Coming soon to Redmond is a multi-use project in the early stages of development intended to revitalize the Overlake Village neighborhood by providing amenities for public transportation, affordable housing, upscale retail space and more. While the 607,827-square foot site proposed by Seritage Growth Properties and located at 2200 148th Avenue NE is still in the pre-entitlement reviews stage with no set timeline as of now, the steady speed at which it has paced from design reviews in August 2017 to a public hearing in June 2018 leads city officials to believe the first phase could realistically begin in the first quarter of 2020.
Overlake Village, an urban center that offers dynamic opportunities for jobs, investment and recreation in Redmond, is continuing its vision with the introduction of this project, which senior project planner David Lee believes encapsulates the philosophy of what the Overlake Village is meant to represent to the people of the city of Redmond.
“It works great and fits into our whole ideology behind live, work and play and also investing in the area you live in,” Lee said.
The acquisition of the 13-acre parcel of land, which is currently home to an old Sears building and as Lee describes, “ a sea of parking,” occurred between Seritage and Florida-based Regency Centers, a real estate investment trust that owns the adjacent parcel of land. According to Lee, Seritage and Regency Centers have done parcel swaps in order to make property lines cleaner. For the past two years, the project has been undergoing design reviews, neighborhood meetings and council study sessions in order to create a master plan beneficial to the Overlake community, and ultimately, the people of the city of Redmond. The development agreement was finally approved Aug. 21, 2018, however, in a unanimous council vote.
Lee said the development fits what they wanted to do with the Overlake Village neighborhood like a glove.
“(It has) walkable areas where you can go get your dry cleaning without having to take your car,” he said. “It’s super pedestrian-oriented. It establishes a multi-mobile pathway system. We have bike lanes everywhere. We’ve got major vehicular thoroughfares through there. It also provides for public parking, too, which helps activate the parks that are going to put in there.”
The current proposal lists a multitude of additional amenities the development team is hoping to provide through the build-out of the project. As it stands now, the project calls for the development of a 210-room hotel, 500 multifamily units, 2,245 stalls of underground parking, 23,000 square feet of market/food retail space, 62,700 square feet of restaurant space, 100,000 square feet of street level retail space and approximately 2.1 acres of parks and open space.
It also proposes 266,800 square feet of office retail space, something Lee is hoping will offset the primarily residential aspect of nearby Esterra Park, a separate development also located in Overlake Village.
“It fills in a hole of commercial office buildings that we needed and for general upscale retail that’s needed in that area, as well,” Lee said. “It acts as a nice counterbalance to Esterra Park where once upon a time that was slated as predominantly commercial and that got flipped into predominantly residential. It kind of worked out perfectly that way.”
According to the project’s website, the new office space will also pave the way for more employment opportunities for the community.
While the current proposal has slated the development for 500 approved multi-family units, Lee said it may be closer to 350. In the initial phase, however, he said the developer wants a balanced mix of commercial and residential units, with the residential units offering an affordable housing option to the community. In the July 17, 2018 public hearing, project representatives announced that 50 apartments would be designed for renters making 80 percent of the area’s annual income, or around $72,000 a year, and that another 50 apartments would be designed for renters making 60 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.
Long-term goals of the project other than affordable housing include environmental impact. By making the development accessible to the public through a multi-mobile pathway system, as Lee phrased it, the development encourages more foot traffic and environmentally-friendly commuter options like cycling.
“It’s the whole philosophy behind mixed-use developments and transit-oriented developments where you basically reduce the trips that people have to take to use their cars, [while] also providing amenities such as a plethora of bike racks, electrical vehicle charging stations and things like that,” Lee said.
The project joins a long list of developments in various stages of construction within the greater context of OverlakeVillage. Lee is also the senior planner in charge of Esterra Park Block 3, which will incorporate a seven-story office building with three levels of underground parking located at 15550 NE Turing St. This project is currently in the planning phase. This is in addition to Esterra Park Block 2A/2B, a binding site plan also in the Overlake neighborhood in the planning phase, and Esterra Park Blocks 5, 6A and 9, where Lincoln Properties is developing three multifamily buildings expected to be completed this year. Other developments include a 2.67-acre publically accessible park designed by Capstone Partners featuring meadow, overlook, terraced garden and plazas; improved updates to the historical Westside Park; and temporary ballfields at Redwest South.
Though many of these projects are still under review, Lee hopes that developers will see the project’s steady timeline and that it will open up doors for new opportunities for the Overlake Village community, and ultimately, the city of Redmond as a whole.
“We’re hoping that once this gets developed and all three phases go that it really acts as another catalyst for Overlake, showing all the developers out there that something this big and complicated can be permitted,” he said.