240 homes proposed for Issaquah Highlands

December 1, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

A proposal to build 240 residential units in the Issaquah Highlands is under consideration by city officials. A Bellevue developer proposed a variety of units — including apartments, townhouses and stacked flats — on 9.5 acres in the highlands, bordered by Northeast Discovery Drive to the north and Highlands Drive Northeast on the west.The development would include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Recreation facilities, community spaces and a leasing office would be included at the site. Parking for about 400 vehicles would be distributed throughout the complex.

The proposal was scheduled to reach the Urban Village Development Commission during a Dec. 1 meeting, after The Press’ deadline. The commission oversees major projects in the highlands and Talus. Projects go before the commission if they encompass three or more acres.

A public hearing related to the project will likely be held at the Dec. 15 commission meeting.

At that meeting, commissioners are set to review a site development permit application from the developer, Devco Inc. The applicant plans to build the project in a single, continuous build, rather than phases, planning documents state.

City Major Development Review Team Program Manager Keith Niven said if the permit is approved as expected, the applicant could apply for permits as early as spring.

Lucy Sloman, a planning consultant with the Major Development Review Team, said the project would be the first large-scale, multifamily projects to be built in the highlands in several years.

The city issued a site development permit in 2002 for the proposed, 150-acre highlands Microsoft campus. A portion of the land planned for the residential development was included in the Microsoft permit. However, Microsoft chose not to build on the property in 2004 and the land was released for other uses.

Niven described the area as “a great workforce housing location” due to the proximity of a planned Swedish Medical Center campus.

Crews began excavation work at the hospital site just south of Highlands Drive Northeast in August. The first phase of the hospital campus is planned to open in summer 2011. A second phase with 80 hospital beds will open during the first quarter of 2012 and eventually expand to 175 beds.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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