Construction along Motor Avenue, April 17, 2019.

Lakewood Downtown Subarea Plan

Lakewood’s Downtown Subarea Plan includes the Towne Center, Colonial, and East Commercial Districts. The study area is over 300 acres. The Downtown Subarea Plan will build up past planning efforts and describe a vision, land use and design, gathering places, and action strategies for Lakewood’s central business district or “Downtown”.

Tiffany Speir
Long-Range & Special Projects Manager
6000 Main St SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 983-7702

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Project Overview
Important Documents

November 1, 2018: The Downtown Subarea Plan, Downtown Development Code, and Planned Action Ordinance went into effect. Click here to see them.

Project Overview

On October 1, 2018 the Lakewood City Council adopted the Downtown Subarea Plan, Downtown Development Code, and Planned Action Ordinance.  The Plan went into effect on November 1, 2018.

Following a 2017 economic analysis of Lakewood’s downtown and the local area, the City Council directed the Downtown to be focused on meeting the daily needs of local residents. In terms of retail and services, this is the opportunity to provide: 

  • Daily goods and services, including groceries, personal care products, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
  • Professional and healthcare services, including financial services, dental offices, and trend toward retail-based medical providers.

The Plan reflects input from hundreds of Lakewood citizens of all ages and walks of life.  It reflects both Lakewood’s unique past and also desires to create a Downtown that works for today’s and tomorrow’s residents. This includes incentivizing new types of housing and services within walking distance of each other. The area in and around the Towne Center is envisioned as a magnet for intensive mixed-use urban development including higher-density office and residential uses.

At the north end of the Plan area, the Colonial Center will serve as the hub of Lakewood’s cultural activity. Higher quality, higher density urban redevelopment is expected within the District. This will noticeably increase social, cultural, and commercial activity. Streetscape and other urban design improvements will make this area more accessible and inviting to pedestrians.

The Planned Action Ordinance will also make developing Downtown easier and faster for property owners and developers.  It includes the required environmental analysis for the entire area. This means that when an individual application is submitted, the permit review will be streamlined.  The Downtown Development Code is user-friendly and allows for creativity while requiring the desired design standards expressed by citizens.

The final Plan anticipates:

  • New civic and linear parks and linear park
  • New festival area
  • Catalyst sites where growth will be encouraged first over the next 20 years
  • Improvements to Gravelly Lake Drive and Bridgeport Way
  • Converting Lakewood Towne Center Boulevard into a public street
  • Design standards for new buildings and parking that will preserve the Colonial District’s character as well as give the subarea a “facelift” over time.   


On June 14, 2019, Governor Inslee announced that the Lakewood Downtown Subarea Plan has won the 2019 Smart Communities Award in the category of Smart Vision Award – Outstanding comprehensive plan, sub-area plan, or county-wide planning policies.

  • “Creativity, collaboration, and public engagement are key to ensuring that communities are successful in meeting future growth and prosperity goals,” said Gov. Inslee. “This year’s award-winning plans and projects exemplify some of the reasons why Washington is consistently ranked one of the best states in America.”   
  • Commerce Director Dr. Lisa Brown said, “This year’s Smart Communities Award Winners recognize that effective growth planning cultivates strong communities by supporting good jobs, affordable housing, reliable infrastructure and innovation for a clean, healthy future. These are some of the key attributes that give Washington its unique sense of place and quality of life.” 


*2/21/24: The Lakewood Planning Commission held a discussion re the current biennial reviews of the Downtown Subarea in conjunction with 2024 Periodic Review. Watch the meeting here.

September 26th, 2018: Addendum #2 to Final Planned Action EIS Now Available

A second Addendum to the FPAEIS for the Lakewood Downtown Subarea Plan is now available at the following link:

September 10th, 2018: Addendum to Final Planned Action EIS Now Available

On December 11 and December 13, 2017, the Downtown Subarea Plan team presented visioning outreach and design charrette results to the City Council and Planning Commission.

The Big Ideas for Downtown include:

  • 2-to-4 acre park near City Hall
  • Green street loop with improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities
  • Site for additional civic uses near City Hall
  • Improved public street grid in the Towne Center
  • Gateways along major arterials at the entrance to Downtown
  • Road diet and multi-use path on Gravelly Lake Drive
  • Catalyst sites for redevelopment
  • Connection to active park
  • Motor Avenue Improvements
  • Restore Seely Lake Park

The summary presentation is available at the following link:

December 15th, 2017: Big Ideas for Downtown

The Addendum to the FPAEIS for the Lakewood Downtown Subarea Plan is now available at the following link:


Lakewood Downtown is full of economic development opportunities. Please view the materials below to learn more about the project and its opportunities. Also, discover what our Economic Development Department can do to help your business thrive.

Lakewood Downtown Brochure
Concept Videos


Important documents

Codes, Ordinances, and Plans

Community Outreach & Engagement