History

“Issaquah Highlands set the high-water mark for development. We will never again see the old days of development because people now know what excellence looks like… “  – Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

History and Awards

“Issaquah Highlands set the high-water mark for development. We will never again see the old days of development because people now know what excellence looks like. Port Blakely risked being the leader, but it’s the risk takers that change the world. They are the people who have the sense they can do something extraordinary and this community is extraordinary.”
– Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development & King County Executive

In the early 1990s, Port Blakely Communities embarked on a 20-year journey to transform the way developers build communities.  Working in collaboration with civic leaders, government agencies, and local residents, master developer Port Blakely created a plan for an urban village that emphasized walkability, sustainability, economic vitality and community.

Once known as Grand Ridge, initial zoning called for only one home per five-acre lot across the original 2,200 acres.  Yet Port Blakely Communities, which acquired the land in 1989, had a different approach on a much larger scale – a vision that inspired two decades of green building and redefined community development by applying the principles of New Urbanism, a land use philosophy that respects the environment and seeks to preserve open space.  Through partnerships with King County and the City of Issaquah, Issaquah Highlands was born.

Some 20 years later, their plan resulted in the creation of an entire new urban village within the City of Issaquah and King County, populated by businesses and shops, schools, parks and recreation, infrastructure and services, amongst acres of open space and diverse, walkable neighborhoods where residents share a strong sense of community.

Port Blakely, a 150-year old, family-owned company known for environmental stewardship, will complete its role as master developer in 2017, leaving a legacy for future generations.

“Issaquah Highlands is a highly successful example of smart growth for our entire region. As we continue to grow in the Northwest, we must develop sustainable neighborhoods where you can live, work and play. The Highlands delivers on all three, all while preserving an amazing amount of our region’s treasured open space.”
– Ava Frisinger, Mayor Emeritus, City of Issaquah

“Responsible development requires a responsible developer with a sense of commitment and a willingness to stick it out to make sure that what’s promised is actually delivered. You have it in Port Blakely Communities to the highest extent possible. They had an unusual ability, unusual for developers and builders as a rule, to see around the bend, to see over the horizon and to recognize that what they’re doing is going to be here for a long, long time and therefore, it’s important to get it right.”
– Rob McKenna, former Attorney General of the State of Washington and member of Metropolitan King County Council

Today, residents only have to walk, bike or travel five to 10 minutes to shop for groceries, enjoy dinner and a movie, pick up their dry cleaning, take a yoga class, go to work, play a soccer game, buy a birthday gift, visit a doctor’s office, or connect to public transit.

A snapshot of the Issaquah Highlands community by 2015:
Population: 9,000
Businesses: More than 100
Jobs: More than 2,000
Total dwellings: 4,400
Affordable housing: 995 dwellings
Permanent open space: 1,500 acres
Parks: 23
Hiking trails: 10 miles
Protected wetlands: 120 acres
Retail, entertainment and dining: Up to 500,000 sq. ft.

Awards and Recognition

2014
Sunset Magazine’s Best Places to Live in the West: Sunset Magazine highlighted Issaquah for its 1,700 acres of open space, walkable neighborhoods and urban amenities.

2013
ASHE Vista Award Infrastructure: Swedish/Issaquah receives Vista Award from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association for creating an optimal health care physical environment.
Built Green Conference Award for Outstanding Affordable Housing: YWCA Family Village at Issaquah.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Emerald Star Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council: zHome neighborhood.
Puget Sound Regional Council Vision 2040 Award: YWCA Family Village Issaquah for integrating affordable housing and services into a healthy suburban community.
ASHRAE Technology Award: Swedish/Issaquah and Seattle architecture firm CollinsWoerman receive ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Technology Award for outstanding achievements.

2012
Gold Nugget Award of Merit for a Green Sustainable Residential Community: YWCA Family Village at Issaquah.
Gold Nugget Grand Award: Sunset Walk neighborhood by Pulte Homes wins Gold Nugget Grand Award, honoring “creative achievements in architectural design and land use planning for residential, commercial and industrial projects.”
Summit Award: Swedish/Issaquah ER named a 2012 Summit Award Winner by Press Ganey Associates for achieving and maintaining patient satisfaction scores in the 95th percentile or above for at least three consecutive years.
Built Green Hammer Award: zHome neighborhood builder Ichijo USA wins Built Green Hammer Award for King and Snohomish Counties.
Good Design Award from Japanese Institute of Design Promotion: Ichijo USA awarded the Good Design Award for the zHome neighborhood by the Japanese Institute of Design Promotion (JDP).
Interiors Award from Contract magazine: Swedish/Issaquah recognized by Contract magazine with 2012 Healthcare Interior Design Award.
NWCB Outstanding Project of the Year: Swedish/Issaquah recognized by the Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau (NWCB) with Outstanding Project of the Year award for Commercial Interiors.

2011
Development of the Year Award: The zHome neighborhood is named Development of the Year by Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes and its Washington partners.
Yahoo! Homes recognizes Issaquah Highlands as one of five standout sustainable green communities in the U.S.
Green Globe Award: YWCA Family Village and zHome jointly recognized with Green Globe Award for Community Leadership in Green Building by King County.
Building of the Year Award: Swedish/Issaquah voted “Building of the Year” by Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.
Technology/Life Science Project of the Year: Swedish/Issaquah awarded Technology/Life Science Project of the Year award by Washington State NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association).
Design & Build Award from Forest Stewardship Council: zHome neighborhood builder Ichijo USA awarded Design & Build with FSC Award by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Salmon-Safe Certification: zHome neighborhood becomes first Salmon-Safe certified residential project in Washington.

2010
Named “Best New Neighborhood” by 425 Magazine
Named Top 10 Best Green-Built Neighborhood in the U.S. by Natural Home Magazine
Gold Nugget Awards: Award of Merit, Green Sustainable Community of the Year
Green Sustainable Community of the Year. Pacific Coast Builders Conference. Award of Merit Finalist.
Finalist: America’s Best Community, The Nationals Awards Presented by National Association of Home Builders

2009
Washington State Smart Communities Award for creating livable communities. City of Issaquah with King County – Transit-Oriented Development Agreement.
Sustainable Community Award from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) and Siemens Corporation. Awarded to City of Issaquah as a leading example of a sustainable community
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for Port Blakely Communities office building, a 31,340-square-foot administrative office facility in Issaquah Highlands that achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the High Streets buildings in Issaquah Highlands, a 20,000-square-foot retail and office facility.
Green Globe Award. “Leader in Open Space Conservation” – City of Issaquah.

2008
Conservationist of the Year Award from Washington Council of Trout Unlimited. City of Issaquah in recognition of year-long efforts to preserve, protect, restore or enhance environments necessary for productive cold water fish populations in the state of Washington.
Northwest ENERGY STAR Award. The Burnsteads Washington Large Builder of the Year.
Environmental Excellence Award from the Kiwanis Environmental Committee. Issaquah Highlands Adopt-A-Wetland Committee.
“Best Places to Retire” by U.S. News

2006
Sustainable Community of the Year. Pacific Coast Builders Conference. Award of Merit Finalist.
Masterplanned Community of the Year. Pacific Coast Builders Conference. Award of Merit Finalist.
Built Green Hammer Award. Master Builders Association.
Excellence in Construction Award for Blakely Hall. Associated Builders and Contractors.
Issaquah Named Tree City USA. National Arbor Day Foundation

2005
Two Green Globes®. Green Building Initiative (GBI)
United States Green Building Council. Silver LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Award for Blakely Hall
Green Globe Award for Leadership in Sustainable Building. King County
Leadership Award for Green Building. City of Issaquah commends Port Blakely Communities for green building initiatives at Issaquah Highlands
National Association of Home Builders. Silver Award Masterplanned Community of the Year
National Association of Home Builders. Silver Award Best Single-Family Detached Home Priced $400,001 – $650,000 for the Built Greenâ„¢ Idea Home
National Association of Home Builders. Silver Award Best Attached Home Plan for Concord Commons
National Association of Home Builders. Silver Award Best Electronic Media

2004
Pacific Coast Builders Conference. Gold Nugget Award for the Puget Sound Energy Built Green Idea Home

2003
Master Builders Association. Puget Sound’s Highest Rated Built Green Community
United States Green Building Council. Silver LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Award for Fire Station #73
American Planning Association. Merit Award for Partnering with the City of Issaquah
Shared Strategy Puget Sound Conference. Recognized for Salmon Protection
Cascade Land Conservancy. Award for the permanent stewardship of Treemont Woodlands public open space

2001
VISION 2020 Award. For promoting a livable region by helping implement VISION 2020 the regional growth management, economic and transportation strategy

2000
American Planning Association. Honor Award for King County Transfer of Development Rights

1997
American Planning Association. Honorable Mention Urban Design Guidelines

1995
American Planning Association. Merit Award Community Plan