Future Development in the Issaquah Highlands
By Nina Milligan, Highlands Council, Crofton Springs Resident
Issaquah Highlands was designed to be a dense, urban-style community. There has been quite a lot of development in recent years; there is still more to come. Follow on this page details of what’s expected in the near future. We will update the page whenever new information is available.
All land is governed by zoning. The land in Issaquah Highlands is also governed by development agreements. These are contracts between the City of Issaquah and developers, such as Port Blakely and Swedish Hospital.
The City negotiated these development agreements (DAs) to gain public benefit in private developments. Such benefits might be sustainability, public plazas, connectivity – all of which are part of the Issaquah Highlands DAs.
You can join the process with your ideas at Public Hearings, Town Halls or City Council meetings.
But before you chime in, get the facts. Study details here and at the City of Issaquah’s website. It’s packed with useful information.
Urban Village Development Commission (UVDC): Reviews all land use application is Issaquah Highlands.
Entitlement: Amount of residential, commercial or institutional development allowed by a contract such as a Development Agreement.
Commercial Uses Include: Office, Hotel, Restaurants, Fitness, Entertainment, Warehousing/Storage, Light Manufacturing, etc.
Institutional Uses Include: Schools, Churches, Cultural Facilities, etc.
Land use Overall
2200 TOTAL ACRES
1540 - Publicly-dedicated to open space
484 - Dedicated for dense housing, retail and commercial uses
4060 EXISTING HOMES
700 - Additional Homes Planned
Commercial and Institutional Development
325,000 Square Feet Commercial/Retail in Grand Ridge Plaza
425,000 - Square Feet Institutional Approved for Bellevue College Campus
1,790,000 - Square Feet Commercial Space Entitled in Village Center
2,540,000 - Total Square Feet Commercial/Institutional if all Entitlement is built
Undeveloped Land, Development Proposals, Plans
Westridge South (11.6 acres):
Polygon submitted a preliminary plat application in December 2014 for 72 single family homes with parks and trails. They hosted open house for the community in August 2015, discussing plans and concerns. UVDC will review the application this month, conducting at least one Public Hearing. The UVDC makes a recommendation to the City Council, who renders the final decision. Construction could begin in 2016.
Westridge North (26.8 acres):
In a preliminary planning phase for many months, “The Pre-App part of the land use permit process is a collaborative and multi-departmental review that precedes the formal application,” explains Lucy Sloman, Designated Official for the Urban Villages, City of Issaquah. The city just received a preliminary application for one of three sections, which might be ready for the UVDC to review this summer, when they would conduct a public hearing.
9th and Discovery Drive (21.5 acres):
This commercially zoned parcel will likely proceed with a Site Development Permit (SDP) application. This parcel has “inherited” all the 1.2M square feet of commercial space from the previously Microsoft property. “Shelter Holdings is beginning discussions with the City regarding future mixed use plans for our property in Issaquah Highlands.” Tia Heim, Shelter Holdings, LLC (An affiliate of Polygon Homes.)
Block 19 (2.16 acres):
135 residential apartments and/or condos approved in 2007 (<3 acre parcel. Was approved administratively, by Designated Official for the Urban Villages.)
Block 20 (1.24 acres):
Entitlement 90,000 sf commercial (<3 acre parcel. Will be approved administratively, by Designated Official for the Urban Villages.)
Harrison Street & Grand Ridge Drive
The lots in Harrison Street are all sold out. There remain only nine lots for sale on Grand Ridge Drive.
Bellevue College Property
When development was in early planning, College Drive was built (2013) and Bellevue College submitted their Site Development Permit (SDP) application for the East Campus, approved in 2014. Plans described a multi-story college campus of six academic buildings and a parking garage, approximately 425,000 square feet total.
Bellevue College made no more progress towards creating a new east campus until 2015. Late last year the college began scouting for a different location for their East Campus. At press time, all we know is that the college no longer wishes to build a new campus on the Issaquah Highlands property. We can still hope they will find a location in Issaquah.
The current hospital, opened in 2009, has approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial space. The hospital negotiated a new development agreement in 2013 which would allow it to double in size. The hospital also owns the property between Blakely and Discovery Drives, 7th and 8th Avenues NE. A temporary surface parking lot with 320 spaces was approved for this property in December 2015.