King County commits $70,000 to repair city’s retaining wall

September 6, 2011

King County recently agreed to fund repairs to a decade-old retaining wall along Southeast Black Nugget Road as city planners seek to shore up the structure against landslides.

The city closed the sidewalk along the wall in March after soggy conditions caused a small landslide on the slope behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot. The shifting earth did not pose a risk to motorists or residences atop the hill, but the incident refocused attention on plans to strengthen the wall.

County officials committed $70,000 for upgrades. The project could cost up to $640,000 for substantial renovations. The city is setting aside funds to complete the project in the years ahead.

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SanMar plans to relocate 400 jobs from Preston to Issaquah

August 30, 2011

The apparel company SanMar plans to relocate about 400 jobs to Issaquah from Preston in the months ahead.

SanMar purchased a hillside office building behind The Home Depot last month. The company intends to complete some minor upgrades to the space and then occupy the building by December.

The relocation encompasses the front-office departments housed at the Preston headquarters, such as accounting, distribution, marketing, product design and more. The company plans to maintain the existing distribution facility in Preston.

SanMar supplies apparel and accessories to companies for embroidery and other embellishment. Clients include household names such as Columbia Sportswear and Nike.

“This is a great opportunity for us to have more space, a big block,” SanMar Vice President Jordan Lott said. “It creates really no additional commute time for the vast majority of our employees. It really is an opportunity to have nicer office space and not disrupt the commutes of the vast majority of our employees. It was kind of a win-win all around.”

SanMar purchased the Eastpointe Corporate Center for $32 million last month. The glass-sheathed office building encompasses 156,323 square feet — more room for the burgeoning company.

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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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Issaquah office building sells for $32 million

July 19, 2011

The hillside office center behind The Home Depot sold July 6 for $32 million.

The former owner, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, sold the 156,323-square-foot building to The Lake Washington Land Co., a Washington-based business.

The building at 22833 Southeast Black Nugget Road — officially the Eastpointe Corporate Center — had long been nicknamed for Boeing Co., a tenant. The building site encompasses 5.79 acres.

Eastpointe Corporate Center opened in 2001 and Piedmont acquired the building in 2003. The property management company is based in Johns Creek, Ga.

“The sale of Eastpointe Corporate Center further demonstrates our focus on select markets,” Raymond L. Owens, executive vice president of capital markets for Piedmont, said in a statement. “Although our investment in the Seattle market has proven to be positive, the disposition of this property allows us the opportunity to thoughtfully recycle our capital into our top 10 office markets nationally.”

Georgia property manager sells Issaquah offices for $32 million

July 7, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. July 7, 2011

The hillside office center behind The Home Depot sold Wednesday for $32 million.

The former owner, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, sold the 156,323-square-foot building to The Lake Washington Land Co., a Washington-based business.

The building at 22833 Southeast Black Nugget Road — officially the Eastpointe Corporate Center — had long been nicknamed for Boeing, a tenant. The building site encompasses 5.79 acres.

Eastpointe Corporate Center opened in 2001 and Piedmont acquired the building in 2003. The property management company is based in Johns Creek, Ga.

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Starbucks to offer beer and wine at Issaquah location

June 7, 2011

Starbucks plans to offer a different kind of jolt to Issaquah customers soon.

The bustling Starbucks at the Meadows complex along Northwest Gilman Boulevard is in line to become the only store other than Seattle and Portland, Ore., so far to offer beer and wine.

The coffee colossus filed for a liquor license last month as Starbucks prepares to renovate the Issaquah location in late summer. The project is due to start in early August and should be completed in late September.

Plans call for the location to remain open during construction, although some seating might be unavailable for stretches during the remodel.

The overhaul marks Starbucks’ inaugural attempt to offer alcohol options and additional menu offerings in a suburban setting. Imagine charcuterie and a cheese plate — savory snacks to accompany the craft beers and regional wines Starbucks plans to offer.

The customer base and buzzing traffic at the Issaquah store offer the Seattle-based company a chance to test a concept honed at Emerald City locations.

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Spend less time mowing, more time having fun

June 7, 2011

Getting out on a nice day and giving your lawn a fresh cut can be a peaceful and rewarding experience. But when mowing your lawn begins to cut into your free time, it becomes less of a joy and more of a chore.

t A zero-turn lawn mower offers many advantages to easy lawn care. ARA Conten

The good news is there are ways to decrease the time you spend mowing. By purchasing the right mower for your yard and using certain landscaping techniques to make mowing faster and easier, you’ll spend less time mowing and more time enjoying your freshly cut lawn.

Choosing the right mower

If it takes you much more than an hour to mow your lawn, purchasing a riding lawn mower is probably the best way to cut down that time. However, not all riding lawn mowers are created equal when it comes to the speed of mowing.

Greg Munro, floor manager at the Issaquah Home Depot, said he asks customers several questions before they buy a lawn mower. He asks how big the yard is; whether the yard is hilly or bumpy; whether they prefer an electric, gas, self-propelled or push mower; and what price range is appropriate?

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Starbucks to offer beer and wine at Issaquah location

June 3, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. June 3, 2011

Starbucks plans to offer a different kind of jolt to Issaquah customers soon.

The bustling Starbucks at the Meadows complex along Northwest Gilman Boulevard is in line to become the only store beyond Seattle and Portland, Ore., so far to offer beer and wine.

The coffee colossus filed for a liquor license last month as Starbucks prepares to renovate the Issaquah location in late summer. The project is due to start in early August and should be completed in late September.

Plans call for the location to remain open during construction, although some seating might be unavailable for stretches during the remodel.

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Skyline High School graduate weathers Joplin tornado

May 31, 2011

Only debris remains after a massive tornado leveled parts of Joplin, Mo. By Barrett Knox

Macy’s in shell-shocked Joplin, Mo., is a destination on a grim pilgrimage.

Skyline High School graduate Ashley Knox, a store employee and former Issaquah resident, encountered people shopping for clothes to replace wardrobes destroyed amid a catastrophic tornado and, as the death toll climbs higher, clothes for funerals.

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Council approves transportation plan

May 24, 2011

Proposal outlines repairs to weakened retaining wall

City Council members laid out a roadmap for Issaquah transportation projects May 2.

The council adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2012-17.

“Having a project on the TIP makes it eligible for certain types of funding, but more broadly, it signals to the community what improvements we’re considering for the future,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said before the unanimous decision.

The city Public Works Engineering Department lists transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritizes the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.

Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to the timber retaining wall along Southeast Black Nugget Road behind Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Some timbers started to dislodge, rot is prevalent, pressure distorted some pilings and the fence atop the wall is failing. The city attributes the problems to shoddy construction. The timber was cut too short and too thin for the area. In addition, the structure was not properly treated.

King County could provide some funding to offset the estimated $496,000 repair cost.

“We’ve been talking with King County for a couple of years now, and we’re very close to reaching an agreement with them whereby we can receive some funds fairly quickly, with the possibility of additional funds over an undetermined period of time,” Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock told the council.

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