Construction starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

July 3, 2012

Earth-moving equipment works at the intersection of Highlands Drive Northeast and Northeast High Street on June 26 as construction starts on Grand Ridge Plaza. By Autumn Monahan

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early June 26 to launch construction on a $70 million retail center in the neighborhood — a long-awaited amenity for residents and, in recent years, a symbol for the anemic economy and rebound.

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Issaquah surpasses 31,000 residents in latest population estimate

July 3, 2012

Issaquah surpassed 31,000 residents in the past year, as population growth continues to inch upward after a decade of rapid expansion.

The latest tally from the state indicates Issaquah added 460 people last year to reach 31,150 residents. The state Office of Financial Management released the information June 25 for the period from April 1, 2011, to April 1, 2012.

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Off the Press

June 5, 2012

Subject matter expert turns up unexpectedly

David Hayes Press reporter

In my decade-plus of working here at The Issaquah Press, we’ve had many readers who’ve offered unsolicited advice after reading something. We especially enjoy receiving the hand-written notes of grammar corrections that one old-timer saves up and periodically mails in.

So, a couple months ago, after writing in this space about the perils of being the go-to guy at family barbecues, a new voice emerged offering sage advice.

Thinking this was an old codger with too much time on his hands, I took my time getting back to him. Shame on me for not remembering it’s usually the codgers who have the most character. Do you know anyone who’s co-authored a book with someone as renowned as the Baron of Barbecue? But I get ahead of myself.

A retired English teacher, Bob Lyon, 86, lives at Timber Ridge at Talus with his wife, Sandra, also a retired English teacher.

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Proposed Cougar Mountain subdivision comes under review

May 29, 2012

Talus residents questioned plans to build 24 homes on a steep Cougar Mountain hillside downhill from the neighborhood, as the City Council considers a pact to allow the project to proceed.

A Kirkland developer applied to build the homes on a half-dozen acres near the Talus urban village, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900. The location raised concerns among some Talus residents about possible impacts to street parking and increased landslide risk.

The council scheduled a public hearing for June 4 to collect input on the proposed subdivision, Forest Heights, as members consider a development agreement to allow the project to continue.

The council is not expected to reach a decision after the public hearing. The proposed development agreement could reach the council for action in early July.

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Citizen input is sought for Cougar Mountain subdivision

May 22, 2012

Citizens can comment soon about a subdivision proposed for Cougar Mountain near the Talus urban village.

City Council members plan to hold a public hearing on the Forest Heights development agreement, a proposed pact to add 24 single-family lots to about six acres on a 13.9-acre site. The agreement also outlines nine tracts for native growth protection easements, open space, storm water detention and future development.

The proposed project site is north and east of Talus, south of Northwest James Bush Road and uphill from state Route 900.

The proposal raised concerns among Talus residents about possible impacts on parking in the hillside neighborhood and increased landslide risk.

Citizens can comment on the proposed development agreement at a meeting and public hearing at 7:30 p.m. June 4. The council meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

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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Meet Issaquah’s board, commission appointees

May 1, 2012

City leaders appointed a group of civic-minded citizens to boards and commissions April 16.

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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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Commission to consider Issaquah Highlands retail plan

April 10, 2012

Residents can offer input soon on the latest plan to build a retail complex in the Issaquah Highlands.

The plan for the proposed Grand Ridge Plaza, a highlands retail center, is scheduled to go before the Urban Village Development Commission April 17 and May 1. (The commission oversees large-scale development in the highlands and Talus.)

The proposal is the latest in a long-running effort to add more retail offerings to the hillside neighborhood.

The commission is due to consider the Grand Ridge Plaza site development permit April 17. Then, commissioners plan to hold a public hearing on the permit May 1.

The commission meets in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way, at 7 p.m.

The developer, Florida-based Regency Centers, intends to transform 14 acres into shops, restaurants and parking areas. The proposal also includes a cinema and a grocery store, although the city approved both projects in separate actions.

Effort to boost local economy focuses on competitiveness

April 3, 2012

Issaquah faces ‘much more aggressive’ cities in hunt for businesses

In another step to attract businesses to Issaquah and encourage existing entrepreneurs to remain in the city, leaders promised a more robust economic development effort March 27 in a series of other changes to City Hall.

In recent months, officials unveiled a plan to streamline the permitting process for businesses, create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission and add employees dedicated to economic development.

The effort is meant to turn Issaquah into a more desirable place to do business than other Eastside cities. The competition among cities for businesses is fierce, especially since the recession caused construction to lag.

“Communities are much more aggressive and much more competitive for the amount of economic development that exists out there,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said in a presentation to the City Council.

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