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Sound Transit facility would have set Dick’s Eastside expansion back years

(Associated Press)

Following the advice of an expansion committee, Sound Transit will officially not be moving forward with plans to consider the site of a Dick’s Drive-In in Kent for a new light rail maintenance facility.

Had the board decided to move forward with the Dick’s location, it would have set the company’s expansion plans back years.

Sound Transit votes not to build facility on Dick’s site in Kent

“Part of what was so devastating about being on this list and potentially being chosen was that first, if we’re on the list that would have tied up our property for two years before we could even try to sell it, and selling our extra property is something we have to do to be able to build more restaurants,” Dick’s President and CFO Jasmine Donovan told KTTH’s Saul Spady Show.

That would have forced Dick’s to tear down its existing location in Kent, and then spend time and resources scouting new locations in the area to replace it. Now that it doesn’t have to do that, the company is turning its gaze eastward.

“It could have delayed us many years before we started even looking, but yes, we’ve promised the Eastside — we’re looking to you next,” Donovan said.

An expansion committee had previously passed an amendment in early May recommending the removal of the Dick’s site to the full board, but needed final action before it could be made official. Having received that approval, the newest Dick’s location in Kent is now safe.

Thursday’s vote passed 14 to 2, with the Sound Transit Board opting to move forward with three other sites: the Midway Landfill near I-5 in Kent, South 336th Street in Federal Way, and South 344th Street, also in Federal Way.

In terms of why Dick’s ultimately wasn’t considered for the maintenance facility, King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove — who sponsored the amendment removing the site — previously noted that the issue went far beyond the burgers.

“Dick’s Drive-In gets a lot of the attention, but I (was) opposed to this site with or without Dick’s Drive-In,” he said in early-May. “We don’t want to be wiping out land next to light rail stations where we should be having high density transit-oriented development that supports the system.”

“It would just be heart-breaking to see not only the loss of the burger stand, but to see that whole community vision wiped out that the city of Kent has planned for a decade,” he added.

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