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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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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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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Safeway proposes Issaquah Highlands store

October 18, 2011

City Council allows gas station for grocer, a key factor in decision 

Safeway planners proposed a modern Issaquah Highlands store in a recent permit application to the city. Contributed

The plan to open a grocery store in the Issaquah Highlands — a still-unmet target from early goals for the community — reached a milestone in early October, as Safeway submitted a proposal for a store in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, City Council members adjusted longstanding development rules to allow a gas station in the highlands — a critical factor in Safeway’s proposal to build the store.

In a unanimous decision, council members adjusted the agreement between the city and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities to allow a gas station in the neighborhood. The council also added rules to the development agreement to require a gas station to be built alongside a grocery store.

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Safeway proposes highlands store, council OKs gas station

October 5, 2011

Safeway planners proposed a modern Issaquah Highlands store (above) in a permit application to the city. Contributed

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

The plan to open a grocery store in the Issaquah Highlands — a still-unmet target from early goals for the community — reached a milestone Monday, as Safeway submitted a proposal for a store in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, City Council members adjusted longstanding development rules Monday to allow a gas station in the highlands — a critical factor in Safeway’s proposal to build the store.

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Port Blakely announces plan to build highlands shopping center

July 12, 2011

A view east toward Ninth Avenue Northeast shows the 14 acres being considered by Florida-based Regency Centers for a 175,000-square-foot shopping center in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The plan to add more stores to the Issaquah Highlands, a subject responsible for much grumbling among neighborhood residents and city leaders, lurched ahead July 5, as highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal to sell 14 acres for a proposed shopping center.

If the deal is completed, as executives hope, construction could start as early as next year. The announcement also prompted some residents to point to similar — albeit unsuccessful — attempts in the past.

The agreement calls for Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust based in Florida, to purchase about 14 acres of highlands land and build a 175,000-square-foot shopping center along Northeast High Street and Northeast Park Drive — a site once set aside for a stylish retail destination called The High Streets.

Regency Centers also plans to acquire a retail-and-office building along Northeast Park Drive. Caffe Ladro and other businesses occupy the building’s 39,000 square feet.

The companies did not disclose terms of the transaction. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Jacksonville-based Regency Centers owns almost 400 shopping centers from coast to coast, including Pine Lake Village and Sammamish Highlands on the Sammamish Plateau.

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Former highlands retail developer faces possible sale

February 21, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 21, 2010

Opus Northwest — the former development partner in a failed project to build a retail center in the Issaquah Highlands — needs money and could put part of the company up for sale, the company announced Thursday.

In 2005, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced a deal with Opus Northwest to build The High Streets, a retail center with a mix of national chains and local stores. But the deal unraveled by 2008 as the economy faltered. Port Blakely built streets and utilities in preparation for The High Streets development, but the land remains vacant.

The private company based in Bellevue is the regional arm of Opus Corp., a developer based in Minnetonka, Minn.

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Issaquah Highlands developer lowers expectations for retail

February 9, 2010

About 120 Issaquah Highlands residents attend a town hall meeting Feb. 3 at Blakely Hall to hear and discuss the state of continuing retail development plans by Port Blakely Communities for the planned neighborhood. Photo by Greg Farrar

Port Blakely outlines plan for stores, holds back on timeline

The sales pitch sounded almost too good to be true.

People migrated to the Issaquah Highlands in droves, many enticed by plans for restaurants, a grocery store, a cinema, a health club — enough amenities and stores to allow them to forgo trips to Bellevue and Seattle.

The leasing brochure for The High Streets — a chic retail center planned for the highlands — promised “a highly desirable mix of internationally recognized retailers as well as distinct local favorites and neighborhood retail services.”

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Issaquah Highlands residents await retail development

December 8, 2009

When Issaquah Highlands developer Port Blakely Communities announced plans for a neighborhood movie theater in late summer, highlands residents were told the proposal for a long-promised grocery store would be revealed within several weeks. Read more

Issaquah Highlands to get movie theater; grocery store next

August 25, 2009

Theater giant Regal Entertainment Group will operate a long-planned movie theater in the Issaquah Highlands — and officials with highlands developer Port Blakely Communities said they hope the theater announcement is the first sign of a turnaround after a series of disappointing delays. Read more

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