 9, 2019 the vision for Shoreline Place is closer than ever to being realized.  The unique sign code for this area supports the vision of a vibrant, mixed use urban village and as redevelopment begins staff is proposing some updates to better serve the development types planned for the site. For example, the proposed changes provide different signage allowances for ground floor retail spaces than apartment buildings. 

A public review draft of the proposed changes to SMC 20.50.620 is available (see attached document). The Planning Commission held a study session on the sign code update on June 4, 2020 and will hold a public hearing on July 16th. Any comments or thoughts can be shared with the Project Manager Nora Gierloff at


Over the past 10 years, the City of Shoreline has undertaken numerous policy and programmatic steps to ensure the centrally-located Shoreline Place (formerly the Sears-anchored Aurora Square shopping center) experiences a revitalization fully matching its potential. The long-awaited first redevelopment project at Shoreline Place is the 330-Unit Trammel Crow Alexan Shoreline Apartments. WSDOT is renovating its headquarters and welcoming an additional 200 State Department of Ecology workers in a little over two years. Over the course of 10-20 years, the keystone Sears property at the center of the area will be redeveloped as a $400-million, mixed-use urban village of 3 new city blocks framed by a network of new, tree-lined streets, 75,000 square feet of retail and 1,400 apartments. As key portions of the Shoreline Place Community Renewal Area (CRA) begin to enter redevelopment, the popular Farmer’s Market is also growing. Conceived as “Phase Zero” of Shoreline Place, the Market has become a small but important institution in the fabric of the Shoreline area community and a reliable source of growing revenue for Puget Sound area farmers, artisans, and entertainment.

Current projects in the CRA

Alexan Shoreline

Trammel Crow Residential began construction of the 330-unit Alexan, the first new development in the Shoreline Place Community Renewal Area, in Spring 2019. The Alexan will be located adjacent to the Interurban Trail, across Westminster Way from Central Market and the Shoreline Farmers Market.

Merlone Geier’s Shoreline Place Redevelopment

Redevelopment of the 17-acre Sears property is critical to the comprehensive redevelopment of the CRA. Sears sold its property to Merlone Geier Partners in mid-2017 and is closed in 2018. Merlone Geier conducted an extensive public engagement process that yielded more than 6,000 comments, expressing interest in dining options, a gathering place for the community, and a variety of housing choices. Starting in summer 2018, when Merlone Geier unveiled its preliminary concept for the former Sears site at Shoreline Place, to spring 2019, when updated designs were revealed a revitalized, walkable urban village of traditional blocks, tree-lined streets, a town green, and 75,000 square feet of retail with 1,400 units of housing. Development will likely take place over 10 to 20 years.

Merlone Geier Partners plans and updates 

Public-Private Partnerships


A new downtown for Shoreline and neighboring communities is coming into view: Shoreline Place. A department store stood prominently in a sea of pavement for decades as a testament to the dominant modes of shopping and travel since the 1960s. As technology, economy, and lifestyle preferences changed, the area around what is now Shoreline Place grew, generating new demands on the centrally-located commercial district to do more. To contribute housing and other uses to the local market in a walkable, urban configuration, near transit, supporting the lifestyle preferred by not just the largest generation in US history, the millennials, but also the previous title-holder, baby boomers. Whether boomers seeking to downsize without leaving the community they love, or college students eager for the vibrance of cafes, plazas, and tree-lined streets close to where they learn and work, the City continues to encourage renewal of the Aurora Square CRA according to the Community Renewal Area Plan.

At this pivotal stage as long-held visions of the CRA as a renewed, vibrant hub of commercial and community activity are coming to life, City staff are working to solidify the CRA as the key place of gathering, community, and celebration. This vibrancy will help establish the culture of the place, securely plant the community’s place in the CRA, and ensure it is a well-worn path for generations to come, solidifying it as a new “downtown” for Shoreline and the surrounding area.

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • 1. What is the difference between a Community Renewal Area (CRA), a Planned Action, and a Development Agreement?

  • 2. Why a CRA at Shoreline Place?

  • 3. What is Shoreline Place's potential?

  • 4. What is the City's role in the CRA?

  • 5. Did the designation of Shoreline Place as a CRA change zoning or other applicable regulations?

  • 6. Did the City develop a Master Plan for Shoreline Place?

  • 7. Are there property rights objections to CRAs?

  • 8. Where can I learn more about Community Renewal Areas?

  • 9. Why is Merlone Geier asking the City to approve a Development Agreement?

  • 10. Can Merlone Geier develop the Sears property without the Development Agreement?

  • 11. Does a development agreement exempt a developer from meeting the City's development regulations?

  • 12. What criteria must the City Council consider when deciding whether to approve or deny a development agreement?

  • 13. What are the public space elements being proposed in the Merlone Geier Partners Development Agreement?

  • 14. What is the Park Impact Fee (PIF) proposal for the Merlone Geier Partners Development Agreement?

  • 15. Has the City considered the potential impacts of Merlone Geier Partners' proposed redevelopment to the surrounding area during construction?

  • 16. Has the City considered the architecture and design of Merlone Geier's proposed redevelopment?

  • 17. How are issues like parking and access handled across the CRA since there are multiple property owners?

  • 18. Is the former Sears building here to stay?

  • 19. Is Merlone Geier proposing to turn the entire shopping center into a residential development?

  • 20. Aside from the former Sears property, are other parts of Shoreline Place undergoing similar redevelopment?

  • 21. If other parts of the CRA are redeveloped, will they be commercial, office, residential, or other uses?

  • 22. Is the additional public space only available if the City Council allows taller buildings?

  • 23. What types of buildings are proposed by Merlone Geier in its Conceptual Design Plan?

  • 24. Are there high-rises planned for Shoreline Place and what is the height of buildings proposed by Merlone Geier Partners?

  • 25. Will there be development "buffer zones" between apartment buildings and the neighborhoods across the street?

  • 26. Why are there changes to street entrances, including the addition of new entrances along 160th?

  • 27. Will it still be possible to drive straight through Shoreline Place as many do today?

  • 28. Will Central Market's access be compromised or, worse, will their delivery trucks be unable to reach the store to drop off fresh produce and goods?