City, developer eye nearly 90 acres for redevelopment
January 8, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 12:50 p.m. Jan. 8, 2010
City officials and Rowley Properties executives announced plans Friday to redevelop almost 90 acres in Central Issaquah — the commercial heart of the city spread across 915 acres along Interstate 90.
Officials said the plan would be developed in concert with a sweeping plan to redevelop the commercial district near state Route 900 and I-90. Hyla Crossing — a 61.7-acre commercial complex — and Rowley Center — a 25.6-acre property — fall within areas identified by redevelopment consultants for the best potential for redevelopment.
Through the proposed development agreement, Rowley Properties would partner with the city to redevelop the sites. The developer plans to create a mixed-use destination through redevelopment. Plans call for work to be phased over several decades.
Officials said the process would include public input; the city Planning Policy Commission and Council Land Use Committee would guide the effort.
“This agreement would provide detailed expectations of how Rowley Properties’ land would be redeveloped consistent with the Central Issaquah Plan,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a news release. “This is also a great opportunity for Issaquah to initiate development under its updated comprehensive plan.”
The pact would help the city and developer plan for a “well-defined gateway” into Issaquah, help attract new business, combine public and private resources, increase housing and transportation, and improve storm water management.
“After being in the development business for many decades what I know for sure is that risk and uncertainty are the largest impediments to development,” Skip Rowley said in a release. “A development agreement will provide the certainty and flexibility needed to achieve our plan building by building over the next two decades; it’s the only way we’ll be able to deliver something special and unique that meets our community’s expectation and continues to uphold the character of Issaquah we all love.”
Frisinger appointed a 12-member task force last September to map the future of the Central Issaquah Plan, the key redevelopment document for the commercial area.
Planners envision the area — now a string of strip malls along busy thoroughfares — will evolve into a town center connected by pedestrian walkways and mass transit, possibly light rail. City officials designated the commercial area as the Central Issaquah Sub-area in 2007.
First, the proposed development agreement will be included among proposed Comprehensive Plan — the city’s key planning document — amendments headed to the Planning Policy Commission. Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the amendments at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way.
The amendments are set to reach the City Council in March. After officials approve the amendments, city staffers will develop final amendments for review.
The developer said the redevelopment effort would proceed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind.
“A focus upon nature is a unique and fundamental characteristic of Issaquah. Our development efforts will be tailored to fit the community’s needs keeping in mind that Issaquah does not want to be another Bellevue nor Eastgate, for that matter,” Kari Rowley-Magill said in the release. Our planning efforts will focus on development that amplifies the property’s treasures creating density that enables a bicycle-pedestrian-focused mixed-use environment connecting to nature physically and visually.”