Groundbreaking for Issaquah Highlands retail complex delayed until June 26

June 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 19, 2012

The groundbreaking ceremony for a long-planned Issaquah Highlands retail complex is delayed until June 26, project organizers announced Monday, a day before the planned event.

Executives at the highlands developer, Port Blakely Communities, and the company behind the retail complex, Regency Centers, attributed the weeklong delay to scheduling conflicts.

“This project remains a top priority for both organizations and we have every confidence that the transaction will close and construction will commence very soon,” Port Blakely CEO René Ancinas and Regency Senior Vice President Craig Ramey said in a joint statement.

The groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the corner of Ninth Avenue Northeast and Park Drive — a vacant stretch envisioned as Grand Ridge Plaza, as the project is called.

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Officials to break ground June 19 on Issaquah Highlands retail complex

June 14, 2012

NEW — 9 p.m. June 14, 2012

City leaders and representatives from Issaquah Highlands developers plan to gather June 19 to break ground on a long-awaited retail complex in the neighborhood.

Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, intends to build the retail complex, dubbed Grand Ridge Plaza, on vacant land along Highlands Drive Northeast between Swedish/Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride.

The proposed retail complex morphed throughout the years to reflect the developers involved and the economy.

In the latest iteration, announced tenants include a Regal Cinemas multiplex, and a Safeway and associated gas station.

Regal Cinemas and Safeway intend to open next year. Other tenants could open in 2013 as well.

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LEO celebrates completion of Issaquah Highlands family home

May 29, 2012

The house in the Issaquah Highlands still smells of new construction.

The smell of rustic carpentry, fresh paint and that familiar, yet comforting, new-house scent permeates the nostrils upon entry.

A sign next to the kitchen sink reads “Dreams Come True.”

Life Enrichment Options’ third family home for adults with developmental disabilities is officially completed.

The Angela House, named after one of LEO’s founding board members, Angela Dews, will be home to five people with developmental disabilities as well as a full-time caregiver.

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Construction could start on Issaquah Highlands retail center soon

May 8, 2012

More options to shop and dine in the Issaquah Highlands could open as soon as next year, after a landmark decision by city officials to approve a long-awaited retail complex in the neighborhood.

Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, intends to build the retail complex, dubbed Grand Ridge Plaza, on vacant land along Highlands Drive Northeast between Swedish/Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. Construction could start as early as next month.

The decision by the Urban Village Development Commission represents a milestone in the stop-and-go effort to add more retail options in the neighborhood. The commission — a city board to oversee large-scale projects in the highlands and Talus — OK’d the site development permit for Grand Ridge Plaza in a May 1 decision.

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.

1892

  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.

1893

  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.

1895

  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.

1899

  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.

1900

  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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Issaquah Highlands Community Association hires director

January 3, 2012

Sarah Phillips

The community association for the Issaquah Highlands hired the former city manager of a Chicago suburb as the organization’s next executive director, officials announced Dec. 21.

Sarah Phillips served as city managers in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and Johnstown, Ohio, before assuming the Issaquah Highlands Community Association role. Association President Brian Daniels said she is due to start as executive director Jan. 23.

“I look forward to working with the board and staff as we continue to provide and enhance our services for this growing community,” Phillips said.

Phillips succeeds Vicki Stier, a longtime executive at highlands developer Port Blakely Communities and the current executive director. Stier — a force in a 15-year effort to foster community in the neighborhood — plans to retire to South Carolina in 2012.

The association’s search committee spent months to find a candidate.

“From the pool of candidates we received, Sarah was the best fit to ensure we continue to maintain Issaquah Highlands among the best communities in the country and one of the most desirable places to live in the Puget Sound region,” Daniels said in a message to residents.

Developer requests $3 million from city for Issaquah Highlands retail center

November 22, 2011

In order to complete a long-planned business district in the Issaquah Highlands — and transform 14 acres into a cinema, shops, restaurants and more than 1,700 parking stalls — the developer behind the project said about $3 million in city funds is needed.

The developer, Florida-based Regency Centers, said the highlands project needs the dollars to complete roadwork and other infrastructure.

Regency and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal in July to sell the land for a retail center, but before Regency completes the deal, company planners asked city leaders to commit public dollars to the project.

City officials said the retail complex could generate about $1 million in sales tax revenue each year.

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Highlands Fiber Network rolls out faster service

November 22, 2011

The fiber optic system in the Issaquah Highlands, the Highlands Fiber Network, is due to offer faster residential service — billed as the fastest Internet service available to any neighborhood in the United States.

The system plans to launch the speedier service Dec. 1. Organizers said users should expect download connections of 1 gigabit per second.

Seattle-based ISOMEDIA Inc., the Internet services provider and network operator for the Highlands Fiber Network, developed faster service plans in response to residents’ feedback and increasing demands for network and Internet bandwidth.

The owners of Highlands Fiber Network, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities, and the residents’ HFN Advisory Council unanimously supported the development.

“This new, faster Internet service will bring more convenience and connectedness for our residents,” René Ancinas, president of Port Blakely Communities and CEO of Port Blakely Companies, said in a statement. “As a vibrant community known for progressive features and amenities, this enhances Issaquah Highlands’ attractiveness as a very desirable place to live, work and play.”

Developer requests city funding to complete Issaquah Highlands retail center

November 17, 2011

NEW — 9 p.m. Nov. 17, 2011

In order to build more stores in the Issaquah Highlands — and transform 14 acres into a cinema, shops, restaurants and more than 1,700 parking stalls — the developer behind the project said about $3 million in city funds is needed.

The developer, Regency Centers, said the highlands project needs the dollars to complete roadwork and other infrastructure.

Florida-based Regency Centers and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal in July to sell the land for a retail center, but before Regency Centers completes the deal, company planners asked city leaders to commit public dollars to the project.

Port Blakely is also expected to contribute about $1 million to the project after shifting dollars from other commitments, such as a planned bus route expansion to the highlands.

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Issaquah Highlands to launch fastest residential Internet service in nation

November 17, 2011

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Nov. 17, 2011

The fiber optic system in the Issaquah Highlands, the Highlands Fiber Network, is due to offer faster residential service — billed as the fastest Internet service available to any neighborhood in the United States.

The system plans to launch the speedier service Dec. 1. Organizers said users should expect download connections of 1 gigabit per second.

Seattle-based ISOMEDIA Inc., the Internet services provider and network operator for the Highlands Fiber Network, developed faster service plans in response to residents’ feedback and increasing demands for network and Internet bandwidth.

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