Bellevue College is closer to highlands land purchase
February 8, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
Bellevue College is poised to complete the purchase of land for a proposed Issaquah Highlands campus by the end of the month.
College President Jean Floten said the institution signed a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy 20 acres from highlands developer Port Blakely Communities.
The agreement contains some routine contingencies — such as the college agreeing to the architectural standards for the highlands — and must undergo review from the state Department of General Administration, because the college is a state agency.
The final contingencies should be removed before the month ends. The process is not expected to cause problems, college spokesman Bob Adams said.
The transaction is part of a complicated transfer of development rights to preserve forested land on Tiger Mountain near Issaquah High School and open additional highlands land for construction.
The city solicited proposals last October from potential buyers for the parcels. Candidates received bonus points for including affordable housing and public spaces in the proposals.
Bellevue College proposed 372,000 square feet of institutional space, 56,000 square feet of additional space and 1,645 parking spaces for the 20-acres site.
Planners then scored each proposal based on common criteria. The top scorers differed for the available parcels.
The city recommended Bellevue College for the northernmost parcel, near Northeast Park Drive, and homebuilders for the other highlands land. Issaquah agreed in December to annex the land eyed for a college campus.
The price for the proposed Bellevue College site is $5.2 million.
The goal is for the highlands land sales to generate enough dollars in order to purchase Park Pointe.
Though the college has outlined a long-term vision for a highlands campus, the timeline for construction remains uncertain.
“The college is very interested in having a presence there,” Floten said. “One of the challenges that we’re going to have is putting enough money together to build the first building. We’ve been so focused on just getting through the first hurdle.”
In the meantime, she added, Bellevue College has received offers to conduct classes in existing Issaquah buildings, though the college has yet to decide.
“We’re weighing all of this and seeing what we can do,” Floten said.
The long process to preserve Park Pointe has progressed in recent months, as the City Council and King County Council approved agreements crucial to the project. The entire transfer of development rights could be completed as early as late spring.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.