When it first opened on Sept. 13, 1967, an advertisement touted the Sears store in Aurora Square as the "most beautiful in the country."
Although the business isn't what it once was, Sears is still there, occupying a smaller footprint.
But it's apparent to the city that Shoreline's Aurora Square is worse for wear and needs a shot in the arm.
The Council heard a presentation from economic development director Dan Eernissee allows public-private partnerships for areas designated Community Renewal Areas under state law.
The Councilmembers showed support for the plan pitched by Eernissee, and
partners Matt Kwatinetz of QBL Real Estate that does these projects nationally,
and Alice Ostdiek of Seattle law firm Foster Pepper. A public hearing could be
scheduled as early as September.
The empty Sears catalog outlet, the old Dairy Queen, Sherwin Williams paint store, and other buildings are well past their prime—several buildings in Aurora Square are marked not be saved in case of fire—and the property tax revenue generated there is only $6,000 an acre compared to $39,000 an acre at Aurora Village up north. Many parking spaces sit empty.
Many businesses in Aurora Square, like Central Market are successful, but as Eernissee put it, "it's in spite of the center instead of because of it."