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Roofs Up, Roots Down

By January 28, 2015Connections, Front Page
Discovery West under construction VL

Roofs Up, Roots Down appears as the feature story in February 2015 Connections, circulated this week. The image was derived from Discovery West rendering provided by DevCo, creatively altered by Vyvian Luu, Highlands Council Staff.

Roofs Up, Roots Down
Future Building Brings Changes to the Landscape

By Larry Norton, President of Highlands Council’s Board of Trustees and Crofton Springs Resident

The convenience and excitement found in dense cities with the quality of life found in the suburbs is what makes Issaquah Highlands a unique place to live. Our environmentally sensitive urban village is complete with safe neighborhoods, excellent schools, and many recreational opportunities that provide an ideal place for you and your family to put down roots; a place where you can truly live, work and play. We have watched the roofs go up over the years. With build out almost complete, this issue brings the reader up-to-date on current development and what we know at press time about future development in Issaquah Highlands.

Grand Ridge Plaza

Although it seems longer, it was just fourteen months ago that we cut the ribbon to open Grand Ridge Plaza. The landscape of Issaquah Highlands would never be the same. Finally the stores and restaurants we’d all been waiting for were a reality. “The Center has helped complete the vision that Port Blakely had for Issaquah Highlands”, says Craig

Ramey, VP of Regency Centers. “The residents of Issaquah Highlands have really supported our businesses, connecting the residential with the retail”. Grand Ridge plaza has a very different feel from other nearby retail centers. Its store designs, layout and street grid support the vibe of urban village design. HomeStreet Bank will break ground on a new financial services center in early 2015. The bank will be located to the north of the Safeway Gas Station on Highlands Drive and NE Ellis Drive, behind the Safeway Grocery Store. HomeStreet Bank is one of the largest community banks based in Washington State.

Agave Restaurant is expanding! See Doing Business in February 2015 Connections.

The Former Microsoft Property

Polygon NW is in the planning and permitting stage for putting more roofs up and roots down on a piece of the 63 vacant acres west of 9th Ave NE. Initial plans, currently named Westridge, call for single family homes adjacent to West Highlands Park as well as on the lands immediately to the west of Swedish Hospital. More in the middle of that parcel will be a group of 200 townhomes. Building will likely begin in early 2016 with the 72 homes adjacent to Swedish being built first. The commercial piece of the 63 acres has yet to be planned. Now owned separately, it remains a great opportunity for office/commercial growth and the prospect of more new jobs.

Swedish Hospital Issaquah

According to Dr. Rayburn Lewis, CEO of Swedish Hospital Issaquah, the current hospital building was designed to expand internally. The focus in the next 12-36 months will be maximizing the use of space currently available under their roof to bring more clinic space, additional physicians, and improved or expanded services to its patients; deepening its roots. A top priority, according to Dr. Lewis, is to improve the parking situation at the hospital for patients, visitors, and staff. The hospital now offers valet parking for a nominal $5 fee, while self-parking remains free. The hospital plans to add an additional approximately 100 spaces of parking at the corner of Discovery Drive and 7th Avenue NE. In the meantime, a small community advisory committee has been assembled by Dr. Lewis to help Swedish plan for the 10 acre parcel of land immediately in front of the hospital. It will likely bring.

Discovery Heights

Talk about Roofs Up and Roots Down! DevCo, Inc. continues to build apartments, deepening its company roots in the community and providing an opportunity for new residents to put down their own. Over the past few years, we have seen the Discovery Heights buildings popping up on the Southern slope of lower Grand Ridge. Built, owned and operated by DevCo, Inc. Discovery Heights apartments have provided a variety of apartment living space. The first three stages have been well received and continue to be mostly full. During this past year, DevCo began the construction of Discovery West (See page 4). This complex is hard to miss as it rises out of the ground on the West side of

Highlands Drive near Swedish Hospital and Proliance Surgery Center. Complete with an indoor pool, a play area and under building parking, it brings more than 200 new apartment homes to Issaquah Highlands. The leasing office plans to open its doors in July 2015, offering a mix of standard and luxury units.

Bellevue College East Campus

According to City of Issaquah Economic Development Director, Keith Niven, an initial preliminary plan was presented to the city in 2013; “many decisions are yet to be made and there is nothing new to report at this time.” However, On January 16th, 2015, the Bellevue Reporter ran a story regarding a possible partnership between Bellevue College and Washington State University that would benefit the eastside. This may explain the delay in announcements for the property in Issaquah Highlands; only time will tell.

Harrison Street and Grand Ridge Drive Custom Homes

Windermere agent Joe Coakley, formerly a Port Blakely employee and now representing Taylor Development, has deep roots in Issaquah Highlands. He reports “strong demand and interest in both Harrison Street and Grand Ridge Drive neighborhoods.” Joe also reports “considerable interest from within Issaquah Highlands by residents interested in building their dream home. There are only eight remaining unsold lots in Harrison Street today priced from $325,000 to $550,000; ranging in size from 8428 sf to 15,111 sf. At Grand Ridge there are only 14 remaining lots ranging from 1.97 acres to 3.6 acres, priced from $425,000 to $550,000.

But Wait! There’s More!

Just west of the Sunset Walk pond, at the corner of 10th Ave NE and NE Falls Drive, lies a residential parcel. Its owner, Bennett Homes, has not finalized their plan for building there. Across Falls Drive in the next block of 10th, behind Dick’s and Marshalls, is the vacant building site that had originally been designated for a hotel. Currently for sale by its owners, the future will bring us an answer as to what will be built there. And the roofs continue to pop up from the ground like mushrooms in the area of housing. Residential developments totaling 864 units under various stages of construction include:

Polygon’s Brownstones – 176 attached homes

Toll Brothers Pine Crest Neighborhood – 81 detached homes

Ichijo on High Street – 12 townhome units

Ichijo’s Sunridge Neighborhood – 35 detached homes

Discovery Heights West – 200 apartments

PLUS *Lakeside – 298 apartments (NOT part of the Issaquah Highlands Master Development), brings the total number of new residential units to 1,182!