Issaquah Highlands retail options to include RAM Restaurant & Brewery

October 3, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 3, 2012

Tenants for the long-awaited retail complex in the Issaquah Highlands include local restaurants and a beauty supply store, city officials announced Tuesday.

The latest announcement for the $70 million highlands project, called Grand Ridge Plaza, adds RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Big Fish Grill and ULTA Beauty to the list alongside a Regal Cinemas multiplex, and a Safeway and associated gas station.

Lucy Sloman, city land development manager, and Keith Niven, city economic development director, announced the latest additions to the Urban Village Development Commission. The project developer, Regency Centers, and highlands developer Port Blakely Communities plan to unveil more tenants at a community meeting Oct. 10.

In another major development for the highlands, Microsoft plans to sell long-vacant land once envisioned for a campus, Niven said.

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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 starts on long-awaited Issaquah Highlands retail center

June 26, 2012

Backhoes from Santana Trucking & Excavating dig Tuesday at the southeast corner of the intersection of Northeast High Street and Highlands Drive Northeast, as construction starts on the Issaquah Highlands retail center. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 11:45 a.m. June 26, 2012

Finally, after years of plans and promises, developers and officials gathered in the Issaquah Highlands early Tuesday to launch construction on a 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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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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Developer announces July groundbreaking for long-planned Issaquah Highlands hotel

June 12, 2012

The rendering above shows a long-planned, 111-suite Residence Inn by Marriott hotel scheduled to break ground in the Issaquah Highlands next month and open to guests next year. By InnSight HMG

Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced June 5.

InnSight HMG plans to break ground on the hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, in mid-July. Plans call for the hotel to include 111 suites and employ more than 40 people. The developer expects the hotel to open in spring 2013.

The hotel site is located across Highlands Drive Northeast from Swedish/Issaquah. City officials expect the hospital to attract guests to the hotel, as people seek a nearby place to stay as family members undergo treatment.

The hospital opened in the neighborhood almost a year ago and started offering inpatient services in November.

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Developer announces July groundbreaking for Issaquah Highlands hotel

June 5, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 5, 2012

Construction is expected to start on a long-planned, much-anticipated hotel in the Issaquah Highlands next month, the developer announced early Tuesday.

InnSight HMG plans to break ground on the hotel, a Residence Inn by Marriott, in mid-July. Plans call for the hotel to include 111 suites and employ more than 40 people.

The hotel site is located across Highlands Drive Northeast from Swedish/Issaquah. City officials expect the hospital to attract guests to the hotel, as people seek a nearby place to stay as family members undergo treatment.

“Although we have already completed some initial site work, we are excited to officially break ground and become part of the Issaquah community,” InnSight Executive Vice President Pat McShane said in a statement. “Issaquah Highland’s focus on sustainability, community and growth make it an ideal setting for our Residence Inn. It will provide visitors an opportunity to feel like they are part of the neighborhood while enjoying all the comforts of home.”

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Issaquah Highlands road link opens to vehicle traffic

May 15, 2012

By Dona Mokin

Issaquah Highlands residents, long limited to a single east-west route uphill through the hillside neighborhood, celebrated the opening of another road link May 10.

The city opened a pair of connected roads — Northeast College Drive and Northeast Falls Drive — to connect motorists to the area from Grand Ridge Elementary School to a proposed retail complex downhill from the campus.

The roads supplement the existing east-west corridor, Northeast Park Drive. The project is also meant to address congestion caused by morning and afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups at Grand Ridge Elementary.

The link starts at Central Park, runs behind the school and terminates at 10th Avenue Northeast. The link — completed by developers — is meant to offer additional access to the school, residences and a planned Bellevue College campus. (Hence the name Northeast College Drive.)

Developers shouldered most of the roughly $1.75 million project cost.

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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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City’s sales tax revenue is down so far in 2012

May 8, 2012

Issaquah municipal government did not collect as much revenue January through March as it did during the same period a year ago, although planned developments could strengthen city finances.

In 2011, sales tax revenues increased almost 10 percent from 2010, but only due to sales tax on construction, mostly related to Swedish/Issaquah.

However, the city received about $6.1 million in revenue through March, down 6 percent — or $393,286 — from the same period a year ago. The figure includes sales tax revenue, building permits, grants and other funding sources.

The construction of Swedish/Issaquah bolstered the 2011 total.

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