How much new development will occur in the Midtown District -- with or without the MFTE -- is extended there is merely speculative because there is no guarantee on the quantity and type. Ultimately, market forces will determine what happens in Midtown, such as the rental income a developer can expect to collect for their new project. Projects must “pencil out” to be built so developer’s costs are a factor. The current rental market means the most likely development in Midtown will initially be 3-4 story wood frame construction. This is supported by a market study conducted by the County for the Avenue D property. The 3-4 story wood frame construction is less expensive to construct than the speculated 5-story construction and results in much less dense development.
Additionally, there are approximately 19 acres in the Midtown District that currently have redevelopment potential. Even if all of those acres are redeveloped with 3-4 story wood frame construction, the result would be about 570 new units. However, this will not happen all at once (if it ever does) and construction would be spread out over many years. The land use restrictions for building in Midtown, including streetscape design that incorporates wider sidewalks and planting strips, adequate parking, and preferred architectural requirements reduces the amount of land that can be developed solely for housing.
Using the MFTE numbers reported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the best case scenario for cities like Snohomish will likely be about 25-50 units built in any given year. The only cities in 2021 that built even close to 1,000 units were Seattle, Spokane, Kirkland, and Tacoma. That same year, the cities of Bellingham and Bremerton, which are much larger than Snohomish, built a little over 40 units each.