The Eastside has seen tremendous growth throughout 2016, and it is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. We’re still years away from Sound Transit’s East Link, but a lot of big projects will reach completion in 2017. Hereís a glimpse into the near future.
Downtown Park Comes Full Circle
In June, Ohno Construction began a $5.5 million project to complete the Downtown Park circle as well as add additional space and features to the already-existing playground. The city aims to make the new Inspiration Playground foster a fun, challenging, supportive, and educational atmosphere to accommodate children of all ages and abilities. Fans of the city’s annual Fourth of July event held at the park will be happy to know the construction is slated for completion in June 2017, just in time for the party.
Lincoln Square Expansion
As construction on the 31-story, 710,000-square-foot office tower winds down, development of a second tower is still under way. This tower will include 231 luxury apartment homes, as well as a new W Hotel. The base of both towers will provide supplemental space for the Bellevue Collection, featuring an additional 180,000 square feet of new shops, a Cinemark movie theater, and 12 new restaurants. The retail space and the second tower are expected to open in spring 2017.
GIX First Day of School
Among the Spring District’s most notable new tenants, the Global Innovation Exchange, or GIX as it is more commonly known, stands out. The groundbreaking partnership between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, a Beijing Ivy League equivalent, is the first time the United States has hosted to a physical Chinese university. Once classes begin in fall 2017, the region can expect an infusion of some of the best and brightest the Puget Sound and China have to offer.
Unfortunately, things along the I-405 corridor will not be improving in the next 365 days. The relief that is desperately needed by the Eastside isn’t due to come until 2023, when the Sound Transit East Link is completed. Ground was broken for the game-changing extension this past year, helping the city attract new companies like REI. However, the city will be completing the $13.2 million Northup Way project during the next calendar year. Upon completion, the Bellevue road will sport some much-needed upgrades, including new bike lanes and sidewalks from 108th Avenue Northeast and 24th Street; from there it will connect with the regional trail across the floating bridge on State Route 520.
Downtown Bellevue witnessed incredible residential growth from 2000 to 2010, with the number of housing units more than tripling, going from 2,229 to 7,151. Production slowed from 2011 to 2015, increasing by only another 600 units, though population grew faster with higher occupancy rates and larger household sizes. Downtown occupancy increased from a low of 65 percent in 2010 to about 79 percent in 2015, and household sizes grew from about 1.53 people in 2010 to 1.57 in 2015, continuing the climb from a low of 1.43 in 2000. The second half of the decade might offset the slowdown in production during the first half, with about another 1,600 units to be completed by 2017 and another 2,500 by 2020, while both occupancy rates and household size continue to climb, pushing Downtown Bellevue’s population from 12,400 today to up over 17,200 by 2020.
Popular School District Alleviates Over-Crowding
Tahoma Senior High School is scheduled to open to grades nine through 12 just in time for the 2017-18 school year. The new bond-funded facility will help alleviate district overcrowding by adding space for more than 2,400 students while providing community access to the building during nights and throughout the summer. Additionally, the district plans to begin a remodel on Lake Wilderness Elementary School in 2017.
Seco Development’s corporate Southport campus on the south shore of Lake Washington near Boeing’s 737 plant is being designed to attract major employers and thereby bring thousands of jobs to the Eastside. The $570 million campus will continue construction throughout 2017, reaching completion by the new year in 2018; however, during construction, the developer will actively be looking for tenants to fill the space.
In the next six to 12 months the city anticipates some new large buildings cropping up. Construction will begin on an addition to the planned subdivision Shorewood Heights as well as a new 89-unit Aegis assisted living facility downtown.
Center for the Arts
The proposed center will be a cultural focal point where islanders and outsiders alike to gather to celebrate the creative endeavors of artists. The Youth Theatre Northwest will also call MICA home after being displaced from its home on school district property, where it has resided for 30 years, serving more than 2,000 children a year. The city hopes to break ground on the project sometime in the next calendar year with a projected opening in 2018, according to MICA’s website.
The Sound Transit East Link won’t be ready until 2023, however construction is slated to begin early in the year. Additionally, the Overlake Transit Center at Northeast 40th Street is scheduled to close in early 2017, though a specific date has not yet been determined.
Issaquah will spend much of 2017 working on its thoroughfares. For example, southeast 62nd Street will be widened between East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast and 221st Place Southeast to help relieve traffic congestion in north Issaquah.
Issaquah Skate Park
Skate parks give kids a creative, active outlet that keeps them out of trouble before and after school. The Issaquah community believes in fostering this outlet by offering skaters a better place to ride, with a new skate park. The 10,500-square-foot facility will be constructed at Tibbetts Valley Park for skaters of all levels and abilities.
The city plans to add new amenities throughout Confluence Park. Upgrades include a pedestrian bridge over Issaquah Creek as well as a playground, soft trails, and a parking area at Margaret’s Meadow. The project is slated to reach completion in spring 2017.
The Village at Totem Lake
By the end of 2017, the first phase of a new neighborhood, complete with grocery, retail, and civic event space, will open in Kirkland. The Village at Totem Lake will bring a wealth of new jobs and livable space to the city.
Kirkland also hopes to continue strengthening its Innovation Triangle with Bellevue and Redmond. This partnership helps the Eastside attract new technology talent as well as encourage already-established technology-based companies to expand to our area. In 2013, the triangle’s economic output was nearly $48 billion, according to the City of Kirkland. The Eastside triangle is one of the most dynamic regional economies in the United States.
Continental Properties is proposing to construct a new mixed-use project to begin in 2017 that would consist of ground-floor retail tenant space and residential lobby space with four floors of residential units above. The project contains approximately 128 residential units and 12,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Parking is proposed within a ground floor and below-grade parking structure accessed from Main Street. Work is expected to be completed in early 2018.
After several consecutive years of major projects reaching completion, Snoqualmie is taking 2017 to regroup. Throughout the year the city will continue planning and designing for future projects like the environmentally sustainable Snoqualmie Riverwalk which will break ground in 2018. Snoqualmie will also continue expanding and modernizing Mount Si High School to accommodate up to 2,300 students in grades nine through 12. Phase I construction on the school won’t wrap up until fall 2019, with a final overall completion date of 2021.